City OKs new apartments
City of New Richmond decision-makers have cleared the way for a new 52-unit apartment building in the city.
In both meetings, District 5 Alderman Ron Volkert offered the only opposition saying that he didn’t believe such a large rental housing unit was the right fit for New Richmond. Volkert expressed his uneasiness toward the project during the Plan Commission meeting, but he ended up voting in favor of it anyway.
A public hearing was held in December before the property was rezoned from Highway Commercial to Multiple Family Residential, without any opposition from neighbors or other community members.
The proposed complex will include units with one, two, three and four bedrooms. All units will include a balcony or patio with rents ranging from $787 for a one-bedroom unit to $1,243 for a four-bedroom unit.
According to the report submitted by city staff, “the building floorplan indicates an ‘L’ configuration to the building fronting Doman Drive and Croft Street creating a prominent architectural emphasis at the intersection along both streets. There is a playground area as a building amenity at the west end of the building visible from Croft Street. The building arrangement also provides partial screening of the parking area at the rear of the building from Doman Drive and moves the apartment units away from the rear of adjacent commercial uses.”
While presenting the plans to the City Council, Community Development Director Beth Thompson said it was “a really nice looking building” pointing to amenities such as on-site garages for tenants, the playground area, attractive landscaping and sidewalks for public use.
Despite the enthusiasm of city staff, Volkert expressed his uneasiness toward the project.
“You have to understand, once that building goes up, it’s here,” Volkert said. “It’s not going away. I don’t know, on the south end looking at that big complex every time you drive by. I have some concerns. I don’t know if it’s the right fix for New Richmond.”
City Administrator Mike Darrow explained that the complex is consist ent with nearby apartment housing located a block off South Knowles Avenue further north. Darrow emphasized that the proper public hearings were held without any opposition whatsoever. Further, Darrow spoke in favor of the project in terms of the purchasing power 52 households would add to the New Richmond economy.
Just before voting on the issue, Volkert once again offered his hesitancy.
“It just doesn’t sit well with me,” Volkert said. “Sometimes we just make our decisions too quick.”
The council approved the plans by a 3-1 vote with Volkert dissenting. District 6 Alderman Jim Zajkowski was absent and the District 3 seat is currently vacant.
Thompson said Herman & Kittle Properties hoped to break ground on the building’s construction sometime in October.