After seeing plans for 96 apartment units on the northwest corner of Lilly and Burleigh roads, members of Brookfield's Plan Commission told developers they think the proposal is too dense, and too big.
Partners Wired Properties and Phelan Development presented their plans for Lilly Preserve to the commission Monday, showing three buildings, each with three stories hosting luxury apartments, measuring 49 feet to the roof.
"I love it, but I think that's a bit much on that corner as far as the scale," Alderman Gary Mahkorn said. "I would love to see you guys come back and scale that down."
As the property is zoned to allow up to only 28 residential units, the developers are asking for a Planned Development District that will allow them to change the zoning rules.
A recent amendment to the city's comprehensive plan granted flexibility to develop different forms of housing outside previously established "targeted investment areas" because of growing demand for alternatives to single-family homes. This is the first site being considered under that amendment.
But Alderman Rick Owen was not convinced the high density proposed was warranted.
"Just because we created the opportunity doesn't mean we have to walk through the door," Owen said. "I don't know if the community would support this level of density."
During his presentation, Blair Williams, president of Wired Properties, had argued that density was a key to the development's success. He said the buildings needed a "critical mass" of occupancy in order to recoup costs associated with underground parking and developing a 13-acre property that consists mostly of wetlands that can't be built on.
Williams said 28 units, what current zoning allows for, would be lower than they "could comfortably go." Some commissioners noted they would like to see something in between 28 and the proposed 96, though they didn't identify an ideal number.
After the meeting, Williams said his team would try to work with the feedback.
"We're going to consider everything we can," he said. "It's a great area to develop, and it's going to be developed. There are just questions to be answered."
The apartments would be a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, with rents ranging from about $950 to $1,500. Williams said they are targeting four demographics: Baby Boomers, young professionals, families in transition and professionals landing in Brookfield on short work contracts.
The site is sandwiched between Brookfield East High School and Brookfield Christian School, with the Congregational Home to its east.
The plans were before the Plan Commission solely for discussion and concept review. The developers will have to return to the commission with new plans to get approval for a public hearing on the project, which would also have to go before the Common Council.
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