Commission delays Bergamont decisions

Progress on comprehensive plan update continues
Bill Livick

The Oregon Planning Commission took some steps at revising the Village of Oregon Comprehensive Plan Thursday but postponed land use decisions that would factor into whether a developer is allowed to build 10 apartment buildings in the Bergamont neighborhood.

The State of Wisconsin requires municipalities to update their comprehensive plans every 10 years. The village last updated its plan in 2004.

The commission intends to revisit the plan and its discussion about a Future Land Use Map at its next meeting on March 7.

In order for the developer, Fiduciary Real Estate Development – the owner of The Legend at Bergamont – to move forward with its proposal to build 10 16-unit apartment buildings on Bergamont Boulevard, the Planning Commission would first need to change the village’s future land use map to allow for Mixed Use zoning.
If that were to happen, Fiduciary could then apply for a zoning change on 12 acres that are currently zoned Planned Neighborhood, which requires more single family homes and allows for less population density than what Fiduciary needs for its proposed apartment buildings.

“If the commission goes ahead with changing the Future Land Use Map, Fiduciary will still need the commission’s approval to get a zoning change to Mixed Use,” Public Works director Mark Below told the Observer. “If the Land Use Map is changed, there’s still no guarantee that Fiduciary will get the zoning changed for its property.”

At Thursday’s meeting, commission chairman Greg Schnelle and village planning consultant Mike Slavney both encouraged the commission to remove the Planned Neighborhood category from  the Future Land Use Map and replace it with Mixed Use.

“The advantage of the Planned Mixed Use is you don’t have to decide right now,” Slavney told the commission. “Mixed Use gives the commission more flexibility to look at different options – but ultimately the village maintains control over what’s developed.”

He noted that Planned Neighborhood zoning requires at least 65 percent of a development to be single family homes. In Planned Mixed Use, the “target” is eight dwelling units per acre and also allows for commercial, office, residential and neighborhood business development.

“Planned Mixed Use gives us the most flexibility,” Schnelle said. “We need to plan for the future instead of staying stagnant. I opt for flexibility rather than having our hands tied.”

Commissioner Jeff Groenier was the only commission member who spoke in favor of keeping the Planned Neighborhood category in the Land Use Map. He seemed to believe that changing to Mixed Use would allow for too much density.

In the end, the commission decided to postpone a decision and give the discussion “a chance to sink in,” as trustee Phil Harms put it.

Before formally amending the Comprehensive Plan, the commission and the Village Board will have a joint meeting and hold a public hearing. The board will make the final decision on changes to the Comprehensive Plan, the Future Land Use Map and Fiduciary’s proposal to change the zoning of its property and build the apartments. The proposal is opposed by the Bergamont Homeowners Association.

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