The Platteville Plan Commission voted 4–3 Monday night to recommend approval of the Specific Implementation Plan for the proposed St. Augustine University Parish student housing project.
Common Council president Eileen Nickels broke a tie after commission members Julie Loeffelholz, Jeremy Johnson and Scott McDowell voted against the plan.
Those commission members expressed displeasure that their vote against creating a Planned Unit Development for the project, and retaining the property’s R-3 multifamily residential zoning, Marcy 7 was overruled by the Common Council April 26, when the council voted for the PUD.
A Planned Unit Development allows city zoning regulations to be modified for a building project — for the St. Augustine project, housing density, building setback on the property, and on-site parking requirements.
“The council didn’t take into consideration our discussion and/or failed to talk to any of us as to why we kept it at R3 instead of the PUD,” said commission member Julie Loeffelholz. “We had required some changes, and they were overridden, and I guess that’s how government works.”
“It’s an odd situation that we have requirements on parking, and we’ve thrown them to the whim,” said commission member Jeremy Johnson.
“Parking is a big issue, and it seems like the council said we don’t care what you think about parking, we don’t care what you think about density, we don’t care what you think about any of it.”
The approval came with several stipulations suggested by city staff, including a written agreement with St. Mary Catholic Church for tenant parking, more landscaping at the expanded St. Mary’s parking lot, a Payment In Lieu of Taxes agreement if the project is determined to be exempt from property taxes, and a developer’s agreement with the developer.
Steve Harms of Tri-North Builders said if the project was determined to be tax-exempt, the developers would agree to pay the equivalent of the city portion of property taxes as part of a PILOT.
“So we’re putting in a structure that isn’t going to benefit the school district whatsoever?” asked Johnson.
“It is possible you could get a family with children in one of those units,” said Harms, who said that would be “highly unlikely.”
The commission’s approval also came with a suggestion by commission member Tom Nelson that the city consider prohibiting overnight parking on West Main Street and Hickory Street near St. Augustine’s.
The housing portion of the project includes 144 beds in a three-story building on the southeast half of the block, Greenwood Avenue and Bradford Street. The chapel and student center part of the project, is being considered a separate project.