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St. Augustine project reintroduced
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The Platteville Common Council got its third look at the proposed St. Augustine University Parish project April 12, two weeks before the council may vote on the project.

As with the original presentation, the developers are proposing a Planned Unit Development to replace the R-3 multifamily residential zoning on the site. Unlike the original presentation, the new project meets most R-3 requirements in such areas as design standards, building setback and height, though not in density.

Unlike the original plan, the project also exceeds the 112-stall parking requirement for the 144-bed project, though not all on the St. Augustine block.

Steve Harms of Tri-North Builders said the student housing, larger chapel and student center are intended to support programs at UW–Platteville’s Newman Center, which has grown significantly in the past few years.

Most of the buildings will have 15-foot setbacks, except for 10 feet around the steeple area at the project’s northwest corner. Harms said the stone and stucco building design is inspired by buildings at Yale University.

Harms said the project will have 141 parking spots, with 85 on the St. Augustine block and 56 0.6 miles away at St. Mary Catholic Church.

City director of planning and community development Joe Carroll said off-site parking is allowed in the zoning ordinance, but only up to 300 feet away. A Planned Unit Development allows exceptions to the zoning ordinance, however, in such areas as setback, density and parking, he said.

“The PUD gives the developer and the city more flexibility in negotiations, including PILOTs,” Payment in Lieu of Taxes, said at-large Ald. Amy Seeboth-Wilson. “Without the PUD we cannot negotiate a PILOT.”

Two housing owners, Isaac Shanley and Lonnie Holze, argued that the project should be required to meet standards for other multifamily developments.

Shanley said off-site parking is allowed for commercial developments, but not residential developments. He said he was “just curious if those neighbors” of St. Mary’s “were every notified that you might have that much parking up there.”

“I went to college here” in the early 1980s, said Holze, and the St. Augustine area was “very congested, very crowded; parking was always a problem.”

The developers will add sidewalks on Greenwood Avenue, and replace sidewalks in the rest of the project with sidewalks with terraces, rather than having the sidewalks next to the curb.

The developers propose to start building the housing portion of the project this fall, with the chapel and student center built as funds are available. Harms said the project’s Site Improvement Plan would likely be submitted to the Plan Commission in June. 

Council approval would be contingent on a developer’s agreement, which would happen in June or July, Carroll said.