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Apartment Developers Leave Mt. Pleasant Meeting Less Than Enthused

Edited for clarity 2-21 8:45a

Mt. Pleasant---The out-of-town developers who are proposing badly-needed apartments received a chilly reception from the Plan Commission Wednesday, calling into question whether workforce-styled housing is politically feasible in the village. 

Just as some in the area are trying to entice developers into building here, several members of the Mt. Pleasant commission raised concerns over density issues. "I want to see Mt. Pleasant grow but I think we have to be smart about it--we have to be smart not to have too much density," said Commissioenr John Kis who expressed concerns over crime and other issues. 

The Madison-based developers are proposing to build 538 units in several phases on a 45-acre plot of land just east of the Foxconn site. "To me that's a lot of people living in a small area," Kis said. Several other commissioners seemed to agree. 

Several months ago, Racine County and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority hosted an event designed to drum up interest among housing developers. In the light of Foxconn, officials fear that demand for housing of all types could far exceed supply. One unintended consequence would be making housing unaffordable for greater numbers of lower-income workers throughout the area.  

The agenda item up for discussion Wednesday had to do with changing the land use designation for the site in question and did not deal directly with the apartment proposal itself.

The Commission voted unanimously in favor of changing the designation from agriculture to residential and commercial, a move which would clear the way for a public hearing on the proposal itself and consideration of a zoning change request.

But the lead developer, Mike Fisher of Madison, said moving forward is not a sure bet, saying his group needs to analyze costs. He admitted he was surprised by the tenor of Wednesday's discussion, saying he couldn’t think of an apartment complex that had a lower density ratio than the one his group is proposing. 

The envisioned apartment complex with some light retail and commercial elements would be located directly east of the Foxconn complex, which, at the moment, consists of a single building and a lot of empty land. 

None of the developers who attended Wednesday's meeting addressed the Commission.