It has been more than six years since the state overrode the wishes of a local planning body to approve an expansion southwest of the city.
Next week, the first official proposal for construction in the area planned for that addition is set to go before the Plan Commission.
It’s a big one.
The 160-acre, senior-oriented neighborhood would feature around 600 homes, about half of which are single-family, south of Valley Road in what still is the Town of Verona. While it’s just a concept at this point, with its developer looking for feedback, the submission to the city shows four distinct sections – a set of “active adult pocket neighborhoods” surrounding assisted- and independent-living complexes, a subdivision of up to 300 single-family homes and an outdoor activity area featuring natural lands that back up close to the Sugar River and adjacent farmland.
Applicant Matt Mauthe, a Verona resident, explained in his submission that the company he’s CEO of operates nonprofit retirement communities around Southeastern Wisconsin and did a market study last year to determine the need for senior housing. It said the company hopes to begin occupancy in 2021.
The 265-acre Southwest Area was master planned in 2009 to accommodate Dean Health, which had purchased land in that area for a potential clinic and residential campus north of Valley Road, but it never carried through with those plans. It took the city three years to gain state approval to add that area to its urban service area, meaning it could connect it to sewer service.
The proposed development is just outside of what was added in 2012, meaning the city would have to not only annex it from the town but also add it to its urban service area. However, because of state rules that were enacted in 2014, the state must act on applications within 90 days.
City planning director Adam Sayre said the big question for the commission and the Common Council will be a policy issue because the land it’s on was originally planned for such uses as a business park. As a result, it would need an amendment to the city’s comprehensive plan.