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April 2014

18

Planning in 2012 set stage for developments this year in Oconomowoc

City of Oconomowoc - City Planner Jason Gallo said while development in the city continued to be slow in 2012, last year set the stage for notable developments beginning in 2013.

"We will see The Worthington (apartments), Lake Country Manufacturing will break ground as soon as the frost is gone, and work has begun to preserve the Oconomowoc Middle School" into more apartment housing, said Gallo.

Gallo shared this information with the Plan Commission at its Feb. 13 meeting during his department's 2012 development summary. The summary indicates that while new activity is on the horizon, the type of development experienced more than five years ago is still a long ways off.

By comparison, there were six subdivision plats approved in the city in 2006 compared to none in 2012. There were 33 commercial applications approved in 2006 compared to eight last year.

Gallo said that while things are still slow, the city remains cautiously optimistic about an economic turnaround and sees evidence of it with new businesses coming to downtown and the new, larger developments.

On the residential side, the city has an abundance of unused residential space. In 2012 the city had 157 vacant single-family lots ready for construction. Based on that, the city has a four- to six-year supply of single-family lots available for development. While no new single-family housing development is anticipated, the city is continuing to see more interest from developers in constructing apartments.

Housing trends have shifted as younger generations of buyers and retiring baby boomers - prefer apartments. according to the department's summary. The summary notes that the city has a larger number of multihousing projects that also have been approved, though never built, which will be taken into consideration if a new applicant comes forward.

On the commercial and industrial side, the city anticipates things also remaining slow in 2013. Officials said any commercial development would be in the Pabst Farms area. They said that, like residential, there is vacant industrial space. Any new industrial development is expected to be in Pabst Farms, according to the Planning Department report.

Looking ahead

Notable on the department's 2013 goals is to further analyze the city's housing stock based on the 2010 census and also look at the city's job/housing balance analysis using new data from SEWRPC.

The Planning Department will also assist with any review of new proposals for Pabst Farms, help potential new owners of the Olde Highlander Golf Course and assist the Town of Oconomowoc in its border agreement with the city.

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