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Proposed gated community and senior condo project on Little Muskego Lake greeted with citizen concern

July 28, 2014

Muskego — Not in my back yard was the resounding theme as more than a dozen residents lined up to address the common council here about a series of proposed residential developments along portions of Little Muskego Lake.

Greenfield-based development firm Ener-Con Companies has proposed a two-pronged project within a 6.7-acre site, located along Janesville Road and just south of Pioneer Drive.

A small portion consists of a gated single-family community, while the balance was for a senior housing condominium project.

The entire development encompasses three city-designed parcels. Michael Dilworth, president of Ener-Con Companies, owns two of the parcels; Dan Hewitt owns the remaining parcel.

The city would need to undertake a technical zoning change within the current planned development district designation to bring Dilworth's proposal to fruition.

The council did not take any action on the rezoning request at its meeting Tuesday, July 22, but did entertain the first reading of an ordinance that would amend the zoning and integrate correlating changes into the city's 2020 comprehensive plan document.

The council could make a final decision on the rezoning in August.

The 15 residents who addressed the council at last week's public hearing offered neutral or negative comments toward Ener-Con's plans for the site. A frequent concern around the project focused on the sheer density of the housing proposals.

"Talk about reaching out your window and asking, 'Can I borrow a cup of sugar?'" Kingston Drive resident Debra Bolton said. "This proposal is trying to cram in (condominium) units before you even consider building roads. You shouldn't be planning to cause problems."

Walter Spitzer, who lives on Garnet Drive, said he did not believe Ener-Con's plans for the three parcels were compatible with the surrounding area. Spitzer suggested Dilworth consider a plan that is in line with current zoning.

"This proposal, as far as I can see, offers nothing for the city of Muskego," Spitzer said. "It does add a lot for the developer and the property owners."

Suzi Link, a former member of the city's community development authority, equated Little Muskego Lake to fine jewelry and Ener-Con's plans to costume jewelry.

"This seems to be an apartment building in condo clothing," Link said of the senior housing component of the project. "This major asset to the tax base could go from being an asset to a detriment."

Several speakers also questioned the rationale behind the gated Garden Home development. Under Dilworth's proposal, this component of the project would feature seven single-family homes, each constructed with high-end architecture and direct access to the lake.

The envisioned selling price would be in the ballpark of $1 million.

The senior housing condominiums, as proposed, would consist of two two-story buildings — one with 20 units and the other offering 10 units. Underground parking is part of the plans.

Dilworth said the senior housing would be targeted toward persons 55 years and older, and units are expected to sell at $250,000 each.

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