GRAFTON — Committed to building something on the property at the northwest corner of 17th Street and Washington Avenue, the developers behind The Triangle project are hoping a new design will do the trick for Grafton residents and officials.
After being rejected twice, Milwaukee-based developer Three Leaf Partners, whose co-founder and CEO Pat Connaughton is Milwaukee Bucks forward Pat Connaughton, will present a revised concept plan for its multifamily development at 6pm today during a special joint Grafton team meeting. Village Council and Plan Committee. Residents are invited to voice their opinions at the meeting to be held at Village Hall, 860 Badger Circle.
“What will happen is the common boards will give a consensus based on community feedback and their own insights on whether this current project is acceptable to move to the next step,” Village President Dan DeLoret said.
According to Assistant Village Manager/Community Development Director Jessica Wolfe, the site is approximately 2.6 acres and will include five existing parcels and part of the right-of-way on Grafton Street just south of Sunset Court. The updated plan reduces the size of the apartment building and adds two townhomes for a total of 93 units.
In addition, a roundabout is proposed at the Grafton Street/17th Street/Sunset Court intersection, with the driveway leading into the development being the fourth stop of the roundabout.
Three Leaf first proposed nearly a year ago to build a 180-unit apartment complex — The Triangle — with four- to five-story buildings and first-floor commercial tenant space. But residents and village officials criticized the project for being too dense for the area.
“We were always, from day one, thinking about redeveloping the site for multifamily housing,” Joe Stanton, vice president of Three Leaf Partners, told the News Graphic. “There is a documented shortage of apartments in the area.”
Developers returned in late January to propose three- to four-story buildings for 135 residents. The Plan Commission still felt it was too dense, adding that it also created traffic issues.
The next month, Three Leaf bought four of the five lots on Washington Street between Grafton Street and 17th Street for $650,000, according to the Ozaukee County Register of Deeds office. The developers then hosted a town hall meeting in June at the Kacmarcik Center for Human Performance that allowed community members to view another updated proposal and provide feedback, where many were not shy about sharing their opposition to the controversial development.
“Leave some green space. The one thing I liked about Grafton when I moved here was the green space. They’re taking more and more of that,” said resident Mark Giaimo.
The developers requested to meet with each member of the Plan Commission and Village Board shortly after to discuss their development.
Although the population was reduced, many other residents were also uncomfortable with the traffic that would be generated, especially with the removal of part of Grafton Street.
“I think it’s terrible if they think they can get rid of Fifth District (Grafton Street). I think this is an important road. It’s beautiful, but it’s too much for this area,” Kay Grubb said during the open house.
According to a traffic study conducted by raSmith, the newest development is expected to generate 670 daily trips. The combined roundabout was added because it was the safest and most operationally efficient option to serve the triangle, residential land uses and adjacent high schools.
Construction is proposed to begin in the first quarter of 2024 and be completed by mid-2025.
“As village president, I value partnerships with developers who will listen to the needs of the community,” DeLoret added, reiterating that there is a full process and many steps ahead before this project can begin.