Monday, April 19, 2010

Milwaukee County Grounds Public Hearing

Urban Wilderness Alert:

Public Hearing concerning plans for the Milwaukee County Grounds.
Tuesday, April 20, (tomorrow!) at 7:30 pm.
Wauwatosa City Hall (76th & North Ave.)

It’s been over ten years since the Milwaukee County Board abandoned plans to sell the entire 235 acre Northeast Quadrant of the County Grounds in the face of overwhelming public opposition. Much has happened since then. People who have been following this important issue know that the County has sold 89 acres of it to UWM. Their proposal, called Innovation Park, includes a small research campus. It also includes commercial and residential developments. In March UWM presented plans drawn by HGA, their architectural firm, to the Wauwatosa Common Council and Plan Commission. While the plans look good, unfortunately, they are merely recommendations.
The City of Wauwatosa, because it is responsible for zoning the land, has the power to make the plans effective and permanent or ineffective. The public hearing gives those who care about preserving the natural character of the land a voice in the matter. Please plan to attend.
The plans include habitat protection, bio-filtration of stormwater, and other environmentally sensitive features, as well as a hypothetical footprint for roads and buildings. These are my suggestions for the Common Council:

• Habitat areas and green buffer zones must be clearly delineated and permanently protected.
• Funding and policies for maintenance of these areas must be established.
• The density of building footprints and building height restrictions must be codified, not recommended.
• Limitations on the types of development done by secondary developers must be clearly defined.

Moving this process along quickly is not in the best interest of the public.

UWM is a good fit for the County Grounds because they can be expected to be good stewards of what is prime land for parks, recreation and wildlife habitat. Secondary developers cannot be held to the same levels of accountability; yet this door has been left open for potential degradation of UWM's good plan. It is up to Wauwatosa to establish this accountability and it is up to us to tell the Common Council that.

If you cannot attend, please submit comments FOR THE RECORD to Let them know you visit Wauwatosa and care about the future of the County Grounds and that you are unable to attend.

For a more in depth report on this issue, this link will take you to an article entitled "Divided Opinion Concerning Innovation Park" posted at the UWM Post blog.

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