New Berlin WI vote muddies waters on housing project

NOTE — New Berlin is being incredibly persistent in fighting any form of affordable housing.

January 26, 2011

When the Common Council voted against approving an amended development agreement for a controversial housing project for the City Center, there was a round of applause from a crowd of about 100 people who turned out Tuesday night in opposition to the plan.

But does the vote prevent MSP Real Estate from proceeding with its plans for what it is calling a condominium project but what opponents suspect is really a low-income housing project?

City officials could not answer that question Wednesday.

“That question is above my pay grade,” said Ald. Dave Ament, who voted against approving the amended agreement and noted during Tuesday’s meeting that MSP would have to follow the agreement originally approved for the project, which stalled under another developer about five years ago.

“Can they work off the old development agreement? I don’t know the answer,” Mayor Jack Chiovatero said Wednesday. “I asked the city attorney if it would stop the project. He said, ‘I don’t know.’ ”

Asked via e-mail whether the project could continue under the original agreement and to explain what the council action meant for the proposed development, City Attorney Mark Blum responded, “I have no comment on this issue at this time.”

A special closed meeting of the Common Council was posted Wednesday for Feb. 2 to discuss the development.

Blum on Tuesday had recommended council approval of the amended development agreement, saying that the building project had already been approved in 2004.

The amended agreement dealt only with public infrastructure that is part of the project. It is an agreement that protects the city, making sure the developer has the funds to complete water, sewer and roads, and that the work meets city standards, Blum said.

But aldermen, on a 5-1 vote, failed to approve the amended agreement, a vote that came after a number of citizens implored city officials to reject MSP’s proposal because they believe it includes low-income housing.

Read remainder of the story at the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

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About Bob Voelker

Head of the Munsch Hardt (Dallas law firm) Hospitality & Mixed Use Development Group, and former developer of affordable housing. I'm i
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