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DJ's Transformation to Begin

By clearing a hurdle at Plan Commission, hopes are that construction of a multi-family residence toward lake can begin as soon as tavern is razed, with a new pub and restaurant to follow shortly after.

In contrast to the debate over the request and approval to rezone the property for DJ's Pub and Grill this past summer, the review of plans for the business and residential property was relatively peaceful.

The Plan Commission met Tuesday night to review the building, site and operation plan for the 1.4 acre parcel, which is now zoned as a downtown rivival property. With Waukesha County planning on razing the current tavern, owner Dan Hewitt hoped to replace the business with a new 3,500 square foot restaurant near Janesville Road, and a 3,800-square-foot four-family residence toward Little Muskego Lake.

The developer, Burback Builders, provided plans for landscaping, parking, lighting and construction to the commission. The biggest point of contention came over the access for the residences at the rear of the property.

"Right now the way it's currently laid out is that you have to drive through the parking lot down a one-way lane to get to the residence, then to get out, you have to drive back down the other way on another one-way lane to," said Alderman Dan Soltysiak. "So, you're actually accessing the residences through the lanes of a parking lot. On nights that it's very busy, I can see that being very hard."

Soltysiak also said there could be a safety concern for other emergency vehicles should the need arise.

Community Development Director Jeff Muenkel said that there was room to add additional width along the east side lane to allow for two-way traffic, which the commission approved.

In addition, the commission recommended that a lower-level meeting room area in the plans be put on hold, as the required number of additional parking lot spaces could not be met in the current design.

Homeowners Jim and Heidi Lindhorst voiced concerns as well on the height of the fencing along the west side of the lot, which was planned at four feet tall. The Lindhorst property sits directly to the west of DJ's parcel. The commission discussed having the height raised to help minimize headlight and other distraction but after considering the options both the commission and the property owners felt adding landscaping would serve the purpose.

Placement of the residence relative to the Lindhorst's property was also a concern, as Heidi felt the structure would literally overshadow their home. Burback agreed and said he'd prefer to have the residence moved a little further from the lake, but said much would be determined by the storm water plan, which includes a pond required to maintain water quality.

The approval was ultimately given to the plan then with the following changes:

  • increasing the east side lane to 24 feet to accommodate two way traffic, pushing the fence line to within six feet of the property to the east
  • reducing the number of parking spaces to 42, and reorienting traffic flow within the parking lot to a counter-clockwise flow.
  • in lieu of raising fence height on the west side of the property, additional screening landscape would be required
  • eliminating the basement space requested for meeting room, and instead requiring it be used for storage only
  • residential building will switch its side offsets: 10' on west side, 5' on east side, pushing it further away from the Lindhorst property

The Common Council will receive the recommendation as early as their Nov. 13 meeting. Burback said that they will need to wait on the county to demolish the current tavern before they begin construction. They said they will begin work on the residence first before they start work on the pub and grill.

DK November 08, 2012 at 02:37 PM
A multi family by the lake? Oh come on!!!! Can't this city come up with something better?
Matt Johnson November 08, 2012 at 02:57 PM
Why did the basement meeting room have to be removed from the owners plans? Would prefer not to have the multi-family there but the city doesn't own the property.
Denise Konkol (Editor) November 08, 2012 at 03:17 PM
@DK - it's not city property and actually there are residences there already. This one also looks much nicer, and the homeowners next door are OK with it, just that if it can be moved back from the lake at all they'd prefer it. @Matt - parking spaces equate to square footage. If they used the 800 square feet in the basement as restaurant space they would need 16 more parking spaces. If you looked at the plans, there would be nowhere to put them.
DK November 08, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Granted that the city doesn't own the property but they approve the plans. We already have the Bay Breeze eyesore on the lake. We need more congestion on the lake shore? No wonder this city looks like junk!
DK November 08, 2012 at 03:28 PM
And as far as the neighbors approving it--they would approve most anything that would stop a park from ever being built on the lake shore.
Simple Bacon November 08, 2012 at 05:41 PM
This property is not on the lake, has no lake access, and therefore contributes zero to congestion on the lake. Consistently, when asked, residents of Muskego say they want to encourage commercial development and in particular restaurants - so here you go. Personally, I'm glad to see the owners work with the City to come up with a plan that seemed to take into account the previous concerns by neighbors. This will be a nice development in a city that needs it.
DK November 08, 2012 at 10:33 PM
The commercial development, ie the restaurant, is a very good thing. The concern is a multi family unit in that immediate area.
Denise Konkol (Editor) November 09, 2012 at 01:32 AM
I'm not sure what bothers you about it. The tenants will likely be paying a premium for rents, even without direct lake access. At the end of the day it's no one's property except Mr. Hewitt's and it does meet city guidelines for the zoning. In addition, I don't think you'll get to see much of it when you're driving by.

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