Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:49 pm
A plan to build the first high-rise tower in the North Shore and create a public financing district to help pay for it is not sitting well with many residents in the quiet, affluent Village of Bayside.
“I left the city to move to Bayside and raise a kid, now you are bringing the city to me,” said Bob Kohn, who lives near the proposed development site.
Kohn was one of about 35 speakers Thursday during a public hearing held by the village’s Community Development Authority.
The CDA was considering approval of the project plan and TIF district for OneNorth, a $200 million mixed-use development being proposed along Interstate I-43 and Port Washington Road that would be anchored by a 30-story apartment tower and include 280 luxury apartments.
OneNorth developer Cobalt Partners has asked for $42.6 million in public financing to help pay for the project.
About 200 people attended Thursday’s meeting, which was moved to Bayside Middle School. The standing-room only crowd spilled outside of the school’s cafeteria. Most of the attendees were not in favor of the project.
Many raised question about additional traffic that could be generated by the project and how the North Shore Fire Department could be affected. Many people were also surprised by the amount of money for the TIF district and the height of the tower.
By comparison, the University Club Tower is 36 stories, 7SEVENTY7 is 34 stories, Kilbourn Tower Condominiums is 33 stories and The Moderne is 30 stories. All of those buildings are in downtown Milwaukee.
Driving through the village, several residents have “No Bayside High Rise” signs in their yards.
“We have two streetlights and now you are bringing a tower to Bayside?” Kohn said. “I want to see this area developed. I want to see better buildings I want to see restaurants, but you guys missed the mark here.”
One woman, who did not state her name, said she has lived in Bayside since 1999, and raised three daughters who were all able to walk across the street and go to Baskin-Robbins for ice cream.
“This is beyond anything I ever imagined you would consider,” she said. “If you do this to my little corner, any family who wanted to buy from me won’t be able to do that.”
But not everyone was against the project, or future development.
Ron Shapiro, who has lived in the village for 52 years, reminded his neighbors that change is inevitable. Shapiro said the Fox Point-Bayside School District is asking for voters to pass a referendum and OneNorth will be one way to add to the village’s tax base.
“Regardless of what the project is, failure to look at tax incremental financing would be an error on our part,” Shapiro said. “I appreciate that everyone has a viewpoint, but this deserves to be looked at.”
Max Dickman, who is the son of Sam Dickman, president of the Bayside Village Board, also spoke in favor of the project.
“I realize that change is difficult but the northwest corner has remained stagnant for years,” Dickman said, adding that Bayside has many empty nesters who have not sold their homes because they don’t have anywhere else to go and want to remain in the village.
“It is important for the houses to turn over for our schools. The project would be 21 percent of our tax levy. Long term, this is critical for the health of our village.”
After hearing public comments, the CDA voted to postpone the vote until Oct. 4.