Wauwatosa residents file lawsuit challenging approval of Drew Tower project

Drew Tower. Rendering: Kahler Slater
Drew Tower. Rendering: Kahler Slater

Last updated on July 12th, 2022 at 01:58 pm

A group of Wauwatosa residents, through the organization Underwood Neighbors United, have filed a lawsuit against the city’s Board of Appeals, challenging the most recent approval of the Drew Tower project.

Drew Tower, a 28-story tower that would contain 65 apartments and about 80,000 square feet of office and medical space, is slated to be built at the southwest corner of Mayfair and Bluemound roads. The project was proposed by an investors group led by Mo’s Restaurants owner John “Johnny V” Vassallo in 2020.

The lawsuit challenges a June 7 Wauwatosa Board of Appeals decision, which affirmed a separate decision made by the Design Review Board to approve the tower project.

“The DRB failed to genuinely consider whether the proposed development would negatively impact and depreciate the value of the residential and other properties in the immediate adjacent neighborhoods,” reads the lawsuit.

The lawsuit further alleges that the city and Board of Appeals “intentionally refused to allow public input into the project” and knowingly violated contested case hearing rules designed to guaranty due process.

Underwood Neighbors United has several members who live next to the proposed Drew Tower project site. These homeowners allege the project will diminish their property values and interfere with the “daily use and quiet enjoyment of their homes and property.”

The lawsuit requests that the June 7 Board of Appeals decision to approve Drew Tower, as well as any approved permits for the project, be rescinded.

City Attorney Alan Kesner declined to comment on the lawsuit at this time. The city has 20 days to respond to the lawsuit once an authenticated copy has been served.

Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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