STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) -- The proposed 40-unit student housing development proposed for Stevens Point has been defeated.
Alderman Mike Wiza successfully amended the development agreement to include 192 parking stalls instead of the planned 73 stalls. He didn’t believe the original developer’s proposal was good for the city. “They’re looking to put up a five-story building, which (nothing like it) is anywhere near that area, and they didn’t provide, in my opinion, ample parking there, having 180-some beds but only providing 73 parking spots, and they tried to tweak it up saying we’ve got 11 bike spots and two moped spots for 182 people. That was not appropriate.”
Along with the parking requirement, several council members including Wiza were not pleased with using $500,000 in Tax Incremental Financing incentives to build a structure that doesn’t create jobs. “If someone wants to do a development like that, where they’re not really creating the jobs, they’re not contributing much to the community at large, or to the taxpayers, I don’t think they should be doing it with taxpayer money. I think they should be doing it on their dime.”
Developer Jack Fisher from CCFS Group LLC, Mayor Andrew Halverson, and Community Development Director Michael Ostrowski all declined to be interviewed, but when asked if the project is dead, Halverson said, “It sure looks that way.” Wiza says a different site plan might be more acceptable to the council. “The developer can certainly come back with an alternative plan. I can’t speak for the developer, but I guess based on the statements, he said it wasn’t financially feasible without the TIF funding, and was really impractical physically with the amount of parking spots that we require.”
Wiza says he’s hopeful more proposals are offered for development. “Anyone can come up to us with a project at anytime, so it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that it could come back in a different form, and hopefully, something a little more palatable.” The nearly five-hour city council meeting brought some discussion from aldermen, and a great deal of public comment, with about half a dozen of the opponents speaking several times during public hearings against specific aspects of the development. There were six separate public hearings on the agenda, and four of them affected the apartment proposal.
Council members voted to adjust parking standards, and landscaping standards, but had a split vote on the $500,000 incentive funding and the actual development agreement. Both of those were not approved.
There has been some redevelopment along Division Street over the past couple of years, but there have been a couple of projects that failed to advance... this apartment complex and another development on the former Cooper Motors property.
(Our interview with Alderman Mike Wiza can be heard on our website, here.)