Heritage expansion approvedSix months of conflict between the developers of the Heritage Greens subdivision and neighborhood residents ended Monday night when the Hudson City Council approved a compromise plan to expand the areas designated for commercial and multi-family residential uses.
By: Randy Hanson, Hudson Star-Observer
Six months of conflict between the developers of the Heritage Greens subdivision and neighborhood residents ended Monday night when the Hudson City Council approved a compromise plan to expand the areas designated for commercial and multi-family residential uses.
The council chamber was again crowded with Red Cedar Canyon and Heritage Greens residents as alderpersons voted 4-2 to designate 5.6 acres for commercial development, a little less than an acre for commercial and/or residential use, and 6.8 acres for multi-family residential development.
The 11th and final plan for the development came on a motion by Alderperson Lori Bernard to require single-family homes only on the larger of two lots (totaling 2.35 acres in area) bordering Red Cedar Canyon. The lot abuts the back yards of three Red Cedar single-family homes.
BrightKeys Building & Development Corp., developer of the Heritage Greens mixed-use neighborhood, had proposed allowing up to 15,000 square feet of commercial buildings or 10 residential units on the parcel. Daycare centers and business or professional offices are the only commercial uses that would have been allowed on the lot.
Both commercial and residential structures on the parcel would have been limited to a single level.
Alderpersons Bernard, Randy Morrissette II, Lee Wyland and Alan Burchill voted to approve the amended plan. It was opposed by Alderpersons Pam Brokaw and Scot O’Malley.
The two small parcels on the boundary of Heritage Greens and Red Cedar Canyon where Red Cedar Pass meets Tribute Avenue were the only area of major disagreement still remaining between BrightKeys and neighborhood residents.
BrightKeys had significantly down-sized its plans since company representatives appeared before the Plan Commission in April with a proposal for a 10.25-acre commercial district that might have included a gas station, convenience store, bank and retail shops.
The developer also proposed constructing up to 228 apartment units — including some in three-story buildings.
The city’s Plan Commission twice asked BrightKeys to scale down the commercial and multi-family housing development. On the advice of the commission, the developer also held a series of meetings with neighborhood homeowners in an attempt to fashion a plan they could live with.
Ultimately, the planned commercial area on the southern side of Heritage Greens and next to Hanley Road was shifted closer to Hwy. 35 on the east and away from Red Cedar Canyon on the west.
The commercial district was also reduced in size, and the planned gas station was moved away from houses and out of Heritage Greens to the south side of Hanley Road.
The original Heritage Greens plan, adopted by the city in 2002, included a 4.4-acre commercial district and 88 senior housing units.
The plan adopted Monday night allows a 15-unit building for people with physical disabilities and a senior housing complex in addition to the 5.6-acre commercial district.
Royal Credit Union of Eau Claire is expected to construct a building that will anchor the commercial district.
City Council members listened to roughly 40 minutes of arguments from supporters and opponents of the latest Heritage Greens plan before voting on it.
A number of Heritage Greens residents held little lime green signs on Popsicle sticks that read “I support the proposal.”
The Red Cedar Canyon residents’ complaints regarding the plan were limited to the proposed commercial and/or residential use of the two small lots along the boundary of the two neighborhoods.
BrightKeys President C.R. Hackworthy said the development had lost its economic driver when the bottom fell out of the new single-family home market. He said the development would fail financially if the city didn’t allow it to pursue more commercial and multi-family residential development.
“My goal is to fashion something livable for all of the folks,” Mayor Dean Knudson told the audience at the start of the discussion on the issue. He said he wanted to help BrightKeys complete the development of Heritage Greens, and at the same time treat the neighboring Red Cedar Canyon homeowners with consideration.