Portage Planning Commission Meeting Statement

May 18, 2023 Portage Planning Commission Meeting

Citizen Feedback: Rick and Mari Wielopolski; 8836 East Shore Dr.
Re: Proposed Austin Landings Development

Reference was made to a neighbor’s letter which highlighted 2 primary objections to the proposed development:

  • Unmanageable traffic
    • By adding not only single-family homes but also condos and apartment buildings, we could anticipate 3x the traffic accessing our primary exists off East Shore Dr. This is a major safety problem.
  • Unmanageable access to the lake
    • Austin Lake residents learned during a City Council meeting for weed abatement on the lake that there are 5’ lake access areas approximately every 5-10 houses. We understand those were originally intended to give horses access to the lake for the horse-drawn fire trucks. Will the Austin Landings residents now have access to the lake by entering the lake alongside our homes?

We noted 3 additional objections held by East Shore residents:

  • Environmental issues
    • More tree & wetland elimination; where does run-off go (beyond a retention pond)?
    • We recalled the flooding which occurred in 8800 – 9500s areas of East Shore in 2018; potentially attributable to the new Austin condos as well as the city-approved greater footprint homes (ie: more concrete, less land to absorb snow & rains). Most of us had water in our basement as Austin Lake could not take more water nor could we feed it to other lakes. One basement-less home had their stove floating in their yard.
    • We requested the Commission study the effects on those downhill from this proposed development.
  • Infrastructure issues
    • In addition to traffic, we are concerned about other infrastructure such as water filtration. The Zylman filtration center needed to be updated just a few years ago due to Stryker and other manufacturers. As the neighbor’s letter noted, the load on infrastructure could be 3x that of the current East Shore residents.
    • The GR-based developer purchased this land as single-family. Now they want it re-zoned for apartments and condos, adding to the population.
    • We requested the Commission study infrastructure effects.
  • Financial Impact
    • Current residents, which with high probability, provide one of the larger property tax bases of any neighborhood, could have their home values negatively affected, particularly by the addition of lower income apartments.
    • The GR-based developer purchased this land as single-family yet now wants it re-zoned. This is a key concern of homeowners all along East Shore, not just across the street from the Landings. Many of our homes range in value from $800,000- +$2,000,000.
    • We requested the Commission research other areas of similarly valued homes where, later, multiple 34+ unit apartments were built within the same proximity as the proposed Landings.

Please remember Joni Mitchel: don’t pave paradise to put up an apartment building.

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