Quotes from Master Plan Consultants: Austin Landings project does NOT align w Master Plan

City Council Meeting:  July 11, 2023

Mari & Rick Wielopolski    8836 East Shore Dr.
Re: Quotes from Master Plan Consultants: Austin Landings project does NOT align w Master Plan

We have thoroughly reviewed the developer’s plans for Austin Landings. The developer wrote that their proposal aligns well with Portage’s Master Plan.

We attended the 6/28 Planning Commission Meeting. We appreciate that the commission chose to move the Master Plan presentation to the top of the agenda. I took copious notes as the City’s paid consultants presented the Master Plan update.

Here are 5 direct quotes from the consultants:

  1. In the vision & goals section, the consultants specifically stated, “the vision & goals are based on where the community wants to go”. Their survey with 550 people was conducted BEFORE the community knew of Woodbine & Austin Landings projects. We, the community, are here and have been throughout June & July, making the community’s vision/goals very clear. Are you taking this into consideration?
  2. In the land use section, the consultants recommend, “maintaining all the good you have; utilize previously developed areas”. We see many open and previously developed plots in the immediate area for homes, apartments & townhouses where NO trees need to be cut down, NO rezoning is required. Why is Austin Landings being sandwiched into existing homes?
  3. In the housing section, the consultants stated, new should “complement existing within developed neighborhoods”. East Shore Dr IS an existing neighborhood of SINGLE-FAMILY homes. Apartments and townhouses don’t complement it.
  4. In the Parks/Open Spaces/Environment section, the paid consultants stated two important things:
    1. the need to “protect flood-prone areas”. We’ve already described the flooding endured on East Shore with The Woodlands build-out. And,
    2. “your lakes are a unique asset; preserve it”. Yes, preserve our assets by not overcrowding areas already facing traffic and safety issues.

We ask this Council to listen to the City’s paid consultants’ 1 hour presentation to the Planning Commission on 6/28. Although it is helpful that the City made their PowerPoint slides available, the consultants’ talking points were not provided. City Council – please listen to their commentary. We believe there is but one conclusion: Austin Landings does not align with the Master Plan.

However, there is a win-win here. The Master Plan has 2 other “subareas” where substantial building will be required. En lieu of Austin Landings development, the City could request the GR developer to revise their development plans to participate in these other subareas, thereby allowing the developer to still make a profit in Portage.

Lastly, we all ask that you remember: THE WHOLE LAKE IS WATCHING!