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Rezoning Proposal Faces Resistance From Neighbors

The owner of a 30-acre piece of land at 9900 S. 13th St. wants the property's zoning to change from agricultural to manufacturing, but some residents worry about the impact on the neighborhood.

A proposed rezoning of about 30 acres on 13th Street has some south-side Oak Creek residents worried about the impact on their neighborhood.

Capstone Quadrangle, which owns the property at 9900 S. 13th St., has requested the zoning change from agricultural to manufacturing so it can better attract businesses to the site.

The land is across from the Creekside Corporate Park, which l. That's an example of a business Capstone never had a chance at, because developers shy away from going through what can be a lengthy and sometimes contentious rezoning process, said Mike Faber, a partner at Capstone.

Faber spoke Tuesday to the Oak Creek Plan Commission, which recommended the Common Council approve the zoning change. A public hearing will be held at a later date before the council votes on the measure.

While he doesn't have any specific redevelopment plans lined up, Faber said a zoning change will help Capstone recruit developers.

"I'm asking for the ability to get in the game," he said. "I'm forced to sit on the sidelines if I don't have the right zoning. That's the way we see it. We don't get an at-bat at deals, we don't even hear about them until they're announced. That's a pretty rough sentence."

However, some neighbors say they are wary of rezoning without any specific plan put forward.

Paul Cales, whose property abuts the south side of the lot, said he doesn't have a problem with new development but worries it would not be compatible with the nearby neighborhood.

Capstone broached rezoning in 2008, and while plans were eventually withdrawn, the process left "a bad taste" in some residents' mouths, Cales said.

"I need to know what's going to go there before I could ever acquiesce to an M-1 (manufacturing zoning)," he said. "Who knows what they're going to do? Nice guy ... but at the end of the day, they're business people too."

Plan Commission members, in unanimously recommending a rezoning, noted that when Capstone does have plans for a specific business they would have to bring those forward for a separate approval. That protects neighbors and gives the city the opportunity to reject something if it doesn't fit with the neighborhood, commissioners said.

"I'm not looking to just have a developer come in and build helter skelter, whatever that developer wants," Alderman Tom Michalski said. "I think we as a panel here, and the council in general, can be responsive to the needs of the residents."

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