Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

City Creating Plan to Develop and Preserve Bay View

New area plan would create shared vision for future of neighborhood.

By - Feb 4th, 2021 03:44 pm
S. Kinnickinnic Avenue. Photo by Carl Baehr.

S. Kinnickinnic Avenue. Photo by Carl Baehr.

The Department of City Development will work with area Alderwoman Marina Dimitrijevic and neighborhood stakeholders to develop a new plan to guide development in the Bay View neighborhood.

The new plan would amend the much broader Southeast Side Area Comprehensive Plan that was adopted in 2008 as part of a citywide planning effort.

“I am so excited to sponsor this item,” said Dimitrijevic when the Common Council’s Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee debated its authorization. During her campaign, the alderwoman told Urban Milwaukee that she thought a revised plan was a critical step in guiding how and where real estate development happens in the neighborhood.

“The number one issue is, of course, development,” said Dimitrijevic of concerns she hears from residents. Real estate developers have taken a growing interest in advancing projects in the neighborhood in the past decade.

The plan would identify catalytic sites for future development while making suggestions about scale and use of properties. Dimitrijevic said she also looked forward to developing a vision for street design and transportation.

Prior plans have explicit projects that stakeholders wanted, like the redevelopment of key properties or new parks, while also providing an inventory of existing sites.

“I think it will be easier for the city, the residents, this committee,” said the alderwoman, first elected in April. “Instead of being reactionary to certain developments, we have had some very large public debates over specifically what’s going on in the Bay View area, I think we can be visionary and talk about all matters, businesses, housing, environmental, we can build something better for all of us.”

Dimitrijevic said that engaging area residents would be more difficult given the pandemic, but that a virtual format could enable more people to participate.

DCD planning manager Sam Leichtling said the timing is right to advance a new plan. “We are excited to get to work with the alderwoman right away after the council adopts the file,” he said.

Dimitrijevic’s predecessor Tony Zielinski had an explicit strategy of directing development to S. Kinnickinnic Ave., the neighborhood’s main street, and away from streets lined with single-family homes and duplexes.

Near the end of his term, while Zielinski was running for mayor, a proposal for two apartment buildings on S. Kinnickinnic Ave. pushed that strategy to its limits. The proposal calls for two buildings to not only replace a parking lot and vacant building, but also a handful of houses just off the main street. Community meetings involved shouting, but the proposal never advanced to a formal public hearing before the pandemic and council election cycle.

During Zielinski’s tenure multiple proposals were put forth to develop the Army Reserve site, multiple blocks off S. Kinnickinnic Ave., that the alderman opposed and DCD supported. The site is identified as a key project site in the 2008 plan.

A zoning change for a large, proposed mixed-use development at the north end of the neighborhood was approved in 2020 with Dimitrijevic’s support. But that project sits on a site identified for its redevelopment potential in another area plan, the Harbor District-forming Water and Land Use Plan. It is just outside of the boundaries of the new planning effort.

The Bay View plan will roughly follow the city-defined boundaries for the large south side neighborhood. It will run from Becher Street and E. Bay St. on the north to Holt Avenue on the south, from Lake Michigan on the east to the Canadian Pacific railroad tracks and S. Chase Ave. on the west.

DCD is projecting to spend $50,000 on the effort, with the funds already allocated in the 2021 budget. A resolution before the council would allow them to hire a contractor to perform some of the work.

Alderman Jose G. Perez, who represents the area to the west, pushed for bordering council members to be engaged in the process. Leichtling said that was a good suggestion.

An area planning process is currently underway for S. 13th St., the Crisol Corridor. The street sits on the border of Perez, Dimitrijevic and Ald. Scott Spiker‘s districts. Approved in early 2020, it is expected to be completed this spring.

The committee unanimously endorsed the Bay View proposal. The full council is scheduled to vote on the proposal on February 9th.

The existing 191-page Southeast Side Area Plan can be read in its entirety, including the two amendments, on the city website.

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us