City of Milwaukee Department of City Development
Press Release

City of Milwaukee releases Growing MKE Draft Plan

Growing MKE recommends updates to Milwaukee’s zoning code to permit additional styles of housing in all Milwaukee neighborhoods.

MILWAUKEE – The City of Milwaukee Department of City Development (DCD) released its Growing MKE Draft Plan for public review and comment. The Growing MKE Plan is the result of a year-long planning process to propose updates to the City of Milwaukee’s Comprehensive Plan and make recommendations for future updates to Milwaukee’s zoning code to encourage housing growth and choice throughout Milwaukee.

The policies contained within the Growing MKE Plan will advance Milwaukee’s goals for housing choice, equity, affordability, economic development, and climate resilience. The Growing MKE Plan proposes updates to Milwaukee’s zoning code, which will implement recommendations from Milwaukee’s Climate and Equity Plan and the Collective Affordable Housing Strategic Plan.

“I’ve made no secret of my goal to grow Milwaukee’s population,” Mayor Cavalier Johnson said. “The Growing MKE plan will reduce barriers to the development of new homes and encourage the creation of a range of housing choices in every neighborhood in the city.”

DCD carried out extensive community engagement and analysis to develop the Growing MKE Plan, including engaging a consultant team with national expertise on housing and zoning, convening multiple working groups of housing and community stakeholders, and hosting open houses and office hours across the City. More than 1,000 residents have participated in the process to shape the Growing MKE Plan.

“As we continue to attract new jobs to the city, create new neighborhood gathering spaces, and make our streets safer and more enjoyable for people walking and biking, we also need to ensure that Milwaukee offers a range of housing options for households at all income levels and stages of life,” DCD Commissioner Lafayette L. Crump said. “The updates to the zoning code recommended by Growing MKE will encourage the development of diverse housing options to meet Milwaukee’s evolving housing needs.”

The Growing MKE Plan recommends updates to Milwaukee’s zoning code to permit additional styles of housing in all Milwaukee neighborhoods. This includes permitting accessory dwelling units and duplex and tri-plex homes across the City, consistent with the housing options that have historically existed in many Milwaukee neighborhoods. It would also reduce barriers to the development of mixed-use transit-oriented development on commercial and transit corridors. The recommendations of Milwaukee’s Anti-Displacement Plan and  Collective Affordable Housing Strategic Action Plan are incorporated within the Growing MKE Plan to align those critical strategic priorities.

“This isn’t just about buildings; it’s about building a fairer, more inclusive tomorrow for everyone,” Montavius Jones, Principal at Narvarte Development, said. “It’s about empowering lives and fostering equity. Growing MKE is a gateway to choice and accessibility. It offers homeowners the liberty to adapt their spaces to their evolving needs. It provides access to housing diversity, addressing the desires of Milwaukeeans while opening doors for small developers, many of whom are people of color, to thrive in an industry historically skewed against them. We are in a housing crisis. We must remove barriers to providing safe, affordable housing for all.”

“The feedback gathered from stakeholders and residents is a pivotal component of the Growing MKE initiative,” Amber Miller, Assoc. State Director of Outreach for AARP WI, said. “Introducing new housing options that could allow for more walkable communities and enhance transit accessibility, while also offering quality, affordable housing for all Milwaukee residents, including our growing aging community. We’re excited about the progress made towards this Draft Plan.”

The draft of the Growing MKE Plan is available on the project website. Public comments are being accepted online, at upcoming public open houses, and during office hours through May 29. Dates and times of engagement opportunities are available online: engage.milwaukee.gov/growingmke.

The Growing MKE Plan will be presented to the City Plan Commission and the City of Milwaukee Common Council this summer for adoption as part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan.

After the adoption of the Growing MKE Comprehensive Plan amendment, DCD staff will begin to prepare updates to the zoning code to implement the recommendations of Growing MKE for consideration by the Common Council. Future Common Council action would be required to enact any updates to the City’s zoning code.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. While it is believed to be reliable, Urban Milwaukee does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.

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