Fort Atkinson holds second zoning update meeting

Posted by on Feb 28, 2020 in News | 0 comments

Fort Atkinson holds second zoning update meeting

FORT ATKINSON, WISC. (Excerpts from dailyunion.com) – At a second public meeting to discuss Fort Atkinson’s proposed new zoning ordinance, debate spanned from requiring new downtown businesses to add parking to preventing single-family homes from building garages in front of the house.

For more than two and a half hours, city staff, council members, plan commissioners and members of the public went back and forth on the proposed regulations that will dictate the rules for new buildings in Fort Atkinson.

The meeting delved deep into some of the issues and gave ample input on the draft, according to Ben Rohr, an associate planner with Vandewalle and Associates, the consulting firm tasked with writing the draft.

While Rohr said the disagreements stayed respectful, there were times it was clear a consensus was not going to be reached.

One of those times came when the discussion moved to allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in the code. An accessory dwelling unit is a second structure on a lot that the owners could rent out, such as an apartment over a detached garage.

The upside of allowing ADUs is it can help with the city’s lack of housing, according to Mike Slavney, principal planner on the project.

“This is the low-hanging fruit for affordable housing,” Slavney said. “Theoretically, with every single-family home, you can get another unit, which is a tremendous supply of affordable housing.”

Affordable housing is one of the largest issues currently facing Fort Atkinson. A 2019 report by the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater found Fort Atkinson has a housing shortage that only will grow worse. The problem exists for single- and multi-family units.

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