Neighbors' prayers are answered with latest development plan in Greenfield

Homes are proposed for site where Mormon church was considered

July 16, 2013

Greenfield — Most neighbors are breathing a sigh of relief now that homes, instead of a church, will likely be built at 35th Street and Barnard Avenue.

Mainly due to fears of increased traffic congestion, the Common Council two years ago narrowly voted down a land-use change that would have allowed the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to build a 500-person sanctuary on the southeast corner of that intersection.

At the time, some supporters suggested that a church was better than letting the land, which has been vacant a long time, sit idle. But, following the city's refusal, the Mormon congregation bought a portion of Arlington Cemetery in the city for a new facility there.

Homeward bound

Meanwhile, a developer has proposed single-family homes for 35th and Barnard, which is already zoned for residential use.

Mayor Michael Neitzke was pleased that the city held out for homes.

"Single family homes are the right thing there, and the church found a home in the city," he said. "The city is trying to do the right thing in the right places."

"We all are happy that the church is not (going to be) here," said neighbor Geri Ekstrom, who was among the neighbors speaking against the church in 2011.

Neighbors don't like the nine-home proposal, either, she said, but it's better than a church. What they would really like is for the 4.2 acres to remain vacant and a place for wildlife, she said.

Developer's second try

Ironically, Gerry Klamrowski, the developer on this proposed nine-home project, presented a plan to build nine homes there in 2008. After that effort fell through, there were no development proposals for the land until the Mormon church expressed interest in 2011.

Klamrowski has received preliminary plat approval but still needs to go through the approval process involving the Plan Commission and Common Council.

The only difference in the 2008 and the 2013 plans is the stormwater pond in the 2013 proposal, said Chuck Erickson, director of economic development and planning. The pond addition meant that some of the lots would be a bit smaller, he said, but all still would conform to city requirements for square footage and frontage.

The stormwater pond would catch runoff from roofs and driveways and release the water no faster than water drains now, Erickson said.

Also, a frontage road along 35th Street would be extended for the three homes proposed for 35th Street. That would eliminate the need for three driveways all entering 35th Street.

Those three homes would be built first, along with the stormwater pond and frontage road, Erickson said. Funds from that first phase would help pay for the other six in the next phase. Those six proposed homes would be built on 34th Street around a cul-de-sac.

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