MILWAUKEE – Growing MKE is a city initiative to redesign zoning laws in Milwaukee. On Monday night, it held a public information meeting at the Good Hope Library so citizens could voice concerns and ask questions.
Sam Leichtling is the Milwaukee City Planning Manager, and says there is a desire for a change in the layout of neighborhoods.
“We’ve heard from neighbors across the city, say they want walkable, urban neighborhoods and mixed use developments,” said Leichtling. “And we think there is ways that we can update the zoning code so we can support that.
A ‘mixed-use development’ is a piece of property that has residential, commercial and multiple other capabilities. Implementing these could result in a different layout than having separate buildings for apartments, grocery stores, etc.
Moe Simmons is a real estate agent, and says she liked the proposals from Growing MKE and the growth they could bring
“Changing up the zoning so you can have single-family houses where typically multi-family houses were,” said Simmons. “It’s going to allow access to more units.”
The initiative comes at a time where Milwaukee is facing an issue of population decline. 2022 was the second year in a row that Milwaukee lost population, while Mayor Cavalier Johnson has a goal of 1 million residents within the city.
The city is also attempting to increase walkability and use of public transportation, while decreasing the use of cars in the city. Leichtling explains Growing MKE’s plan with transportation, and its affects on climate.
“Earlier this year, the city of Milwaukee adopted a Climate and Equity Plan….. we know that walkable neighborhoods are the most environmentally sustainable and environmentally friendly,” explained Leightling. “The Climate and Equity plan had a goal of reducing the amount of miles travelled by car per person. We know one way to do that is to make it easier for people to walk to meet some of their daily needs in their neighborhoods.”
Enrique Crespo says he would like to see greater walkability in Milwaukee.
“I would say that true freedom is the ability to drive, take your bike or walk and have access to the stores you want that are close by,” said Crespo
The overall goal of Growing MKE is a proposed amendment in the Citywide Policy Plan and updates to the City’s Zoning Code. The next two public information meetings are at 2:30 PM, on December 7th at Bay View Library and at 10 AM, on Saturday December 9th at Villard Square Library.
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