While its neighbor on three sides has been quite busy with multifamily housing projects in recent years, the village of Elm Grove is in the process of looking at its first proposal in over a decade.

Plans for a new apartment project to be developed by Wauwatosa-based Wangard Partners would bring five multifamily buildings — a total of 182 units — to 13420 Watertown Plank Road.

The buildings would range in height from two stories to four stories, which would exceed the maximum height allowed in Elm Grove.

However, in a letter to Village Manager Dave De Angelis and Zoning and Planning Administrator Casey Griffiths, Wangard President Wayne Wiertzema says that the project has been planned to limit the effect of the four-story buildings.

"While this height may exceed the maximum height in Elm Grove, we have been sensitive to the positioning of a four-story building within our plans," the developer said.

In its letter, Wangard noted that the development's pair of three-story buildings will be closest to Elm Grove Road while its four-story structures will be set back.

"The two four-story buildings are set back farther from Elm Grove Road to allow for a gradual change in height to better fit the profile of Elm Grove," Wangard said.

The project will include six town home units and 176 apartments.

In Brookfield, next door, nearly 500 multifamily housing units have been approved in the last two years; however, De Angelis says that Elm Grove isn't likely to see a similar trend.

"We haven't built any for the last 14 years," De Angelis said. "We have very little open space. I don't see us exploding with apartment buildings."

At Monday's meeting of the Elm Grove plan commission, officials discussed a number of issues at length about the project, including concerns about the size of the buildings and traffic impacts and the mentioning of tax incremental financing funds by Wangard.

Wangard said in the letter that TIF funds are needed for such things as demolition, stormwater management infrastructure, poor soils, environmental remediation and utility extensions.

No action was taken at Monday's meeting and De Angelis says that he expects the project to be vetted considerably in the months to come.

"It's definitely a measured approach," De Angelis said. "We need to review all the comments and what's going on. It's a deliberative process."

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