Council approves builder’s concept
Senior duplexes planned in Weyauwega
By Angie Landsverk
A plan to build senior living duplexes on four lots in Weyauwega’s Mill Pond Circle subdivision took another step forward recently.
When the Weyauwega Common Council met last month, it approved Sweetwood Builder’s zero-lot-line concept.
“The next step is an attached, single-family zoning ordinance,” said Leon Church, owner of Sweetwood Builders.
Zero-lot-line housing is built close to a property line.
There are typically side yard requirements on each side of a property, he said.
With zero-lot-line housing projects, two buildings touch at some point, Church explained.
He said each unit has a yard on one of its sides instead of having yards on both sides of the property.
Each occupant owns one lot and the unit sitting on it.
Attaching buildings together saves thousands of dollars on lumber costs and gets a higher density on the property, Church said.
He expects the two-bedroom, two-bathroom units to come in for just under $200,000.
Sweethood’s plan is to construct them on lots 1, 2, 3 and 27.
The one-level duplexes will be handicap accessible with zero steps.
This is an area of the subdivision where other duplexes are already located.
“My hope would be that we would be able to deed the property by the first of June,” Church said when asked about the project timeline.
Church said there is a demand in Weyauwega for this type of housing.
“We probably have 15 people right now on a waiting list wanting information,” he said regarding interest in the senior living project.
Church said they just did their first plan and sent it to a few people who are interested in the concept.
“We are getting a lot of phone calls,” he said. “It shows there is a market there.”
Sweetwood Builders has a developer’s agreement with the city of Weyauwega, and has constructed several homes in the subdivision with plans to build more.
Church said that during their Parade of Homes the last couple of years, they received a lot of questions about whether they were going to do any type of attached housing.
He noted the apartments and duplexes in the subdivision typically have no vacancies.
Church proposed the senior living idea to City Administrator Jeremy Schroeder in January.
In his letter, Church noted the number of inquiries Sweetwood Builders was getting from retirees and those preparing to retire.
Under the developer’s agreement Sweetwood Builders entered into with the city a couple years ago, it bought lots 3, 14, 22 and 23 from the city for $1 each.
There are houses on some of those lots.
The timeline for the phase related to developing them was ending.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the developer’s ability to reach the original goals, Schroeder previously noted.
Last month, the council agreed to extend and amend the agreement.
The amendment added lots 1, 2 and 27 to the agreement.
Sweetwood Builders is to purchase those lots for $1 each, the same price under the original agreement with the city.
With the addition of those three lots, the council also agreed to extend the developer’s agreement another two years.
The extension applies to the development and occupancy of lots 1, 2, 3, 22 and 27.
Schroeder said the senior living duplex project is a new concept for the city.
Sweetwood Builder’s request to construct zero-lot-line housing went before the city’s Plan Commission last month as well.
Plan Commission members had questions about the layout and what “zero lot line” meant, Schroeder said.
He said Sweetwood has proposed that each unit will range from 1,000 to 1,600 square feet.
Mill Pond Circle’s covenants call for a minimum of 1,200 square feet for ranch duplexes and 1,400 square feet per side for two-story duplexes with 700 square fee on the first floor, Schroeder explained.
He said lots 1, 2 and 3 are being allowed to have square foot minimums of 200 square feet less than the 1,200-square-foot minimum for ranch duplexes.
The city’s Plan Commission recommended approval of the request prior to it going before the council.
Church started Sweetwood Builders in 1984, and has done a number of condominium units in the Fox Cities.
This type of project is common in many Wisconsin cities, he said.
Church wanted to find something comparable in size for the city of Weyauwega to consider.
He said the people who buy the units in Mill Pond Circle will be part of the homeowner’s association.
That gives them the ability to do such things as contract for snow removal, he said.
For those who like to head south for part of the winter, they will know someone is looking out for their property, Church said.
He is amazed by the number of people contacting them about the project.
“I think it will just fill a need there,” Church said.
Church said the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in many people tending to focus more on their homes and homelife.
He thinks people realized how important it is to have their home be the center of family life.
Sweetwood Builders constructed three houses in the Mill Pond Circle last year, he said.
“We will continue building out the houses,” Church said.