Discussion of the proposed apartment development at the St. Francis Borgia site has always brought forth opponents to meetings, but the Cedarburg Planning Commission meeting on Monday, March 6, brought something new to the fold.
For the first time since the HSI Properties-developed apartment was proposed last November, a considerable number of citizens in attendance at the meeting voiced their support for the project.
Members of St. Francis Borgia Church and other supporters arrived with "Vote Yes" signs in contrast with the "Vote No" signs that have become prevalent in the vicinity of the development site near Hamilton Road and Washington Avenue.
The Rev. Tom Eichenberger, pastor of St. Francis Borgia Church, urged parishioners in that week's church newsletter to attend the plan commission meeting to support the development, describing attendance as "Lenten penance."
"The opposition is small, but well-organized and passionate. But their reasons against the apartment development project have been rather personal and not all that convincing," said Eichenberger in his newsletter.
Most of the meeting was spent on citizen comments from both sides, including longtime outspoken opponent Aaron Schultz, who voiced his concerns about density on the school site and the impact on parking for the church.
Plan commission member John Czarnecki, who also sits on the common council, was surprised by the number of supporters in attendance.
"It's definitely hard to get proponents to come out to these meetings. I think it takes some courage to get up and voice your support of this project, especially when so many people have been against it," said Czarnecki.
The plan commission ultimately recommended the newly proposed plans to the common council, which will meet on Monday, March 13, following a public hearing that will be held in the Community Center gym in order to accommodate what is expected to be a large audience.