OAK CREEK - The city's plan commission has backed a measure that links the communities surrounding General Mitchell International Airport through a unified plan for the development of the area in and around the airport.

The Milwaukee Aerotropolis Development Plan now heads to the Oak Creek Common Council for final consideration locally, though other communities – including St. Francis, Cudahy, and possibly South Milwaukee – will also have a say in the plan.

Doug Seymour, Oak Creek's director of community development who is on the board of Milwaukee Gateway Aerotropolis Corporation, presented an overview of the plan during the March 28 plan commission meeting.

Key coordination

The goal, Seymour said, is to coordinate efforts to grow the area in a thoughtful way. The plan is designed to prevent all communities from doing the same thing, such as approving hotel developments. Rather, it's designed to have developments work off each other in the area near Mitchell Field.

Seymour said the approach is based off "how to best promote to foster economic development." It's also a step toward the city amending its comprehensive plan, one of the most important tools in the effort. He noted the Milwaukee Aerotropolis Development Plan itself has no force of law.

"It's a suggestion," he said. "This is more of an intent to work together."

Some of the main areas on which the plan focuses include the Layton Town Center, the area around Layton and Lake Parkway, the Milwaukee South Industrial area, the 13th and 27th Street area, Oakwood Road, and Loomis Road.

Commercial appeal

The general trend showed many areas becoming more commercial, rather than their former uses as industrial or residential properties.

One area mentioned specifically was the roundabout on College Avenue. Originally it was designed to incorporate a post office development, which was subsequently canceled. The current plan envisions it as mostly industrial with the possibility for mixed use or residential.

Additionally, the area around Rawson and Howell Avenues was originally planned as an office space but will now likely be more industrial or commercial development. (Seymour noted that the county didn't want it to be office space due to the noise at the airport.)

Seymour also pointed out how residential use was recommended on Drexel Avenue near the planned Ikea development off Interstate 94. The area around Rawson Avenue and 13th Street would be more commercial, though it is currently planned industrial.

Seymour said Milwaukee County is also working to open more lands for development than were previously available.

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