Stonewood Village and the Siepmann farmhouse – what a mess.

Alderman Bob Reddin sent this to constituents:

Neighbors –

I just wanted to take a moment to update you on council developments regarding the Stonewood Village site. As many of you know, a developer approached the city several months ago with a plan to re-develop the struggling Stonewood Village site. That plan included the demolition of the old Seipmann farmhouse. While I was disappointed the farmhouse would be destroyed, I was happy with the overall development, which would have kept in place the “charm” that is so much a part of the site.

The plan was set to come to a vote in May, when members of the historic society made a last minute push to delay the vote. During the time of the delay, alderwoman Lisa Mellone (whose mother in law is part of the historic society) approached the developer about a different design to the plans that would preserve the farmhouse. Approval of that plan will require a special variance from the Board of Zoning Appeals. I have no doubt that Alderwoman Mellone was trying to do what she felt was best. Unfortunately, what I fear this will lead to is a much more heavily developed Stonewood Village site. Developers who are willing to make concessions in how they plan to build out a site will expect something in return for those concessions – and often times that means higher density – either bigger or more buildings than would typically be allowed.

I argued against the proposed change at last night’s council meeting, as I greatly prefer the original plan. I believe most of you agree with me that we need to keep the “charm” of the site, and that the last thing we want is more or bigger buildings. Unfortunately, I lost the debate last night. Only Alderman Nelson and Alderman Sutton voted with me. The new plan will now go to the Board of Zoning Appeals for a variance that would move them one step closer to building the “new” plan which “saves” the farmhouse.

I want all of you to understand – I am not against “saving” old buildings that have some level of historic value. However, I am quite certain that if the council eventually approves the plan to “save” the farmhouse, the developer will expect some concessions in return….and those concessions will almost certainly include either bigger buildings or more buildings on the site….in other words the higher density that we don’t want on that site. Mayor Speaker all but conceded that if this plan is approved the city would need to make certain concessions in the future during last week’s Plan Commission meeting, and he reiterated those statements last night on the council floor.

The discussion is not over – the Board of Zoning Appeals could deny the variance. And even if the variance is granted, the new plan needs to be approved by the Plan Commission and the Council. But based on what I saw last night, I would not expect the council to block the new plan if it gets that far.

I suspect the media will pick up on this story as it moves forward, and I wanted all of you to understand the issue, and the reason for my position. If you have questions or would like greater clarification on this issue, please feel free to contact me.


Let me express EMPHATICALLY this project can be accomplished without extra density. When I was an alderman, we successfully managed the SE corner of Brookfield and Capitol without extra density. We did change setbacks to manage the building arrangement better to the existing housing in that area.

Bob simply needs to insert himself and make sure there’s no extra density. While he’s talking to the developer, he can apologize again for how poorly the Mayor and planner Dan Ertl has handled this mess.