The Community Affairs Committee took action on the Life Sciences District Master Plan by making a recommendation to the Common Council. The discussion about this area had previously been on hold. Watch the discussion online. Note that the Life Sciences discussion starts at about 1 hour, 24 minutes.
The Life Sciences District Master Plan encompasses 1,200 acres and offers ideas and guidance for the areas surrounding Interstate 41, Mayfair Road from Center Street to Blue Mound Road, and Watertown Plank Road from Mayfair Road to the historic Village. Most of this land is currently and has been historically zoned to support County institutional use for medical and supportive services.
At the Community Affairs Committee meeting on June 26 at 7:30 p.m., as requested by Alderman Stippich, there will be a discussion about the Wauwatosa Life Sciences District northeast planning area, that includes the area known as County Grounds/Sanctuary Woods.  The discussion will center around removing the Wauwatosa Life Sciences District Master Plan from its current “hold” status and providing direction to Development Department staff to:

  • Modify the portion of the plan that relates to the Northeast Quadrant that identifies the primary future land use for this area as Special Purpose District - Conservation;
  • Finalize the balance of the plan to appropriately reference the Northeast Quadrant; and
  • Promptly introduce the final Wauwatosa Life Sciences District Master Plan to the City’s Plan Commission for review.

On May 9, 2017 the Community Affairs Committee placed the Life Sciences District Master Plan on hold with the following conditions: 

  1. A natural resources report from SEWRPC. This report was received in October 2017. Condition met.
  2. Zoning proposal(s) by Milwaukee County for land that they own within the County Grounds. Proposals were submitted in 2017 and held by the Plan Commission due to several reasons. Full details are available in our Meeting Portal. Milwaukee County has been asked to resubmit proposals that address the identified deficiencies. Condition met when Milwaukee County submitted the proposal(s). The items were held by Plan Commission on November 13, 2017 pending correction and resubmission by Milwaukee County.
  3. A report from Milwaukee County on impediments to development at UWM Innovation Campus and the Research Park. Report received June 2017. Condition met.
  4. Action by Milwaukee County to preserve in perpetuity the land commonly known as County Grounds and Sanctuary Woods. Condition not met.
  5. Milwaukee County to work with the Wisconsin DNR to preserve their forest land west and north of Swan Boulevard in perpetuity. Report received September 2017. Condition met.
When all conditions are met or by vote of the Community Affairs Committee, the item will be placed on a Community Affairs Committee agenda. 


About the Life Sciences District

This area has seen significant growth over the past 20 years. This growth mirrors many national trends:

  • growth in academic medical centers (MRMC)
  •  creation of major retail nodes (Mayfair and Burleigh Triangle)
  • demands for housing
  • demands for recreation
  • demands for access

The Life Sciences District is home to high-quality medical care, quality employment opportunities, desirable and diverse housing and a one-of-a-kind natural environment. The Life Sciences District Master Plan is a long term strategy for development of the above area over a 20 – 30 year period.


  • Improve traffic and circulation
  • Improve mutual trust and benefits
  • Design integrated streets and buildings
  • Provide housing and mixed-use development
  • Protect & enhance existing green/environmental spaces and create shared public spaces


This effort is a unique public-private collaboration with Milwaukee County, the City of Wauwatosa and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center. The draft plan concept outlines the balance of three key principles:

  • Natural Areas/Balanced Environment: The plan provides enhanced protections for about 595 acres of green space and natural areas, including about 40 acres north of Watertown Plank Road that are currently zoned for medical use development. There are currently insufficient funds to preserve and maintain these areas due to limited budgets at all levels of government. Smart, responsible change, as recommended in the master plan concept, will foster protection, maintenance and enhancements of the natural environment and critical species habitat.
  • Economics/Balanced Development: This plan maximizes the potential to generate high-quality, professional jobs and add property value by identifying the land that could most efficiently deliver both to the citizens of Wauwatosa and Milwaukee County through mixed-use development. It also looks at ways to reduce traffic congestion and reduce dependence on autos. Property taxes generated by new mixed-use development can create revenue needed to protect natural and historic community features.
  • Social Equity/Balanced Equity: Natural areas should not be exclusively enjoyed by a few, but open and accessible to everyone, including seniors and those with special needs. This plan proposes a mix of development types and use and would also design a much higher level of access to green spaces for people of all abilities.

Questions regarding the plan or the planning process can be emailed to Paulette Enders, Development Director at

Important Documents

*This is our most recent version of the Life Sciences District Master Plan. It does not include the changes that have been made to date at the public meetings outlined below. To see these changes, review the April 6, 2017 Power Point Presentation. 

Timeline of Past Public Meetings

  • Public Open House on May 17, 2016
  • Committee of the Whole on January 17, 2017
  • Public Open House on February 7, 2017
  • Online Town Hall/Public Comment in February 2017
  • Public Open House on April 6, 2017
  • Online Town Hall/Public Comment in April 2017
  • Committee of the Whole on May 2, 2017
  • Community Affairs Committee on May 9, 2017
  • Community Affairs Committee March 13, 2018

Thank you for caring so deeply about Wauwatosa and for your participation in this process. Updates about the proposed Life Sciences District Master Plan will continue to be shared here.