Zoning code change clears way for companyto consolidate operations at former motorcycle dealership
It was a simple matter of putting first things first last week when the Saukville Village Board considered a zoning code change that will allow light manufacturing as a conditional use in business districts.
Although the change was recommended by the Plan Commission largely in response to a request by a Cedarburg company to move into a vacant retail building formerly used as a motorcycle dealership, a public hearing on the code change focused on broadening areas in the village where manufacturing would be allowed.
The hearing, held in conjunction with the board meeting, was attended only by representatives of Energenecs, the company looking to relocate to the village, and Virgil Kreder, owner of the building on the east end of Milan Drive that formerly housed Corse Super Bikes.
Nancy Mueller of Energenecs told village officials the company has an option to purchase the former dealership.
Ultimately, the company would like to consolidate its current operations in Cedarburg and Oostburg at the Saukville location. That would bring about 38 employees to the village.
The former garage area of the building would be used for assembly of control panels used by the municipal water and wastewater industries. The remainder of the building would be used for office space.
Although Energenecs has engineers on staff, most of the controls they install are off-the-shelf components.
Among the company’s clients are the villages of Belgium and Oostburg and the cities of Sheboygan, La Crosse and Janesville.
Although company officials said the amount of manufacturing that would be done at the facility would be minimal, Village Administrator Dawn Wagner said even that amount of production work would not be allowed under the old wording of the zoning code for the B-4 business district.
That problem was addressed after the Village Board unanimously approved to wording change.
Under the revised code, light manufacturing and assembly will be allowed as a conditional use for properties with business zoning “when the Plan Commission determines that the activity will directly support the business district and can be integrated into the overall plan for the business district.”
To that point, Kreder said local businesses and restaurants would benefit by having the influx of new customers that would come when Energenecs employees relocate into the village.
He said the dealership building has been vacant since 2009.
“The power sports business has seen a real downturn and it is not feasible to think we are going to find another dealer to move into this building,” Kreder said.
In the years since the motorcycle dealership closed, there has been minimal interest in the building, including inquiries from a church and museum, he said. However, no offers to purchase the building were ever made.
Trustees expressed no concerns about expanding the areas where light manufacturing may be considered, especially since conditional-use requests remain subject to full review by the Plan Commission.
When the commission initially learned about the Energenecs plan, Village President Barb Dickmann spoke enthusiastically about the prospect of the company moving to the village.
“I would consider this a clean industry without any objectionable by-products,” Dickmann said.
After trustees approved the zoning code change, she turned to the Energenecs representatives and said, “That’s step one.”