Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 08 April 2015 20:37
Evaluation includes inventory of businesses and their current zoning
A three-person ad hoc committee appointed by Saukville Town Chairman Don Hamm is going through the laborious process of scrutinizing the zoning code and looking for situations where conditional-use permits might be considered.
The process began last month, when Mike Farina told the Plan Commission he has an option to purchase a property at 3335 Hwy. 33 that he hopes to convert into a milling operation for his cabinetmaking business.
Despite a long history of being used for manufacturing, commission members learned the property does not have business zoning and no conditional-use exemptions are currently possible.
Without any clear options available, the ad hoc committee was formed to study what commercial uses are allowed in the town, and what conditional-use allowances might make sense.
Supr. Mike Denzien, Town Clerk Naomi Bruecker and town resident Chris Ford were named to the committee.
Among the first tasks of the panel was identifying the more than 100 businesses in the town and their current zoning.
The panel is also studying the town’s zoning code and which business uses are listed as permitted or conditional.
As the committee delved into the kind of restrictions that could be placed on a business seeking Plan Commission approval — such as lighting, signage and noise — officials conceded the biggest problem is enforcement.
As of this month, the town will no longer have a constable.
“That is an issue,” said Denzien, chairman of the committee.
Ford said the existing code shows a strong preference for farming-related uses, but offers little leeway for commercial development.
“It looks like everything that is agriculture-related is allowed,” he said.
“When you are talking about businesses, you are talking about only allowing ones that could fit in stone-foundation, 1930s buildings. The only thing we want to see outside is cute animals.”
Denzien said any recommended changes to the zoning code should consider the desire of town residents to avoid large commercial uses.
The committee is expected to make its recommendations to the Plan Commission this spring, with the Town Board making any final changes to the zoning ordinance.