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City says yes to Harbour Lights, phase one PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 15:33

Port commission approves start of downtown project that calls for rehabilitation of former bank building

    The Port Washington Plan Commission last week gave the green light to the first phase of Gertjan van den Broek’s proposed Harbour Lights development, which would rehabilitate the former M&I Bank building on Franklin Street in downtown.

    Commission members unanimously approved the developer’s plan to raze the former bank vault, drive-through and north vestibule.

    They also approved van den Broek’s  plan to renovate the facade of the former bank, which will house a commercial tenant on the first floor and either an office or condominium on the second floor.

    “We’re fairly certain once we approve the razing the project is going to move forward?” commission member Amanda Williams asked.

    Van den Broek said that while he was required to get permission for the razing now, he won’t tear down the structures until he’s ready to begin work on the second phase of the project.

    That second phase involves renovations to the Harry’s restaurant building and construction of the new structure behind and between the restaurant and bank buildings, necessitating removal of the vault, vestibule and drive-through, he said.

    The entire project, which would create five commercial spaces and as many as 13 residential units in the buildings, is expected to be valued at more than $6 million.

    Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development, noted that van den Broek would not have needed the commission’s approval had it not been for earlier plans by another development group, Port Harbor Investments, to raze the bank building.

    Officials concerned about the idea of tearing down a historic downtown building changed the city’s ordinance to require developers to obtain a certificate of appropriateness from the Plan Commission if they want to raze a historic building or one listed in a survey of historic structures in the city, Tetzlaff said.

    “This will be the first proposal to come under the new ordinance,” he said.

    Tetzlaff also noted that the city approved the concept plan for Harbour Lights “knowing these things were going to be gone.”

    The historical character of the building and its architecture won’t be impacted by the change, he added.

    Van den Broek’s plan for the facade calls for the existing front windows and entryway to be cleaned up, Tetzlaff said. Lighting will be installed to accent the pillars and facade, he said.

    The bank alarm will be restored and an ornate sign bracket added, Tetzlaff said.

    The back windows will be bricked up, he said, because the second phase of the project will wrap around the building, blocking them from view.

    Work on the first phase of the Harbour Lights project, which deals strictly with renovations to the bank building, is expected to begin early next year, van den Broek said.

    The Common Council recently agreed to apply for a $250,000 loan from the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands to help finance this portion of the project.Daily-Press

    The loan is part of a $1.75 million development incentive package the city approved earlier this year for the project.

    Van den Broek needs to pre-sell 60% of the condominium units to proceed with the second phase of the project. He only needs to sell one more unit to reach that goal, he said last week.


 
Local hunters match last year’s deer harvest total PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by CAROL POMEDAY   
Wednesday, 26 November 2014 15:30

County numbers buck statewide 18.5% decrease attributed to harsh winter

    The number of deer registered statewide — 90,281 — was down 18.5% from last year and the lowest during the opening weekend of the gun deer season in at least 12 years, according to Department of Natural Resources records.

    But Ozaukee County hunters bucked that trend by registering almost the same number of deer as last year. This year, 176 deer — 82 bucks and 94 antlerless deer — were registered opening weekend. Last year, 85 bucks and 89 antlerless deer were registered for a total174 deer.

    Statewide, 41,355 antlerless deer were registered, down 27% from last year, and 48,926 bucks, a decrease of 9%.hunting

    Wildlife officials said last year’s harsh winter took its toll on the deer population, particularly in northern Wisconsin, where deer registrations were down 32% from 2013. The southern district, which includes Ozaukee County, was down 19%.

    No hunting accidents were reported opening weekend, according to the DNR. In the last 10 years, there were hunting accidents the first weekend every year but 2010.

    “We want to keep it that way,” Department of Natural Resources Warden Anthony Young, who oversees Ozaukee County, said. “We want to keep it safe and accident-free. That’s the most important thing.”

    The gun deer season, which started Saturday, Nov. 22, and ends in most parts of the state on Sunday, Nov. 30, will continue through Wednesday, Dec. 10, for most of Ozaukee County, which is in the metro-Milwaukee zone.

    The season was extended in all metro zones and is five days shorter than last year. The area in the Town of Fredonia north of Highway A and west of Highway 57 is not in the metro zone, so the gun season will end there this Sunday.

    Young said he’s been busy investigating baiting and tree stand violations in the county.

    Tree stands are not allowed overnight on any federal or state public land, including Harrington Beach State Park and the Cedarburg Bog.

    “The Cedarburg Bog is a big property, and I don’t presume to know where all the illegal stands are there,” Young said.

    To lure deer only two gallons of food is allowed at a site.

    “Two gallons isn’t much food,” Young said. “I carry a two-gallon, zipper-lock plastic bag with me, and if I can’t fit it all in, I issue a citation. The illegal ones I saw had at least double that.”

 
Deer season rule changes await hunters PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by CAROL POMEDAY   
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 19:26

New regulations prompt cautions from state officials as gun hunt starts Nov. 22

    The use of high-powered rifles was allowed for the first time last year to hunt deer throughout the state and did not pose a problem in Ozaukee County, Department of Natural Resources Game Warden Tony Young said.

    He doesn’t expect it to be a problem this year, either.

    The gun deer season opens 30 minutes before sunrise Saturday, Nov. 22, and will continue through most of Ozaukee County until 20 minutes after sunset on Wednesday, Dec. 10. That’s twice as long as most of the state.

    Ozaukee County — except an area north of Highway A and west of Highway 57 — is in the metro-Milwaukee zone and all metro zones have the extended season. Last year, the season went until Dec. 15, so it is five days shorter this year.

    The rest of the state and the northwest corner of Ozaukee County have a nine-day gun season that ends Sunday, Nov. 30.

    Because there are quite a few changes governing hunting this year, Young advises all hunters to read the 2014 deer hunting regulations they received with their hunting licenses.

    “A lot of the wording has changed so it’s difficult to compare to previous years,” Young said.

    A big change is that deer management zones have changed and boundaries are now mostly by counties. Ozaukee County is in the Southern Farmland Zone.

    Bonus buck opportunities for hunters who bagged a buck last year or this year  are available only in the Southern Farmland District. That perk may change in 2015.          

 Ozaukee County is the only county in the southern zone where baiting and feeding deer is allowed. Baiting and feeding deer are not allowed within 10 miles of a district where chronic wasting disease has been found in deer.

    All land owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is open for hunting as posted, but most private land is posted and hunters must have the owner’s permission.

    Hunting is also allowed in Lion’s Den Gorge in the Town of Grafton. A lottery system was used to issue permits to 10 gun hunters. The county-owned park is closed to the public during the gun hunt season, However, bow hunters are allowed in the park through Jan. 31.

    Only muzzleloaders, bows and crossbows are allowed in Harrington Beach State Park in the Town of Belgium.

    Hunters are only allowed in designated areas of the park, Young said.

    “Theoretically, hunters will be in one area and people walking their dogs in the park will be in a separate area,” Young said. “It’s up to the hunters to know where they’re not allowed.”

    Managed forest land and volunteer public access properties are also open for deer hunting. Those sites are listed on the DNR website.

    A permit is required to hunt on land owned by the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust. This year, site-specific permits were issued to all 57 hunters who applied.

    “We limit the number of hunters on the sites because we want it to be an enjoyable experience and we want them to be successful,” said Mike Hoffer, stewardship director for the Land Trust. “That can’t happen if there are too many hunters.”

    Only bow hunters are allowed at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve in the Town of Belgium, Cedarburg Environmental Study Area in the Town of Cedarburg, Kratzsch Conservancy in Newburg and Fellenz Woods and Riverbend Conservancy, both in eastern Washington County.

    Hunting with guns, bows and crossbows is allowed at Huiras Lake in the Town of Fredonia and on the Wendt property in Kewaskum. Both areas are surrounded by federal and state land open to gun hunters.

    “We would be an island where they couldn’t shoot and that doesn’t make sense,” Hoffer said.

    Public hunting will not be allowed in Amsterdam Dunes this year, but a few hunters were given permission to hunt, Sheboygan County Planning and Conservation Director Aaron Brault said.

    Young said he’s been following up on complaints about illegal baiting and checking where deer stands are located.

    The most important thing, he said, is to hunt safely.

    “If there is an accident, it’s because one  of the four basic rules of gun safety was ignored,” Young said.

    “We used the acronym TAB-K ­— Treat every firearm like it’s loaded. Always point the muzzle in a safe direction. Be certain of your target and what’s beyond it. Keep your finger outside the trigger guard until ready to shoot.”


 
Super pass proposed for all-pools access PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 19 November 2014 19:19

    Although the bone-chilling weather makes it hard to think about lounging around a pool, the Port Washington Parks and Recreation Department last week agreed to offer season pass-holders the option of buying an “Ozaukee super pass” that would allow them to visit any municipal outdoor pool in the county next summer.

    Grafton Parks and Recreation Director John Safstrom has recommended approval of the super pass, and his board was expected to act on the proposal Wednesday, Nov. 19.

    The Cedarburg and Mequon park boards  are also expected to act on the concept by the end of the year.

    Similar to the current reciprocity agreement between the Port and Grafton outdoor pools, the proposed super pass would allow residents to use other municipal pools.

    However, unlike the current reciprocity agreement, residents would pay for that privilege above and beyond their season passes.

    “They still have to be season pass holders,” Port Parks and Recreation Director Charlie Imig said. “This is an add on.”

    But it’s one he’s betting people will purchase.

    “It affords people more opportunities,” Imig said. “I’m really excited about it. If it’s 60 degrees here in Port, we’re closed, but a lot of those times it’s warmer in Grafton and Cedarburg and their pools are open. I think people would say, ‘Let’s go to one of those pools’ on those days.

    “Or if they go to the Cedarburg pool and it’s really crowded there, they might come to the Port pool instead.”

    The super-pass plan is patterned on a similar pass offered by six communities in northeast Johnson County, Kan., Imig said.

    It calls for people buying season passes to be offered the opportunity to add the Ozaukee super pass, a sticker that would be placed on their season passes.

    The super-pass fee for residents would be $15 per individual and $30 for a family, and for non-residents would be $25 and $45, respectively, Imig said.

    Each municipality would retain half the fees they collect for the super pass, he said. The remaining money would be placed in a pot that would be divided among the communities based on the actual super-pass use at their pool.

    Under the reciprocity agreement between Port and Grafton, there was no cost sharing for people who went to the other community’s pool. The thought, Imig said, was that increased concessions would make up for any lost entrance fees.
 
  Traditionally, more Grafton residents have taken advantage of the agreement than Port residents, Imig said.Daily-Press

    In 2013, he said, 936 Grafton residents spent time at the Port pool while 220 Port residents went to the Grafton pool.

    “Our season pass holders have always appreciated the opportunity to go to the Grafton pool,” Imig said. “This extends that option to the other outdoor pools in the county.

    “I think there’ll be interest in it. If there isn’t, there’s really nothing lost. There’s really no added cost to any one community.”



 
Port Town Board OKs budget after no-show hearing PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by Ozaukee Press   
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 20:27

Town of Port Washington residents apparently are happy with the way officials are running the township because no one attended Monday’s public hearing on the 2015 budget.

    The Town Board unanimously approved a $446,227 tax levy to support a $730,181 budget. The levy is $4,800 more than last year, the maximum allowed by state law, Clerk Jennifer Schlenvogt said.

    The town’s 2014 tax rate will be $2.33 per $1,000 assessed valuation. Last year’s rate was $2.17.

    The owner of a home valued at $200,000 will pay $4,666 to support the budget. The town was recently reassessed so the tax impact will depend on how much a taxpayer’s property increased or decreased in value.Daily-Press

    The 2015 expenditures are almost 19% higher than this year because $159,420 budgeted for capital outlay was not used last year in anticipation of undertaking a $300,000 road project next year. The money  will be used to improve either Green Bay Road or the Highland Drive bridge.

    The budget calls for using $178,000 from the $464,000 fund balance. That will leave $286,000 in the fund balance, which the town’s auditor recommended be $200,000, Schlenvogt told the board.

 
City budget calls for slight levy increase PDF Print E-mail
Daily News
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 12 November 2014 20:26

Spending plan that will hold line on tax rate to be presented to public Nov. 18

    City of Port Washington residents will get their chance to comment on a proposed $8.9 million budget during a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18, at City Hall.

    “There’s really not much going on in the budget this year,” Ald. Dave Larson, chairman of the Finance and License Committee, told the Common Council last week.

    While delivering much the same services as this year, the proposed 2015 budget is increasing 1.4%. The tax levy is only expected to increase about .5%, to $4.9 million, Larson said — leaving the city $392 under the state-set levy cap.

    The expenditure budget is increasing 1.41%, he said, due primarily to increases in wages and insurance.

    Revenues are up, Larson said, noting that state shared revenue and highway aids are expected to increase $12,500 and $43,000, respectively, for next year.

    As in 2014, the proposed budget does not include $25,000 for Port Main Street Inc. — the annual amount the city had previously contributed to the group, Larson said. Instead, the money has been earmarked for economic development.

    City Administrator Mark Grams said the city’s assessed value of $851 million means the tax rate for 2015 is expected to be about $5.79 per $1,000 assessed valuation, a decrease of two cents per $1,000.

    That means the owner of a home valued at $200,000 would pay about $5 less in city taxes, Grams said. However, he noted that the projected tax rate does not include the tax incremental financing district assessment.

    The recycling fee of $34 will remain the same as in 2014, Grams added, and Larson noted that water rates will also remain stable.

    Although officials remain concerned about the condition of the city’s streets, there are no major street projects planned for next year.Daily-Press

    “We will be looking at street improvements during the next year, creating a plan to deal with them and finance them,” Grams said.

    Street projects are largely paid for through borrowing, and the city is not planning any additional borrowing next year, Grams said.   

 
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