Entrances to city are focus of Port Plan Commission

Car lots, lumber yards, storage facilities would be prohibited in high-profile areas under planner’s proposal
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington Plan Commission last week began the process of limiting the types of businesses that can locate at the entrances to the city.

Bob Harris, the city’s director of planning and development, proposed that the city no longer allow car lots, lumber and building supply yards and indoor self-storage facilities in its gateway districts.

Those businesses are currently allowed with a conditional use permit.

Most of those uses were added to the list of acceptable businesses in 2014, Harris said, and “in my opinion are not appropriate for the gateway district.”

Commission members had no objections, although they had a few suggestions.

Commission member Kyle Knop suggested the city add these uses to the list of prohibited businesses in the gateway district.

However, Harris noted that anything that isn’t specifically allowed is considered prohibited.

Knop also suggested the city add boat sales to the list of prohibited businesses, something Harris said he would consider. Boat sales are among the uses allowed with a conditional use permit.

Businesses allowed in the gateway district include offices, retail shops, customer service establishments, commercial studios and galleries, printing and publishing houses, public utility offices and vocational schools.

Allowed by conditional use permits are restaurants, theaters, bowling alleys, nightclubs, lawn and garden centers, animal hospitals, private outdoor recreational facilities, gas stations and hotels and motels.

Among the currently prohibited uses are transportation facilities, commercial parking facilities, warehouses, check cashing stores and pawn shops.

Noting that buildings in the gateway district are expected to be held to a higher design standard given their location at the entrances to the city, Knop suggested reviewing some of the materials used.

Some materials once seen as less than desirable are today high quality, such as precast concrete panels, he said.

“It would be a shame if we were trying to make this corridor be more attractive to preclude these,” Knop said.

Harris said he will review the ordinance further and bring any changes back to the commission for its consideration on March 16.

The city’s gateway districts are defined as Highway 32 from the south city limits to Portview Drive and from the north city limits to Norport Drive, as well as Highway 33 from the city’s western limit to Highway LL and Highway C from the south city limits to Western Avenue.


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