LETTER: Garage zoning exception sets precedent, raises questions

To Ozaukee Press:

The Port Washington Plan Commission sent letters to city residents who live near the 700 block of Milwaukee Street. The letters were to inform us of a request by a homeowner to exceed the zoning size  of 720 square feet in area and 15 feet in height for a new garage.

At a Plan Commssion meeting held on Aug. 18, I and another neighbor objected to the zoning exception and two emails in oppositon to it and one in favor were noted.

It was explained at the meeting that the garage would exceed the maximum allowed area and height to accommodate a recreation room, plumbing and upper balcony.

A majority of the commission members thought the garage design was exceptionally well done, right down to the cedar shingles.

You may be asking why does this matter?

Just one day shy of a year earlier, I stood before this same Plan Commission to ask for an exception to build a garage.

Just a garage, no other specialties. My request was to go from 720 square feet to 768 square feet (24 by 32 feet).

My request was denied. The Plan Commission suggested I build a storage shed with the allowance of 150 square feet and attach this to my new garage. They said I could even cut a hole in the new garage and attach the storage shed as a pass through. This would place me in compliance with the zoning restrictions.

It is amazing how just 200 feet away from my new 720 square-foot garage, this neighbor’s exception was granted.

Precedent now has been established:

You can now add additional occupied living space on your property and call it a garage.

Of course, you have to know somebody to assist you on the Plan Commission. The homeowner asking for the exception for his garage was a Plan Commission member until May 2022 and now is on the Ozaukee County Board.

Here in Port Washington, it appears there are no rules for the well connected.

Denver Smith

Port Washington



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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Port Washington, WI 53074
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