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Port Washington
Call for lakefront plan meets with skepticism PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 14 February 2018 20:03

Alderman doesn’t find a lot of support on council for proposal to freeze development while document drafted

    Ald. John Sigwart last week proposed a moratorium on lakefront development in Port Washington until a neighborhood plan could be done for the marina area, but that idea was met with quick opposition.
    There have been a number of plans developed for the area and the entire downtown, officials said, and the area is thriving.
    “Just 10, 15 years ago, there was nothing going on in our city. Now people want to invest in our city. Why would we want to slow that down?” asked Ald. Dave Larson.
    There are numerous city committees and officials that have worked on planning for the community, he added, and the city needs to put its faith in them.
    “I would put more stock and faith in that group than a private company,” Larson said.
    City Administrator Mark Grams concurred, saying the committees and panels that have done planning for the city have done a good job.
    “I don’t know why we really need to take another step back,” he said. “Developers are looking at properties. The market is good. What we identified in those plans is what’s being done now.”
    Mayor Tom Mlada agreed, saying the city has done a great deal of planning, most recently in 2014 when a redevelopment plan envisioned a number of projects for the downtown and again last year when the city economic development plan for 2035 was created.
    The 2014 plan, he said, led directly to a plethora of projects in the downtown, including the Blues Factory, Pier Street Apartments and the Lake Pointe Condominiums.
    “Why would you want to hit the pause button?” Mlada asked.  “I’m a little taken aback.”
    Sigwart, however, said he is concerned with the pace and scale of lakefront development, citing Ansay Development’s plans for NewPort Shores — which had not yet been made public.
    “From my perspective, this project is massive for downtown,” he said. “It’s even more massive for the marina district. That is such a major undertaking on mostly private land I think we ought to slow down.
    “I love the project. They (Ansay) did a lot of really good planning, but everything we’ve done in the marina district has been on a lot-by-lot basis.
    “I would like to see the city do some neighborhood planning.”
    The city, he said, has been reacting to plans forwarded by developers and he would like to see that change.
    Ald. Mike Gasper said planning will tell developers what the city wants to see in the area.
    “By doing the planning up front, we’re telling developers ‘This is what we want to see,’” Gasper said.
    He said he does not believe the city has used its zoning codes adequately to define what is acceptable in the area.
    Ald. Dan Benning said he would like to see the city refresh its planning, then use the information it gathers as a guiding list of goals.
    Sigwart noted that the city has worked hard to make the existing projects “as good as they can be within themselves.”
    But, he added, the city doesn’t have enough information to judge how the projects will affect the entire area.

 
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