Commission helps clear way for Newport Shores project

Panel recommends city declare part of lot surplus to accommodate proposed lakefront developoment

PORT WASHINGTON OFFICIALS were expected on Wednesday to consider declaring the land under the fish cleaning station and Kiwanis shelter adjacent to the marina parking lot as surplus, paving the way for Ansay Development to acquire the land for its Newport Shores development, seen in the rendering. In exchange for the land, which would be used for a portion of the south end of Ansay’s building, the developer would move the public structures and build a public lakefront pavilion. Photo by Bill Schanen IV
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington Plan Commission paved the way for Ansay Development’s Newport Shores plan to move ahead, recommending that the city declare a 126-by-72-foot piece of the marina parking lot surplus.

The Common Council was expected to act on that recommendation — as well as an earlier one to declare land now used for the Kiwanis shelter and fish cleaning station surplus — when it met Wednesday night.

The Newport Shores project would create a multi-use building at the current site of the Newport Shores restaurant and the adjoining city land. The modern building, which features a bold, glassy design, would house offices, condominiums, a restaurant and pub as well as a retail store while relocating the Kiwanis shelter and fish cleaning station near the marina.

The city has approved a height exception for the building, which will be as tall as 59 feet on its east side.

But the plan also requires the use of the city-owned neighboring parcels.

The Common Council had been asked to declare one of the neighboring parcels surplus last month, but aldermen tabled the motion to seek a better definition of what land is needed for the building.

The matter was referred to the Plan Commission after officials learned that a portion of the second parcel would also be needed.

The commission made its recommendation during a special meeting Monday, with member Tony Matera, who works for Ansay, abstaining.

But resident Kim Haskell, 767 W. Grand Ave., questioned why the commission was holding a special meeting to discuss the matter rather than holding off until the panel’s regular April 19 meeting.

“I don’t know why we’rehaving a special session,” she said. “That’s when mistakes are made.”

The first parcel of land the commission recommended declaring as surplus is used as a park, she said, while the land under consideration Monday is parking.

“The public is using it,” Haskell said.

Ian McCain, Ansay’s design/construction manager, said the firm is making up for the lost parking spaces elsewhere in its plan.

He said the firm will only seek to acquire the land it needs for its building project — essentially the building footprint and the necessary areas around it needed to comply with buildng codes.

“This is the same project as it was before,” he said. “This was our intent all along. I don’t want to own and run marina parking.”

McCain said the firm would have a legal description of the property needed for the project by Wednesday’s council meeting.

Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development, noted that the declaration is needed to allow the Common Council “to negotiate how much or little they will convey through sale, trade or swap for this project.”

At the previous council meeting, aldermen expressed a desire to retain as much of the property as possible while still allowing Ansay what it needs to make its project a reality.

McCain noted that some of the land being sought is needed only for construction, adding the firm will convey the property that isn’t needed back to the city when work is completed.

Ansay is committed to relocating the Kiwanis shelter and fish cleaning station to a site selected by the city, he added, and to building a pavilion on the lakefront for the public’s use as well.

Tom Meaux, president and chief operating officer of Ansay Holdings, told the council that the firm intends to honor the Gilson family, which sold the land on which the shelter and fish cleaning station to the city, perhaps by dedicating the area around  the planned pavilion to the family.

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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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