Commission helps pave way for Newport Shores project

Harbor panel considers options for new fish cleaning station to accommodate proposed lakefront development

THE PROPOSED Newport Shores development would require moving the Kiwanis shelter and fish cleaning station next to the current Newport Shores restaurant to create a southern leg to the new building and accommodate a drop-off area around the pump station on Lake Street, as shown in this rendering by Rinka/Chung Architecture.
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

Members of Port Washington’s Harbor Commission on Monday greeted the proposed Newport Shores development adjacent to the marina with enthusiasm.

But the commission spent most of its time on a topic near and dear to the fishermen who ply the waters off Port each summer — the location of the fish cleaning station, which would be moved to an undetermined site, according to  the Newport Shores plan proposed by Ansay Development.

Ian McCain, Ansay’s design/construction manager, told the commission that the new location of the fish cleaning station is one of the big concerns people have expressed about the project.

The city asked Ansay Development to consider moving the fish cleaning station as a way to ease congestion in the marina parking lot, McCain said, and the firm is willing to do that.

About half of the people Ansay has talked to about the fish cleaning station want it moved closer to the marina control building, he said, while the others favor a location north of the current structure.

“We’ll follow the city’s vision,” McCain said.

City Administrator Mark Grams said city staff members have been pondering the issue.

“We don’t have a spot yet,” he said. “We’re still looking.”

If the city were to move the station to the marina parking lot, Grams said, it would likely exacerbate the congestion issues.

The commission looked at a number of sites in the parking lot, he said, but there are potential problems with each.

The city is also considering moving it to the Guenther Pond area, Grams said, where there may be enough room to not only place the station there but also to create a turn-around for fishermen to use.

However, he said, the mountain bike path recently developed off the bike trail also passes through the area, and the city would have to move that or otherwise accommodate it. 

But commission member Bill Driscoll predicted the Guenther Pond location would cause the biggest issue with marina tenants, who don’t want to travel so far to clean fish.

The tenants are used to just walking from the slips to the nearby fish cleaning station today, he said.

He suggested the city allow the tenants to use the golf carts currently used by the marina staff to travel to and from the fish cleaning station if it were moved to Guenther Pond, but Assistant Harbormaster Lisa Rathke said liability would be an issue for the city.

Commission members then suggested creating a small fish cleaning station in the marina area — perhaps on the east side of the marina control building — just for marina tenants and expanding the existing fish cleaning station on Wisconsin Street.

But Grams noted that the big issue with that plan would be a lack of parking near the Wisconsin Street fish cleaning station.

We Energies owns the adjoining parking lot, he said, but has recently fenced it off to keep the public from using it.

“We Energies has become very protective of that parking lot,” Grams said.

Grams noted that the city does not have to make a decision about the location for some time, adding the final determination will be made by the Common Council.

Ansay’s overall plan, which would create a multi-use building at the current site of the Newport Shores restaurant and some adjoining city land that 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 — was praised by the commission members.

“It’s well thought out,” member Jordy Schwanz said.

“It’s a very, very awesome project,” added Rathke.

The Common Council will consider an exception to the city’s height limit for the Newport Shores project when it meets at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 20.

That exception would allow the building to reach beyond the 35-foot limit to as high as 59 feet.

The council will also look at whether a portion of adjoining city land on which the fish cleaning station and Kiwanis shelter are sitting should be declared surplus, paving the way for Ansay to acquire the land for its development.

Grams said that if the city declares the land surplus, Ansay could purchase the property for its development or swap it with another parcel — perhaps a piece of land near the breakwater gateway where a new pavilion would be constructed.

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