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Port Washington


City begins toughening liquor license rules PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 19:44

Port officials start fine-tuning regulations that will require new applicants to submit detailed business plans

    Port Washington officials on Tuesday took the first step in tightening up the process to issue and revoke a liquor license.

    Most of the proposed changes affect applicants for new liquor licenses who, if the new ordinance is approved, must submit significantly more information to the city before their application can be approved.

    For example, liquor license applicants will be required to provide a detailed business plan to the city for approval and, in subsequent years, to obtain city approval for any substantive changes to that plan.

    “Essentially this will tell you what a new operation would look like,” City Attorney Eric Eberhardt told the Common Council.

    Among the information to be included in the business plan is whether the applicant is buying or leasing the facility, any anticipated building improvements, the names and training of the manager, bar staff and security staff, business hours, types of music, food and entertainment offered, the targeted clientele, the potential impact on the neighborhood and police services and how it will meet city ordinances

    Applicants would also be required to meet with the police chief to negotiate a security plan that could include video monitoring of the inside and outside of the premises on equipment compatible with the police department’s. The plan would become part of a license stipulation that would be incorporated into the license agreement.

    The stipulation could also include prohibitions on the sale of unlimited beverages for a fixed price, among other things.

    New and renewing license applicants would be required to have their premises inspected by the police and fire chiefs and the building inspector, who can then make recommendations to the Common Council.  

    The proposed licensing changes were largely modeled on Green Bay’s licensing procedures, Eberhardt said.

    The city would not require business or security plans for current license holders who want to renew their licenses, Eberhardt said.

    “A liquor license is a privilege, not a right, so conditions can be placed on a new license,” he said.

    But existing holders of the licenses have vested rights and, unless they violate the law, there is a presumption the license will be renewed, Eberhardt said.

    However, if there are problems with an existing tavern, the city could ticket the business and then negotiate reasonable conditions with the owner, he said.

    The ordinance changes would also replace the existing demerit point system for violations — a process Eberhardt said he can’t recall being used in the 14 years he’s been city attorney.

    The new ordinance incorporates state law, which he said prohibits such things as keeping a “riotous house” and selling liquor to a habitual drunk, with 10 additional conditions that could be used to revoke, suspend or non-renew a license.

    These include making false statements on a license application, interfering with police officers, violations involving alcohol and juveniles, creating a public or private nuisance and allowing conduct, including loud noise, that has a substantial adverse affect on the neighborhood.

    City Administrator Mark Grams said current liquor license holders will be notified of the proposed changes before the council’s Feb. 5 meeting, when a public hearing on the new ordinance will be held.

    Aldermen will not act on the ordinance at that meeting, he stressed, but will instead vote on it during their Feb. 19 meeting.

    The impetus for the changes is the controversy over the denial of a liquor license for the former Foxy’s tavern late last year, Grams said, noting that several aldermen said at the time they wanted to see the city’s licensing regulations tightened.

    But not all aldermen agreed with the changes proposed.

    Ald. Dave Larson, chairman of the Finance and License Committee, which recommends granting or denying liquor licenses, said he is concerned that the city is getting too involved with private business.

    “I think people should be allowed to run a business the way they want to,” he said, adding that such items as cameras in taverns could be recommended by the city but perhaps not mandated.

    “I don’t think it’s up to us to mandate that,” he said.

    But Ald. Paul Neumyer said he does not believe it’s unreasonable, noting the footage won’t be viewed or requested by police unless there’s a need.

    “It’s a great tool for law enforcement,” said Neumyer, a retired police officer.   



 
Candidate starts write-in bid for aldermanic seat PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 16 January 2013 18:37

    A write-in candidate has emerged for Port Washington’s 5th District aldermanic seat, which is being vacated by Ald. Joe Dean.

    Kevin Rudser, a member of the city’s Board of Public Works, announced last week he would seek the seat on the Common Council.

    His write-in campaign was spurred by friends who urged him to run, Rudser said, adding he’s had political aspirations but wanted to be sure he had enough time to do a good job before running for office.

    Rudser, who is a co-chairman of the city’s Waterfront Safety Committee and a member of the Port Washington Main Street promotions committee, said it’s an exciting time to run for office.

    “I like the direction the community is going in,” Rudser said. “I think we’re seeing a real rebirth of the downtown. There’s a lot of good things happening. I want to help continue that.”

    He is also looking at some neighborhood initiatives and wants to keep an eye on the city’s taxes and spending, Rudser said.

    Rudser, 44, of 889 Glenlyon La., is facility manager at Curt Joa Inc. in Sheboygan Falls.

    If elected, he would be one of two new members of the Common Council.

    Harbor Commission member Bill Driscoll is seeking election to the District 3 seat being vacated by Ald. Jim Vollmar.

    Incumbent aldermen Mike Ehrlich and Dan Becker, who represent the city’s 1st and 7th districts, respectively, will be unopposed on the ballot.

    The spring election will be held Tuesday, April 2.

 
Grant to bolster Port’s war on ash borer PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 18:56

City to use $25,000 in state DNR funding to track treatments, protect trees, replace those killed by beetle

    Port Washington’s battle against the emerald ash borer got a boost with a $25,000 grant from the Department of Natural Resources, Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said Tuesday.

    The grant will help the city purchase a specialized software program to help it manage its trees and treatments against the borer, Vanden Noven told the Board of Public Works.

    The grant will also help purchase chemicals needed to treat ash trees against the borer and replace trees that are killed by the beetle, he said.

    The grant will provide matching funds, he said, so the city will have to spend an equal amount of money.

    That shouldn’t be difficult. The city has 1,100 ash trees along its streets — 14% of the trees that line its roads — and many more in its parks that are at risk of being killed by the borer, which was first detected in the community in June.

    Since then, the city has committed itself to waging a battle against the emerald ash borer, an invasive green beetle that has killed tens of millions of trees from the East Coast to the Midwest since it was first found in the U.S. in 2002.

    While the borer was first found in Port Washington last year, it has likely been in the community for years, officials said, noting it takes several years for trees to show the effect of the pest.

    Vanden Noven said he does not know how many trees in the city are infested with the borer.

    The borer was initially found in a dead ash tree on a wooded hillside in the 400 block of North Powers Street, and officials said several other trees in the area were likely killed by the borer.

    It has also been detected in trees downtown and on Webster Street, where Vanden Noven said virtually every ash tree is infested.

    Officials agreed last year that they will chemically treat select ash trees against the borer in an attempt to stem the damage done by the bug.

    The city may have another weapon to use against the insect, Vanden Noven told the board.

    The Department of Natural Resources has asked if the city would be willing to allow the release of parasitic wasps that feed on the borer’s eggs and larvae, Vanden Noven said.

    The wasps, which are the natural enemy of the borer, have been released at Riveredge Nature Center in the Town of Saukville, which is near the area where the first emerald ash borer in the state was detected in 2008.

    “They will spread here in a couple years, but releasing them here will make that happen sooner,” Vanden Noven said.

    State officials have said it will take as long as five years to determine whether the wasps are having an impact on the borer, he noted.

    “Do they sting?” board member Mike Ehrlich asked.

    The wasps are less than a quarter-inch in size and pose no danger to humans or other animals, Vanden Noven said.

    The DNR is not sure how many wasps it will have this year, he added, so there is no guarantee they will be released in Port Washington.

   

 
Mail now within reach of Hwy. 33 residents PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 02 January 2013 18:49

    Town of Port Washington residents living along Highway 33 no longer have to cross the busy four-lane highway to get their mail.

    Town Chairman Jim Melichar announced recently that the dangerous situation had been rectified and the neighborhood mailbox moved to the driveway at Stevlin’s Hardware on the north side of the highway, where most residents live.

    “It’s not 100% what the residents want, but the residents won’t have to cross four lanes of traffic any more,” Melichar told the Town Plan Commission Dec. 13.

    The problem began when Highway 33 was reconstructed from a two-lane road to a four-lane highway, prompting the U.S. Postal Service to discontinue home mail delivery. Postal officials said the new road is too dangerous for postal carriers to drop mail off at houses, noting there is no shoulder where carriers can safely pull over when delivering mail to individual boxes.

    A group mailbox was placed on Jackson Road, forcing residents on the north side of the highway to cross four lanes of traffic, travel east to the city limits and then south on Jackson Road about 100 feet to collect their mail from a metal box with about a dozen locked compartments.

    “I was told this was done for the safety of postal personnel. What about the safety of the people who have to walk across a four-lane highway to get their mail?” Highway 33 resident Norbert Ansay asked the Town Board last month.

    Melichar said he talked to officials from the Department of Transportation, which designed and built the highway, as well as City of Port Washington without success.

    He met with a postal official at the site, but was only successful after he saw the mail carrier and asked how she felt about moving the box.

    “She said, ‘I don’t care,’” Melichar said.        Stevlin’s owner Steve Boyea had no problem with moving the mailbox to a site off his driveway, Melichar said, so the box was transferred.

    The new location may force officials to deal with another thorny issue — plowing the sidewalk and bike path along Highway 33 in the township, Melichar said.

    “I think long-term we’re going to have to address that sidewalk,” he said. “The resident think it would be easier if they want to walk to the mailbox.”

    The town does not require residents to clear sidewalk in front of their properties, officials said, in large part because there aren’t sidewalks along town roads.

    Melichar said recently that since the sidewalk and bike path are in the right-of-way, they are the responsibility of the DOT, and DOT officials said they believed the Village of Saukville would clear the walkways west of the City of Port Washington limits. The village, however, said that is not its responsibility.  

    Supr. Jim Rychtik, a member of the Plan Commission, suggested the town have its private plowing contractor clear the walkways, but Melichar said the township should wait until it receives a legal opinion from its attorney about potential liability.

 
New bridge links upgraded dock areas PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 26 December 2012 18:49

Recently installed span will give pedestrians a route between north, south portions

    Work on Port Washington’s coal dock recently ended for the year, but not before a major improvement was put in place.
   
     A stately bridge linking the north and south portions of the coal dock was put in place by Pfeifer Bros. Construction Co.

    The bridge was brought to the site in two pieces, which were then attached by workers and lifted by crane onto their footings.

    Although the bridge is in place, it isn’t open to the public. A fence blocks people from using it to travel from the seven-acre south dock, which is open, to the 13-acre north dock, which is still under construction.

    Work on the north dock is expected to begin again sometime in mid to late March, with work on the dock completed in time for a June 22 grand opening. The Coal Dock Committee is still working on plans for the formal opening.

    “Barring a terribly rainy spring, I don’t see any problem finishing on schedule,” Port Washington Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven said. “I’m happy with the progress they made this year. The setting of the bridge exceeded my expectations. Originally, I didn’t expect that to be done until spring.”

    A significant amount of the infrastructure work for the park was done this fall. The roughly 1,000-foot-long, 18-foot-wide promenade along the north side of the coal dock was completed and an adjoining crane rail bench created over the old rails used to transport coal from the dock to the power plant.

    The pipe chase for water service and conduit for electrical and sewer services are in place.

    Topsoil removed for those utility services was stored to be used for a berm on the south side of the dock.

    Next spring, construction crews will excavate the road going into the dock and pave it, as well as the driveway, sidewalks and interior pathways.

    Light fixtures will be installed, along with the promenade railing.

    Items such as benches, trash cans and bike racks will also be installed.

    Work to naturalize and restore the banks along Sauk Creek will also be done.

    A World War II memorial is already installed on the dock, and other amenities are expected to be added to the park in the future. Those could include a community center, interactive children’s garden and water feature.

    But even when the work in spring is completed, the coal dock will be among the city’s premier amenities, showcasing the lakefront in a way not done before.

    “It’s going to be a tremendous enhancement,” Vanden Noven said. “When it’s completed, you’ll be able to walk along the lakefront from the north beach to the south beach — about two miles.  

    “With its connection to the Ozaukee Interurban Trail, it will be a pretty neat place to walk or bike.”


CONSTRUCTION CREWS on Dec. 13 assembled and then set in place the bridge that spans the intake channel between the north and south coal docks. While complete, the bridge will not be open to the public until late next spring. Photo by Sam Arendt

 
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