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Port Washington


City fine-tunes signboard regulations PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 18:19

    The controversy over the use of signboards in Port Washington ended last week when the Plan Commission adopted new guidelines to regulate their use.

    “I just think this is not only cleaner but better for our downtown merchants,” Ald. Dan Becker, a member of the commission, said.

    There are now seven regulations, as opposed to the previous nine, many of which were never enforced by the city, said Randy Tetzlaff, director of planning and  development.

    The regulations were sent to downtown merchants, and there were no objections logged, he said.

    Port Washington Main Street Executive Director Lauren Richmond also reviewed them, Tetzlaff added.

    The new regulations call for merchants to obtain a permit for the signboards, giving the city an idea of who owns them and who to contact if there are issues, Tetzlaff said.

    They require businesses to display the signs in front of their main entrance unless a special exception permit has been granted by the commission — a step required so shops on side streets can place placards on Franklin Street directing customers to them.

    The signs cannot block intersections or cause a hazard to pedestrians or motorists, and they must be removed when the businesses close each day.

    The signs, which can be no larger than 24-by-48 inches, must be neatly painted and maintained. They must be professionally lettered, although chalkboards are allowed to be hand lettered.

    Although ubiquitous, the sandwich board-like signs prompted controversy earlier this year when some commission members complained about the appearance and locations of some placards.

    Tetzlaff said the new guidelines allow the city to take steps to avoid issues in the future.

    “If we still have problems, you can take another look at this and be harder,” he said. “I think it’s better to start out with less.”

    The new regulations, which are part of the city’s ordinances, will be considered by the Common Council next week.

 
City to consider tougher sidewalk sign regulations PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 19 February 2014 19:44

Port commission will review rules for appearance, location of sandwich boards in downtown Port

    The Port Washington Plan Commission will tackle the topic of sandwich-board signs when it meets at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.

    Commission members will consider seven proposed regulations that cover everything from the size of the signs to aesthetics and locations.

    The regulations would also reflect the city’s current practices when it comes to the signs, said Randy Tetzlaff, the city’s director of planning and development.

    For example, the city ordinances require all signboards to be approved by the Design Review Board — something that hasn’t been done, he said.

    They also don’t allow for businesses on side streets to place placards on Franklin Street, although that is a common practice, he said.

    “We’re trying not to be burdensome,” Tetzlaff said, saying the proposed regulations would set minimal standards for the signs.

    The signs — a common sight on the sidewalks in downtown Port — have been the topic of debate recently, with some officials criticizing them for cluttering the sidewalks and others hailing them as a sign of vitality.

    The discussion was kicked off by complaints from some business owners as well as a commission member.

    At least one complaint was about a poorly made sign outside the downtown, and other complaints cited signboards that were placed on the sidewalk in such a way that they impeded pedestrians, he said.

    Some officials also expressed concern that the sandwich boards add to the clutter on the sidewalk, especially at intersections when multiple signs are placed.

    In 98% of cases, Tetzlaff said, the city has no issues with the existing placards.

    “We need to have a process to review them,” he said, noting that this will give the city the authority it needs to address potential problems when they spring up.

    While some people question the need for the regulations, Tetzlaff noted that the city requires businesses to meet standards for other types of signs.

    “Is it really fair to allow businesses to put up these signs without any controls?” he asked.

    The proposed regulations would require all signboards to be professionally lettered and neatly painted, except when the signs are blackboards. Then, hand lettering would be permitted.

    The signs can be no larger than 24 inches wide and 48 inches high, according to the proposal.

    One signboard would be allowed for each business, and it must be displayed in front of the main entrance of the store unless a special exception permit is approved by the Plan Commission.

    This permit, Tetzlaff said, would be used to allow businesses on the side streets to display their signs where pedestrians and motorists are likely to see them on the main streets.

    Signs may only be displayed when the shop is open and must be removed at the end of the business day, the proposal states, and they cannot block intersections or cause a public safety hazard.

    A one-time permit must be obtained for each signboard, and those that do not comply with the requirements may be removed from the right-of-way.

    The permit, which would likely cost a nominal fee, is needed so the city has some idea of the number of signs and their owners, Tetzlaff said.



 
Port poised to go off-road with new bike trail PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 12 February 2014 21:20

Committee will consider urban mountain-bike path

    Port Washington may become a destination for mountain bikers this summer.

    The Parks and Recreation Board on Wednesday was expected to approve plans for a mountain bike trail that would extend from Guenther Park north to Hales Trail just east of the Ozaukee Interurban Trail.

    This trail would be in addition to a mountain bike park the city is constructing on Moore Road adjacent to the skateboard park.

    “It really is neat,” Parks and Recreation Director Charlie Imig said. “I think it’s going to be kind of cool.

    “This is good for Port Washington. I think it will bring people into the city, and while they’re here maybe they’ll have lunch or just explore.”

    The proposed trail would be about two miles long and make use of an existing trail that’s been overgrown, Imig said.

    “Kids over the years have created the trail,” he said.

    Imig said he walked the trail last fall and inspected it.

    “Portions of it are leaf-blower ready,” he said, noting it will take little work to clear those parts of the trail and put them into service.

    Other areas, however, must be completely built, he said.

    The trail would be accessible off the existing bike trail or at trailheads at Guenther Park or the bluff, Imig said.

    The Ozaukee County Mountain Bike Club, which has developed a trail in the Town of Cedarburg, has offered to develop and maintain the trail at no cost to the city, Imig said.

    The trail wouldn’t be limited to mountain bikes, he said, but also would be open to pedestrians.

    It would likely be open year-round, he added, noting that the fat-tire bikers would probably use it in the wintertime.

    Although Ozaukee County ran into a significant amount of controversy when it proposed developing a mountain bike park on 36 acres of county-owned land between Lake Drive and Dixie Road in the Town of Port, Imig said he doesn’t anticipate that happening in the city.

    When the board discussed the concept at its last meeting, more than 20 people showed up to support it, he said.

    “This is really a gung-ho group,” Imig said of the mountain bike club. “They’re going to watch out for their own and take care of this. It’s really neat it has this much support.

    “For them, it’s a win-win.”

    The trail wouldn’t be excessively challenging, Imig said, nor would the mountain bike park, which will be developed on Moore Road south of the skateboard park.

    However, they would provide enough of a challenge that users are likely to come back time after time, he said.

    Organizers said the trail could be used as a place where young mountain bikers could go to train, Imig noted.

    That project, which was approved last year, will have nine features, including a pump track. Work on the park is expected to begin when the weather breaks, Imig said.

    If approved by the board Wednesday, both the path and the park could be open by summer, he added.



 
Coal dock pavilion plan gets a boost from utility PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 19:31

We Energies’ donation puts memorial project on track to be built this spring

    A memorial pavilion planned for Coal Dock Park in Port Washington is likely to be built this spring.

    Organizers said Tuesday they are confident the pavilion will be built after receiving a $30,000 donation from the We Energies Foundation — a gift that brings their fundraising efforts to more than $60,000.

    The pavilion, which is being built in honor of 15-year-old Tyler Buczek and 24-year-old Peter Dougherty, who drowned off Port Washington in 2012, is expected to cost $90,000.

    The We Energies Foundation donation “knocked me off my feet,” said Joe Buczek, Tyler’s uncle and the person who spearheaded the fundraising drive.

    “My gut feeling is come springtime, we’ll be starting construction,” he said. “It would be awesome if it could be completed by Memorial Day, since it’s a memorial pavilion.”

    Mayor Tom Mlada announced the news at Tuesday’s Common Council meeting, calling it “an exciting day for us.”

    “I think we’re going to be able to deliver on that commitment to get construction done in 2014,” he said.

    Buczek said the community has been instrumental in making the pavilion a reality.

    “Without the help and support of everybody, I know it would never have gotten off the ground,” he said. “We’ve knocked on a lot of doors.”

    Individuals, businesses and clubs have contributed more than $22,000 toward the memorial, Buczek said, and a number of trade unions have offered to donate time and materials to build the pavilion.

     “What you’ve done is phenomenal,” Ald. Dan Becker said. “It’s going to be a wonderful memorial and an asset to the community.”

    Buczek said Tyler’s family has been overwhelmed by the support, both financial and emotional, of the community.

    “On behalf of the Buczek family, we want to say think you to everybody,” he said. “The overall support from the first day has been so wonderful. It’s amazing how much people have supported our entire family though this.”

    Buczek noted that anyone who wants to purchase a memorial brick at the pavilion must place an order by March 1. More information is available at the website http://tylerbuczek.donationbricks.com.

    Tax-deductible contributions toward the memorial may also be made at City Hall, 100 W. Grand Ave.



 
Breakwater group draws crowd at first meeting PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM   
Wednesday, 29 January 2014 18:11

Organizers of effort to repair lakefront structure encouraged by public response at informational session

    Organizers of a “save the Port Washington lighthouse and breakwater” campaign said they were pleased with the turnout at their initial meeting on Saturday.

    More than 30 people gathered at NewPort Shores restaurant for the session, which was billed as an informational meeting and an opportunity to rally people around the cause.

    “I was really impressed by the people who were there and encouraged by their input,” said James Meyer, one of the event organizers. “We thought, ‘Let’s get the ball rolling in every direction we can,’ and that’s what we did.

    “I think people want to get involved. This is a no-brainer. When I got home, I started getting calls and messages from people outside the area asking what’s happening. People are already asking when is the next meeting.”

    Meyer, along with Sandi Van Sistine of Green Bay and Mary Jo Joyce of West Bend, created the Great Lakes Safe Harbor Preservation Foundation and are applying for non-profit status for the organization, with the aim of raising money and promoting efforts to repair the deteriorating breakwater.

    Joyce, who is president of the organization, told those gathered that although the Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the breakwater, has known for at least the last decade that the structure is in poor condition, it has done nothing to fix the problem.

    “The only way to get the attention of the federal government is to organize and raise money,” she said, noting significant portions of the breakwater have failed. “Nothing will happen unless we kick and scream.”

    Ald. Bill Driscoll said the city welcomes the group’s efforts.

    “The city can’t do this on its own. This group can’t do this on its own,” he said. “We need a multi-pronged approach. They can’t ignore the people.

    “We are not only behind this group, this group is absolutely necessary.”

    Meyer, vice president of the group, said that many of those attending Saturday’s meeting have become volunteers, offering ideas on how to move forward.

    “I was really impressed with some of the one-on-one comments and suggestions,” he said.

    The group is planning a follow-up meeting in late February, he said.

    Organizers plan to meet with officials from We Energies on Feb. 4 to enlist their help in the campaign, Meyer said, and will talk to businesses in the city in the coming weeks.

    A silent auction for photos of the breakwater and lighthouse held in conjunction with Saturday’s meeting raised $800, Meyer said.


 
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