Plan for business barns in town inches forward

Plan Commission recommends plan amendment but zoning for Northwoods Road land remains a question
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

A proposal by Nick Suddendorf to build business barns in the Town of Saukville took a small step toward reality last week.

The Plan Commission recommended on Sept. 13 that the town approve an amendment to the comprehensive plan that would allow Suddendorf’s property to be rezoned for the development.

The Town Board was expected to act on the amendment this week.

No one spoke during a public hearing on the proposed amendment, which Town Planner Josh Miller said was “one of multiple steps needed so Nick can develop this.”

The amendment would allow commercial uses in the B-1 business zoning district.

  Commission Chairman Kevin Kimmes, who is also the town chairman, sought reassurance that industrial and manufacturing uses would not be allowed under the amendment.

Suddendorf, an owner of Fine Line Carpentry in Port Washington, is proposing to build as many as 43 so-called business barns on a 40-acre parcel on the west side of Northwoods Road near the Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA — a plan many town officials have supported.

The sticking point, however, is how to zone the land to permit the business barns without allowing uses the town doesn’t want in these areas.

The business barns could be used for anything from personal workshops to small businesses.

The business barns in a similar development in Port Washington that Suddendorf built are used for everything from woodworking and auto shops to a recording studio.

The town is considering allowing planned use developments, a process that would permit the town to create individualized restrictions for each property, as well as other rezoning options.

The planned unit development zoning would give the town more control of the type of businesses that could operate in the barns.

The Plan Commission last week tabled a presentation on planned unit developments due to time constraints, as well as an update on its comprehensive plan, until its October meeting.

Commission members indicated they favored Suddendorf’s proposal; it’s just finding a way to allow it that’s at issue.

“I like the project,” commission member and Supr. Mike Denzien said. “I think opportunities to do projects like this in the town are limited.

“If there’s any place in the town to do this, this is it.”

Commission member Don Hamm concurred, saying, “I think it’s something we should look at doing.”

Commission member Tom Ravn, however, questioned why Suddendorf purchased the land if he wasn’t sure he could do what he wanted with it, although he conceded his plan is “probably the best use of the land.”

But, Ravn said, he doesn’t like the process the town is undergoing to allow it.

“I think the comprehensive plan should be looked at as a whole,” he said.

Suddendorf told the commission he would like to begin work on his project in spring, adding it will likely take three to 3-1/2 years to complete it. He said he will build the structures as they are sold.

At his business barn development in Port Washington, Suddendorf said, he sold an average of one unit per month.

“We’re not going to built all the buildings at once,” he said.

He noted that the western half of the property consists primarily of wetlands and can’t be developed.

“We’re going to protect and preserve that,” Suddendorf said.

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