Port officials pan plan for Highway LL office building

One Plan Commission member says nearby factory is better looking
By 
KRISTYN HALBIG ZIEHM
Ozaukee Press staff

The Port Washington Plan Commission didn’t mince words last week when members got a chance to review plans for an office building just west of the Country Inn & Suites on Seven Hills Road.

“The factory across the street looks nicer than this,” commission member Ron Voigt said, referring to Allen-Edmonds.

The building, intended to house Matt Nelson’s American Advantage insurance agency, is a metal structure that commission members said looks too industrial for the area.

Ald. Paul Neumyer, a member of the commission, said it doesn’t fit in with the nearby hotel or the Allen-Edmonds building across the road.

“Are we doing a disservice to those property owners?” he asked. “We have a duty to those businesses to repeat that high quality architecture.

“I could see this in the industrial park. But this is an area we want to promote. That’s going to be our northern business district.”

Commission member Tony Matera added, “In a high visibility, high traffic area, it doesn’t make sense.”

The Design Review Board took no action on the proposed building when it met Jan. 14, instead offering suggestions on how to improve the design by adding windows and other design elements.

“I think it’s a good use of the site for your office,” board member Marc Eernisse said, although he said the structure is “boring. It just doesn’t fit. Enhancing it with masonry would really help.”

“This needs a lot of massaging,” Fire Chief Mark Mitchell, a member of the board, said. 

Although the Plan Commission was not  expected to act on the proposed building, members offered their comments on the structure.

Public Works Director Rob Vanden Noven, a commission member, expressed concerns about the lack of windows and masonry, the “monolithic” roof design and the fact that half the structure is intended for storage.

“I don’t know if this is a storage facility with an office or an office with a storage facility,” he said.

Nelson told the Design Review Board that he needs the storage area for records he is obliged to retain for a significant amount of time. He said the building would house he and his three employees with room for future growth.

Nelson, who said he hopes to construct the building beginning in spring, is expected to bring a revised plan to the Design Review Board and Plan Commission in February.

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