Ordinance tweaks may allow for more Grafton development
Commission recommends reducing required green space in
By Melanie Boyung - News Graphic Staff
GRAFTON — The Plan Commission
considered two zoning ordinance changes recently that could pave
the way for future development.
The first addressed at last week’s meeting related to the
business park district; while not a large area, the district
does include several businesses.
“This district is only mapped currently on a couple properties
in the village, specifically four off of Cheyenne,” village
Planner Jessica Wolff said. The lots are the four of Form and
Fitness, Port Washington State Bank, Flipside Cafe and Grill and
Best Friends Veterinary Center.
The ordinance under review addresses the minimum landscape
surface ratio, or the amount of a property that must be open
green space after any development. The current ordinance
requires 45 percent green space in the business park lots.
The ordinance, which was approved unanimously, decreases the
ratio to 35 percent. It went before the Village Board Monday
evening, but the outcome was not available by the News Graphic
“I think this requirement, the 45 percent, is rather high,”
Wolff told the commission, adding that a business needing to
maintain nearly half the property as open green space did not
make a lot of sense for development.
Wolff said also that several of the lots do not have much room
for expanding development because of how they are situated, but
Form and Fitness planned for expansion in its original design.
Commissioner Alan Kletti asked Wolff if 35 percent was
consistent with nearby communities; Wolff said that Grafton
actually has a somewhat higher standard than many surrounding
communities, and many places in Ozaukee County only require
around 25 percent.
The second ordinance the Plan Commission discussed, which was
tabled without action, would have amended the restriction
against a property having more than one principal building on
Wolff told the commission that the village zoning code currently
prohibits multiple buildings on a lot unless it is allowed by a
planned unit development, and she did not believe in just zoning
everything PUD to achieve zoning flexibility.
The zoning change would not alter single- or two-family
residential zoning restrictions, but would affect multi-family
and nonresidential zones. The ordinance change would allow
property owners in the relevant districts to apply to the Plan
Commission for permits to build additional buildings.
“I think that gives us the flexibility we need to still make
sure that we maintain some orderly development in those
non-residential districts,” Wolff said.
“In many cases for multifamily projects there are multiple
buildings … I think it’s reasonable for those buildings to be on
one lot,” she added.
The issue came to Wolff’s attention from an inquiry from the
owner of a lot that has two principle buildings. Both were built
before the ordinance and therefore the lot is classified as a
legal nonconforming; because it does not conform, the owner
cannot legally build additions to the buildings without a
variance unless the ordinance changes.
The commission spoke in support of the changes but did not vote;
several commissioners had concerns over wording and asked Wolff
to review the amendment and add some clarifications before the
commission took action on it.
One of the main concerns discussed was wording it so developers
would not assume an automatic review by the commission itself.
“My concern is if you say ‘the Plan Commission shall consider,’
that might indicate to the developer that it will
(automatically) go to the Plan Commission,” said Plan
Commissioner and village President Jim Brunnquell. “I prefer to
have the staff review … give you (Wolff) the ability to say ‘no,
that’s not going to fly.’” Wolff told the commission she would
review the amendment, make the necessary changes and bring it
back in the August meeting.
Melanie Boyung can be reached at