Council gives green light to Mills Fleet Farm
Concerns raised about design’s effect on Pabst Farms’ appearance

By Jake Meister - Enterprise Staff

April 20, 2017

A rendering of the Mills Fleet Farm that Oconomowoc has approved to be built in the Pabst Farms Towne Center.
Submitted rendering

OCONOMOWOC — Pabst Farms Towne Center has been in need of a jump start for sometime and retail chain Mills Fleet Farm will get its shot to start the growth.

The Oconomowoc Common Council approved Tuesday night the developer’s agreement major design review plans required for the construction of the 218,628-square-foot store on an 18.9-acre site on the northeast corner of Interstate 94 and the intersection of Highway 67 and Summit Avenue.

The approved project also includes a separate 4,900-square-foot convenience store-gas station with eight pumps and a three-bay car wash.

The Mills Fleet Farm store will feature a 60foot-tall silo, outdoor materials yard, automotive area and loading docks.

The discussion pertaining to the major design review plans took up most of the Tuesday meeting with the majority of the aldermen becoming active in the discussion.

Some conversation was made about the building’s look.

Alderman Michael Miller said he liked the look of the building, silo included.

Alderman Charlie Shaw said he wasn’t at all a fan of the silo on the building, but didn’t mind the rest of the look.

The newest aldermen on the council, Kevin Ellis and Louis Kowieski, made sure to get involved early in their new stints.

Ellis wanted the council to remember that the construction of the building would change the entire complexion of Pabst Farms and to not take the decision lightly as a result.

“If this project is approved, Pabst Farms is changing its whole face. I don’t know if that’s concerning to anybody, but you (Pabst Farms) will be changing your whole face,” Ellis said to the individuals in the crowd who were representing and asking questions of the build.

“I think the concern for the community is we only have one shot at doing this,” Kowieski said.

Kowieski added he wasn’t a fan of the idea at first, but now likes the concept.

“I think this is a great building,” Kowieski said. “Not just as a Fleet Farm, but as a building.”

Alderman Tom Strey said he does like the idea of having a store that offers a lot of products to a lot of different types of consumers, but did have one concern.

“I just have a small problem with another car wash/gas station in town,” Strey said.

Alderman Jeff Schmidt said he supported the proposed design, but was concerned with how the look might not match with the rest of Pabst Farms.

Schmidt went back and added he has been very impressed by how much the proposal had improved.

Alderman Ken Zwart made the suggestion the vote on the major design view plans be held until the next meeting when Alderman Matt Rosek would be in attendance.

Rosek, who represents the district where the building is proposed, had told city officials before the meeting that he wouldn’t be able to attend, said Mayor David Nold.

Not one to interject often, Nold said he didn’t like the idea of postponing a vote just so a missing alderman could be in attendance because there is no guarantee an alderman who is in attendance would be at the next meeting.

Ellis supported Zwart, saying the vote should be delayed until Rosek could take a vote.

Ultimately, the aldermen voted to have the vote and passed the design review and later the developer’s agreement.

The council also approved a certified survey map for the property located in Pabst Farms Towne that divides nearly 70 acres into three lots and an outlot. The second and third lot is where the Fleet Farm, gas station and carwash will be built.