West Bend officials approve zoning change for former brewery building
Developer is planning multifamily residential unit on the property

By RALPH CHAPOCO - Daily News

Dec. 7, 2017

James Campbell, 17, of West Bend looks at the former brewery on North Main Street as he rides his bicycle Wednesday morning in West Bend.
John Ehlke/Daily News

The proposal to renovate the former brewery along Main Street immediately north of Highway 33 cleared one bureaucratic hurdle when West Bend officials agreed to a zoning change.

Members of the Plan Commission unanimously voted to approve a zoning change during Tuesday’s meeting, modifying it from a general business and warehousing district to one that is mixed use.

“The purpose of rezoning is to accommodate the redevelopment of the property for a multifamily residential unit use, which is compatible with the area,” Business and Development Planner James Reinke said.

According to the memo Reinke sent to Plan Commission members, the proposal is to rezone almost 3 acres of land located at 445-485 N. Main St. The structure is surrounded by a community business district zone to the west, the north is zoned as a general business and warehousing district, while the south is labeled as a light industrial district.

The memo also stated the proposal is consistent with the adopted land use within the 2020 comprehensive plan.

“Staff received only one inquiry about this from the neighbor to the west who is not opposed to the rezoning, but did express some concerns with traffic and parking which would be addressed at the time of the site plan submission,” Reinke said.

Plan Commission members permitted attendees to express their concerns during the meeting, but no one came forward.

Developers approached Commission members during the Nov. 7 to gauge their problems or concerns with the project. The redevelopment project will be three stories and consist of 99 units, a combination of one, two and three-bedroom style apartments.

It will also feature common areas such as a community room, fitness center and storage units. Robert Bach, the name of the agent listed on the project, requested that city officials consider vacating their rights to all or part of the Franklin Street roadway to accommodate the redevelopment.

“We don’t have anything picked out as far as what would go there,” Bach said in November. “It is a prominent location, but it is not a place you would have a Walgreens.”

He is referring to the parcel south of the former brewery, which would also be part of the developer’s control.

“I would not be in favor of it as a concept,” Member Jed Dolnick said in November. “There are few things. It may be comparable to Auxiliary Court and Regency, but those buildings are not fronting on a major thoroughfare like Main Street.

“The question is, ‘Is this what we want facing Main Street?’” Dolnick added as he displayed the rendering to his colleagues. “Number one, the design is extremely disappointing. It is cookiecutter. It is broken up by porches and windows, but we can do better than that.”

He tempered his concerns after hearing what Bach provided additional details about the future plans for the site, but requested a more detailed rendering before he felt comfortable with the redevelopment.