West Bend officials vote to vacate streets by brewery for developer
Hearing for public feedback on proposal set for March 19

By RALPH CHAPOCO - Daily News Staff

Feb. 15, 2018

Jay Pruett cleans the snow and ice off the sidewalks on Wednesday morning outside his business on North Main Street near Franklin Street in West Bend. “If it goes through, I’ll need to either move or find a new place to work,” Pruett said about the potential of a developer transforming the old brewery, which is two stores down from Pruett’s Floor Covering, into an apartment complex. Pruett’s Floor Covering has been in the location on North Main Street for 11 years.
John Ehlke/Daily News

West Bend officials will abdicate their responsibility for the public right of way near the former brewery to accommodate development projects in the area.

Members of the Common Council voted to approve a preliminary resolution during the Feb. 5 meeting, agreeing with the development staff’s recommendation to vacate all of Franklin Street and a portion of Main Street north of West Washington Street, leaving it for a developer to renovate along with the brewery.

“The idea of this is to vacate the two portions to facilitate the development of the lands to the east of this,” Development Director Mark Piotrowicz said. “It was done at the request of the developer of that proposed site.”

According to the memo drafted by James Reinke, the city’s business and development planner, the vacation proposal requires two resolutions. The first introduces the plan and establishes a public hearing to solicit the public’s feedback. The date for the hearing is set for March. 19.

The second addresses the vacation.

Aside from the public hearing, the resolution will also be brought to Plan Commission members to obtain their approval.

Should the vacation proposal be approved, ownership of Franklin Street will revert to WB Brewery building and We Energies, and Main Street would be available for a transfer of ownership.

City officials have voted on a couple of measures related to the development project. Representatives from P2 Development introduced the plan during the Plan Commission meeting in November when they unveiled the concept plan for the site.

According to Reinke, developers proposed transforming the former brewery site into a three story, multi-family residential complex. The structure includes 99 housing units of one, two and three bedroom-style apartments, along with community rooms and storage units.

Some Plan Commission members expressed their concerns regarding the project. Jed Dolnick had problems with the design but added he would reserve judgement on the project until all the details were revealed.

Meanwhile, city officials elected to move forward with other aspects of the project, such as a zoning amendment to accommodate the development. Plan Commission members approved the proposal during December, while aldermen and Mayor Kraig Sadownikow addressed it at the Dec. 18 Common Council session.

As part of the project, developer Robert Bach and his colleagues want city officials to vacate Franklin Street and part of Main Street located near the development site to supplement the building amenities.

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

City development officials have introduced several proposals between Plan Commission and Common Council to adhere to state regulations for vacating property.

The process began Dec. 18 when Common Council members referred the matter to Plan Commission. According to state statute, council requires a recommendation from commission members to move forward with the proposal.

The measure passed Commission during the January meeting and was forwarded to Council during the Feb. 5 meeting.

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