The temporary tent at the Stilt House in Cedarburg was
up for about a month last fall.
CEDARBURG — Many of Cedarburg’s historic buildings are
beautiful, but they aren’t necessarily functional for
modern uses. Such is the case with the Stilt House
building, W62 N630 Washington Ave., which hasn’t exactly
been cooperative with restaurateur Gordon Goggin. “I’ve
exhausted every idea possible to put a sprinkler system
on the second floor,” he said, noting that is a
requirement stopping the restaurant from expanding
upward. “Outside, I’ve looked into putting an outdoor TV
on the north wall and it’s not even structurally sound
enough to do that.”
That, and the fact that his landlord owns only the 8
feet north of the building, have also stopped any
thought of adding on an additional structure to that
side of the building as well.
Goggin was back before the Cedarburg Plan Commission
Monday requesting a temporary use permit to re-erect a
tent used last year on the north side of the building to
extend the outdoor dining season. Last year, Goggin
received approval after the fact to keep the tent up,
and was required to go before the Plan Commission due to
the planned six-week duration it would be in place.
Planner Jon Censky noted that requests for 14 days or
less can be approved at the staff level.
matter had been brought up at a previous meeting, but
Goggin was not able to attend, so it was tabled. He was
making the request in part so that the Stilt House could
host charitable events for the community, in which
charities receive the net profits from designated
“Last year, we donated almost $100,000 to charity,” he
said, noting that the restaurant already had an event
booked to support Thorson Elementary School and was in
talks with a handful of other charities for additional
dates. “If I can double my tables, they can double their
Plan Commissioners questioned the intent of the tent, if
it was meant specifically for charitable events or if it
was more of a business decision.
it used for regular dining? How often was it full (last
year)?” asked Commissioner Daniel von Bargen.
“Last year, we had the tent up until the end of
September into October,” he said. “Of the 28 days the
tent was up, we probably had 12 days where it was being
really used. The other times, it was maybe one table a
night by someone who really wanted to sit outside.”
cost of the tent is another reason why Goggin was asking
for the six-week permit.
costs $2,200 to rent the tent for six weeks, and it
really doesn’t get much cheaper to rent it for a week,”
he said. “We’re trying to recoup that cost and still
have money to donate to these charities.”
the matter was tabled at the previous meeting, some
commissioners had raised concerns about allowing
temporary structures in the historic downtown area,
which Commissioner Heather Cain readdressed.
“It’s certainly wonderful that you are supportive of
these charities,” she said. “But there is so much
discussion about the buildings and their components in
the downtown area. I don’t see how a tent – as nice as
it may be – necessarily benefits the downtown area. This
tent is for your business; I’m concerned with it being
precedent setting … with more businesses wanting to
pitch a tent during the winter months to increase their
“When downtown businesses want to increase their
business, I don’t want to stand in their way,” said
Commissioner John Czarnecki. “If he wants to increase
his business, that’s good for Cedarburg. We should be
helping them, not hindering them.”
Mayor Kip Kinzel also noted that what Goggin was
requesting is also permitted in the downtown district,
but due to the fact that it exceeded 14 days, it was a
matter that had to be approved by the Plan Commission.
“(This type of request) has to come before us every
time,” he noted. “Let’s address that problem if
additional requests come forward.”
Czarnecki made a motion to approve the permit, but also
required Goggin to move the tent as far back as possible
on the property from the sidewalk. Goggin was amenable
to this, but also noted that a series of power lines
that run over the driveway may limit this somewhat.
matter passed 4-1, with Cain in opposition and
Commissioner Greg Zimmerschied abstaining, as he had
visited Goggin’s new restaurant, Toast, over the weekend
as part of a “friends and family” event.