Council lifts zoning moratorium
Action delayed on one parcel

By Gary Achterberg

Jan. 10, 2019

 Seven nearby residents urged members of the Mequon Common Council Tuesday to zone a property at the dead end on West Donges Bay Road as single-family residential.
It now is zoned for business.
Photo by Gary Achterberg

MEQUON — The Mequon Common Council took several steps Tuesday aimed at what members hope will guide appropriate development for a prominent entryway to the city.

In two unanimous votes, aldermen:

■ Lifted a development moratorium that affected 29 properties in the vicinity of Donges Bay and Cedarburg roads that has been in place since April.

■ Approved a package of zoning changes that will affect a dozen of those properties.

City planners hit the pause button on development in the neighborhood last spring so they could talk to property owners and then propose zoning changes intended to spark desired new businesses and make the area a nice gateway on Mequon’s south side.

Stores offering “grab-andgo” food, small professional services and perhaps a bakery or sit-down restaurant all would be welcome additions to the well-traveled corridor, Kim Tollefson director of Community Development, said previously.

The intersection is best known for the busy, 24-hour Kwik Trip on its southeast corner. Two prominent properties across Cedarburg Road – the former 2.25-acre Alpine Village and 1.03-acre Finn McGoo’s – are vacant and for sale.

As part of the zoning changes approved Tuesday, much of the area will be included in a new business zoning district called Neighborhood Commercial.

The plans have been thoroughly discussed at prior meetings of the Common Council and Planning Commission, resulting in aldermen passing the bulk of the package with little discussion.

The only sticking point – a topic of discussion at several past meetings as well – is the appropriate zoning for a parcel with an occupied home and several other structures on the north side of the dead-end of Donges Bay Road.

The property currently has a B-3 business zoning. Seven nearby residents spoke during a public hearing Tuesday evening. All urged aldermen to preserve the rural character of the neighborhood. Most suggested single-family residential zoning as the most-appropriate designation for the property.

Perry Robinson said a city recommendation to change the parcel to Neighborhood Commercial was “in my view not a compromise.”

“It’s a compromise for the property owner and for the city, but not for those of us who live around there and who oppose future development,” he said.

Joe Bastien said adding commercial development at the end of the road would exacerbate the issue.

“I’m all for commercial development – when it makes sense – but this rezoning doesn’t make sense,” he said. “Single-family residential best fits the area. We will be watching this closely as it proceeds.”

Jeremy La Sage said he bought the property at 4828 W. Donges Bay Road partly because of its business zoning with a desire to both live and work there.

He said he is continuing to develop plans and ideas for the property. He added that he is very supportive of the direction the city is trying to take the neighborhood. He said Tollefson has been very helpful in working to find a compromise.

“I’m not trying to railroad anything through,” La Sage said, adding he wants to find a use that “would be agreeable to everyone in the neighborhood.”

Before acting on most of the zoning changes, aldermen carved out that property. They then voted 7-1 – with Dale Mayr voting no – to table the issue and revisit it in February.