Wittes' plan takes another step forward
Next stop is July 2 town board meeting

By Laurie Media - Special to Conley Publishing

June 25, 2019

CEDARBURG — After more than a year with little progress, plans to expand the existing operation at Witte’s Vegetable Stand took another small, but important leap forward at last Wednesday’s meeting of the town of Cedarburg Plan Commission.

Petitioner Scott Witte was back before the Plan Commission after appearing at the May meeting with a potential draft of an ordinance that would allow for production canning of produce grown on site and on adjoining properties, though actual production on the property will also require a conditional use permit. “It was about a three-minute discussion and then someone moved for approval,” said town Administrator Tim Rhode of the agenda item.

Throughout the entire timeline of the Witte family’s request, which first appeared before the town in November 2017 before being withdrawn and then brought back, town officials had noted that while they supported the idea and the Witte family’s operation, it wasn’t allowed under existing town ordinances.

The Witte family has since been working with town representatives to find a way to legally add production to their existing vegetable farm operation.

The action effectively means that two separate items will be before the Town Board on July 2 for a public hearing, discussion and possible action. The first is an actual rezoning of the property, from A-2 Agricultural to A-1 Agricultural. The existing property is currently legally nonconforming, and this action, along with the reallocation of some adjacent land to meet minimum zoning acreage, would bring it into compliance.

The second action would be to approve the proposed text amendment to the existing town code. The proposed text amendment notes that vegetables used in production purposes must be grown on the property (or adjacent properties) via operations owned by immediate family members or controlled by businesses owned by immediate family members.

In previous discussions, Witte had noted that his family was interested in adding bakery operations and/or hosting occasional onsite dinners. These items were not added in the text amendment.

If this is approved, it would apply to all parcels zoned the same as the Witte property, and according to the staff report, it could open the town to future, similar requests from agriculture property owners, though any operations would require a conditional use permit. Anyone interested in speaking on the project will be able to at the July 2 Town Board meeting, which will also include the opportunity for public comment during the public hearing. The meeting will start at 7 p.m. at the Cedarburg Town Hall, 1293 Washington Ave.