Beer pub for downtown Elkhart gets nod

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – Add a beer pub to the list of experiences available soon in the village.

The Village Board Monday approved an amendment to the zoning code and a conditional use permit that will allow Jordan Fischer to operate a beer pub and brewery at 44C Gottfried St.

Both actions were recommended by the Plan Commission and followed a public hearing before the board.

“Right now, our zoning allows taverns but not brew pubs,” Village Administrator/ Clerk/Treasurer Jessica Reilly told the trustees.

She added that the Plan Commission had recommended two conditions be placed on Fischer’s permit – to fence in the patio area outside the building where Fischer said he plans to put a couple of tables, and to allow only acoustic music at the pub.

“I don’t really plan to be a music venue,” Fischer assured the board.

Trustee Richard Sadiq noted that plans change, and suggested that the condition be for unamplified acoustic music.

Only one resident had a question for Fischer at the public hearing which preceded the board meeting.

Cynthia Carlson, who lives across the street from the Old Feed Mill building where the beer pub will be located, asked what the hours would be and whether there would be live music.

Fischer replied that he plans to be open seven days a week, but added that he has no plans for live music at the present time.

Village resident John Shovan added his endorsement for Fischer’s plans at the public hearing.

Shovan was the subject of another public hearing before the board for his request to place a soda vending machine on West Rhine Street behind his business, the Lake Street Cafe.

He pointed out that for people downtown there is no place to buy a soda when his and other businesses are closed. He noted that the Marshall’s One Stop convenience store on East Rhine Street has several vending machines outside its building.

“If there’s a monopoly on who can have a vending machine in town, I’d like to know,” Shovan asked the trustees.

Reilly noted that the machines at Marshall’s are not on the sidewalk but are on the store’s property.

Former Trustee Yvonne Landgraf told the board that she was responsible for the ordinance which prohibits vending machines in downtown Elkhart Lake.

“The intent was to keep vending machines off the sidewalks,” she explained.

“This ordinance was originally put in place so that we didn’t have things all over in downtown,” Trustee Michael Wolf commented.

“I worry about setting a precedent,” Trustee Pam Garton said. “I feel Marshall’s is a different situation. There are gas pumps out there and ice machines, along with the fact they are well removed from the sidewalk.”

Village President Alan Rudnick also worried about setting a precedent and opening up downtown to vending machines again. “If we approve this one, we open ourselves up for more,” he stated.

The board voted 4-1 to deny permission for Shovan’s vending machine, with Wolf voting no and Sadiq and Lynn Shovan abstaining.

The board approved a final garbage collection contract with Advanced Disposal. The contract runs for 10 years and locks in the rate Advanced will charge for residential and commercial garbage collection.

Garton noted that Advanced had accepted the village’s previous contract with Larry’s Hauling when they took over the business several years ago and did not seek a rate increase at that time.

The new contract will require village residents to put their garbage out in covered plastic bins which will be provided by Advanced. Garton pointed out that, with or without the bins, Advanced was seeking an increase in the rate, but village officials negotiated a lower price than Advance originally requested in the new contract.

The board approved a $1,000 sign grant to Robert Hurrie for the Black Pig restaurant and a $1,000 business startup loan from the Community Development Authority to Jaclyn Stuart for a planned expansion of her Vintage Elkhart Lake business.

The board also approved a $2,500 contribution to the Sheboygan County Economic Development Authority.

Rudnick said the SCEDC has a number of tools and resources the village can utilize to find buyers for open industrial land.

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