City Council approves one-hour parking spots

by Jeff Pederson
Sheboygan Falls News Editor

In an effort to free up parking availability for downtown shoppers, the Sheboygan Falls Common Council approved the the designation of five short-term, one-hour parking spots in the former Ebbers Building parking lot, during a semimonthly meeting Tuesday, May 3, at the Municipal Building.

During a Public Safety Committee meeting, Alderman and Public Safety Committee Chair Pete Weber noted that the five one-hour parking spots would be situated on the southeast corner of the parking lot, which is located to the west of the BP gas station, southwest of Firehouse Pizza and east of the Municipal Building.

“We would like to try this now and see how it works,” Weber said. “Downtown retailers have wanted this for their customers for quite some time.”

“Right now the time limit for all spaces in that lot is three hours,” he said. “The cost is $300, which covers two signs that will be placed near the spots in the lot. The cost will come out of the capital improvement budget.”

Director of Public Safety and Police Chief Steve Riffel said the city would need to change its parking ordinance if the change turns out to be long-term.

Building Inspector-Assessor Ken Sonntag said parking time limits need to be enforced in order for the short-term parking stalls to be effective.

“I did an informal study recently where I went to three downtown parking lots every day for 45 days and I found the same cars with the same license plates parked in the same spots pretty much every day,” Sonntag said. “These are all three-hour lots where the time limit is not enforced or adhered to.

“Nothing will be different with the one-hour spaces, unless this is enforced,” he said.

Sheboygan Falls Chamber- Main Street Executive Director Shirl Breunig said the new one-hours parking spaces will be heavily promoted to local businesses.

“The businesses have been asking for something like this, so we will be talking with them and educating them how this will be of benefit to their downtown businesses and their customers,” Breunig said. “If business owners that asked for this, don’t communicate this to their customers and the spaces aren’t used properly, we have to let them know that we will lose them.”

Mayor Randy Meyer said the one-hour spots will be installed on a temporary basis and reevaluated after one year to gauge their effectiveness and determine whether they should remain going forward.

During a Committee of the Whole meeting, council members agreed to a proposal to switch council meeting nights from Tuesdays to Wednesdays on the first and third weeks of the month.

Alderman Terry Van Engen suggested moving the meetings from Tuesday nights to avoid conflicts with school sporting events.

“I put this out there because we haven’t been getting a lot of people running for council seats,” Van Engen said. “I thought maybe one of the reasons for that could be the potential conflicts for parents of kids in sports.”

None of the council members in attendance voiced an objection to moving to Wednesday evenings.

Meyer said the Plan Commission would likely follow suit and consider moving its meeting night to the fourth Wednesday of the month.

Meyer also suggested that the Park Board look at moving its meetings to Tuesday nights to avoid a potential conflict with Common Council meetings.

“I am certainly open to moving it, because pretty much every night works for me personally,” Meyer said. “I will talk with City Hall personnel to get their input, as well as our attorney, Mike Bauer, to see if this is okay with them and if so, when we should make the change.”

Department of Public Works Director Jerry Benzschawel spoke during a City Services Committee meeting about implementing a new street opening permit for outside companies working within the right-of-way of city streets.

“As I have been observing some things that have gone on as far as work in the right-of-ways, I have determined that it would be beneficial for us to have a permit system,” Benzschawel said. “Right now we have utility and construction companies coming in and working in the right-of-way, but not letting us know about it in advance. I think we need better control for who is working in our right-of-ways. Right now we really don’t have any control. We should be receiving a written explanation for the work that companies will be doing.”

Benzschawel noted that the permit would require companies to submit documents for restoration and construction work within the right-of-way of all city streets.

“Companies can contact either myself or Ken [Sonntag] by phone or email to request paperwork,” Benzschawel said. “This would be something new and I’m sure there will be some bumps in the road, but I believe the city will be better off for having it.”

During the regular Common Council meeting, the council approved a conditional-use permit submitted by Larry Johnson for Tek-Plus LLC to operate a home security showroom and storage facility at 1102 Fond Du Lac Ave.

Meyer noted that operating hours will be restricted from occurring between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and all trash will be disposed off in an enclosed dumpster. He also noted the possibility of suggesting ideas to improve the overall exterior look of the mall building where Tek-Plus will be located.

The council also approved a conditional-use permit submitted by Ron Burrows to construct a Best Western Glo Hotel off of Plankview Green Boulevard.

The three-story, 52-room hotel will include an additional 60 parking spots, street access off of Happy Lane and face in the direction of State 32.

The council approved a broadband and voice proposal and installation plan for Spectrum Business/Charter Communication for Vision Business Park.

The council approved Falls Police Officer Doug Hall to attend the Midwest Gang Investigators Association Conference May 15- 18 in Iowa at no charge. Hall’s expenses for the conference are covered because he is the president of the association. The council approved Police Chief Steve Riffel and Deputy Chief Steve Ross to attend the annual FBI National Academy Retainer June 1-3 in Minocqua in the amount of $538.

The council also granted operator license applications for Janet L. Fischer, Steve Kramer, Angel J. Henschel, Jessica L. Jones and Lisa Kennedy.

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