Plans for 133 E. Mill St. approved

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The transformation of the vacant 133 E. Mill St. building should begin before the end of summer.

The Plan Commission Thursday approved plans for the first phase of the project at the vacant city-owned building.

The commission approved an addition to the rear of the building that would house an elevator and stairs connecting the three floors and provide three garage stalls.

The full plan calls for two apartments on the upper floor of the building, with a cheese center museum and store in the ground floor and basement.

The $1.2 million project is being financed through a combination of private donations, grants and tax credits.

Commission members asked when work on the long-anticipated project will begin.

“The plans should be completed by the end of next week,” architect Mark Pfaller responded. After a budget meeting with the selected contractors, “we’re going to see if we can start in August.”

“We need to get our hands around the costs and make sure we’re within the budget,” City Administrator Brian Yerges said of the project. “All the original funding sources we had lined up are now in place. We need to make sure our sources meet our costs.”

The city took possession of the building several years ago in tax foreclosure. It was turned over to the Redevelopment Authority, which is developing a contract with the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp. Foundation for that agency to oversee the restoration and operate the building once that is complete.

Commission members also discussed the issue of parking in the area south of Mill Street between Stafford Street and the railroad.

“If you look at all those buildings, all the parking lots are disjointed and broken up by poles and other things,” commission member Jim Flanagan observed. “At some point the city needs to address parking back there.”

“I think this building does a fair amount to encourage access from the south side,” Pfaller said of the plans for 133 E. Mill St. “Maybe that will encourage other similar development in that area.”

Cold storage expansion

A recently-opened business in the southeast industrial park will be expanding under a plan approved by the commission.

Oshkosh Cold Storage, which opened a cheese storage facility at 4385 County PP in early 2015, presented plans for a 205,000-square foot addition to the plant.

Jeff Quast of Excel Engineering, presenting the plans to the commission, said the original plan was designed for expansion, which has already become necessary.

The expansion will necessitate moving the existing stormwater retention pond on the property further to the east, Quast said. The pond will be enlarged at that time to make it sufficient for the current and also any possible future expansion of the plant.

Partial approval for storage facility

A proposal to expand the In-n-Out Storage facility on East Clifford Street across the street from the existing storage buildings was able to gain only partial approval from the commission.

Owner Louis Prange presented plans for three new storage buildings on the south side of East Clifford, next to the railroad tracks, but explained that uncertainty over ownership of the property had turned up.

Prange had purchased 1.04 acres for the expansion earlier this year, or so he thought.

Research showed, however, that sometime in 1971 or before, the sale of what was thought to be 1.04 by the railroad to Plymouth Oil was actually only recorded for .35 acres.

The land consists of three separate tax parcels but only one of those shows as being transferred back in 1971 although, according to Prange, subsequent sales of the land were thought to be for the entire 1.04 acres.

“I actually think there are papers which show (the entire parcel) was sold, but we just haven’t found it. Otherwise, it doesn’t make sense,” Prange said.

Without such verification, however, the remainder of the property technically was never sold by the railroad.

Mayor Donald Pohlman noted that, if that is true, the land in question now belongs to the state Department of Transportation. The DOT bought the rail line several years ago and leases the line to the Wisconsin and Southern Railroad to operate.

Prange explained that the ownership question did not arise until just in the last few weeks and added that, in the meantime, he had already ordered one of the storage buildings for the site in anticipation of approval of his project.

“I’d really like to start construction on the building,” Prange told the commission.

The commission voted to approve rezoning the entire 1.04 acres to light industrial and approved one building to be located on the .35 acres that Prange owns for certain.


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