Planners to research club signs on city property

Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – Should service clubs and organizations be allowed to post signs for their groups at the signs that welcome visitors to the city?

Building Inspector Pete Scheuerman posed that question to the Plan Commission Thursday.

Scheuerman explained that he has been contacted by one club that wants to put up such a sign.

Currently, there are no such signs at any of the city’s welcome signs and Scheuerman said the issue is not addressed directly in the city’s sign ordinance.

The city code does limit off premises advertising for businesses, but that would not be the issue in this case, Scheuerman noted.

“These are private signs on city property. Is that something you want to handle here or at the City Council or by city staff?” he asked the commissioners.

Mayor Donald Pohlman pointed out that the city of Sheboygan and other nearby communities have such signs. “What language do they have to allow that?” he asked.

Commission member John Nelson indicated he would be inclined to oppose allowing such signs. “It adds to the clutter of signs (in the city). I don’t see any value to those signs.”

“Service organizations are relatively important to the vitality of the community,” commission member Jim Flanagan responded.

“If service clubs are struggling,” the signs might help them, he added.

The commission directed Scheuerman to research the is by sue further and report back to the them at a future meeting.

The commission recommended a rezoning request for a building at 410 S. Milwaukee St., but by only a one-vote margin.

Katy Cain of Avenue Real Estate is seeking to purchase the building to use as an office for her business. The property is zoned single-family residential and she is seeking B-2 general business zoning.

She explained that the rezoning is being required by her lender as a condition of the sale to bring it into proper zoning instead of a legal non-conforming use.

“I don’t know what happened but several years ago our lending institutions started to get real touchy about legal nonconforming uses,” Scheuerman elaborated. The issue has come up several times in the recent past.

“It has never been residential, it’s always been business,” he said of the building, noting it was previously a beauty parlor and before that a floral shop.

An adjacent property on South Milwaukee is zoned B-2 general business, he added.

Flanagan noted that he lives near the property and said he would have nothing to gain or lose from the rezoning personally, but questioned whether B-2 was an appropriate zoning.

He suggested B-1 zoning, which is limited to professional and office buildings, would be more appropriate. The neighboring commercial building is rated B-2 but is used as a shop building, which is allowed under that zoning but not B-1.

“I think you’re looking at compatibility with the neighborhood,” Flanagan stated. “The potential uses for the two buildings are totally different.”

City Administrator Brian Yerges noted that changing the zoning could not be done by the commission or the City Council. It would have to be done by having a new petition for rezoning from Cain, he explained.

“(The lender) asked for the B-2 zoning, mostly because the adjacent property is B-2. They’d like to see it B-2 versus B-1,” Cain told the commission.

“My concern is that the bank is driving our zoning,” Flanagan responded.

He was joined by commission members Vi Feldmann and Bill Barbieur in voting not to recommend the rezoning, while Nelson, Pohlman, Jim Wilson and Ron Nicolaus voted to recommend the rezoning to the council.

The commission approved a certified survey map for Tom and Jerry Weiser for their property on Suhrke Road.

Jerry Weiser explained that they were creating a single duplex lot on the land between their mini-golf course and cabinetry businesses. They had originally planned several duplexes on the larger parcel but dropped those plans after it would require an expensive stormwater retention pond because of the size of the development.

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