County plans public hearing on April 7
By Robert Cloud
Dozens of area residents and town officials attended a March 4 county zoning committee meeting to speak against ordinance changes that would allow off-site commercial parking lots.
The proposed amendment to the Waupaca County Zoning Ordinance would allow the zoning committee to issue conditional use permits for off-site parking on lots that are not adjacent to the business property and without regard to the off-site lot’s zoning classification.
Those who came to the March 4 meeting to speak against the change were surprised when Andrew Phillips, the attorney advising the county on its zoning ordinance, recommended against the proposed revisions.
Instead, Phillips proposed revisions that would require the county zoning committee to first determine if the request for off-site parking would be permitted as a conditional use under the lot’s zoning classification.
He suggested striking the language developed by the zoning office and replacing it with: “Off-site parking that is identified as a conditional use in a zoning district shall be governed by the provisions of Secton 14.05 relating to conditional uses.”
Phillips said the zoning committee cannot circumvent or lessen other requirements in the code in order to issue a conditional use permit.
Phillips also recommended adding a clause to Section 14.05 that reads, “The proposed conditional use will not materially impact the established character and quality of the area, architecture and aesthetics, and is generally compatible with the surroundings, traffic impact and circulation, environmental impacts, the demand for related services, the possible hazardous, harmful, noxious, offensive or nuisance effects resulting from noise, dust, smoke or odor.”
The committee voted unanimously to adopt the attorney’s proposed ordinance revisions.
The revisions will now be sent to town officials for their input.
A public hearing on the zoning amendments is planned for April 7.
At the March 4 meeting, several town officials criticized both the original off-site parking amendment and the process through which the amendment would have been adapted.
“We sent a list of suggestions to your ordinance changes, and none of our changes were made,” said Dayton Town Chair David Armstrong.
“Neighborhoods are important,” Armstrong added. “People residing in these areas should be primary sources of input.”
Dayton Town Supervisor John Miller said he objected to allowing off-site parking in any zoning district.
Miller noted that nearly all of the adjacent counties had limits as to where off-site parking could be located.
Kay Ellis also asked that the committee review what other counties require in terms of allowing off-site parking.
Outagamie County only permits off-site parking within the same zoning district as the business is located and sets a limit of 200 to 300 feet from the main entrance.
Winnebago County only permits off-site parking in commercial, business, industrial or mixed use zones and limits the lot to being no more than 400 feet away from the business.
“We would prefer that any off-site parking include a distance covenant of 100 to 500 feet,” said Mike Jameson, a Chain O’ Lakes resident.
County Supervisor Gerald Murphy asked that the committee consider a distance requirement for off-site parking lots and that the lots should be located on parcels with the same zoning classification as the businesses that want them.