By Owen Reissmann for Wausau Pilot and Review
The Wausau Zoning Board of Review met on Wednesday, the majority of which was spent discussing the request for a variance for the building expansion of the downtown Woodson YMCA property from the required 30’ to 5’ and 3’.
Developer Chuck Ghidorzi presented the request. He spoke of the future Aspirus Clinic to be built next to, and in connection with, the YMCA, complete with a skywalk to connect the two businesses. The new addition would include a senior center, expand the existing daycare services, and include covered parking, which was advocated as crucial to patrons of the senior center.
The expansion will also need approval of their plan to close off traffic between Second and Third Streets on McIndoe Street.
A second representative of the project spoke about how the YMCA property has been treated by the Board of Zoning Appeals over the years, referring back to requests for variances made for previous renovations which have all been approved.
Board member Mark Dillman pointed out that the previous requests were not of this magnitude. He asked why the Board of Zoning Appeals was only now first being approached and questioned the need for the building to be constructed in such a way as to require the variances. Board member Nan Giese asked why the building needed to be so close to the street given how very tall it would be (46 feet).
Mark Thompson and his spouse live opposite the YMCA facility. In a letter he submitted to the board, Thompson argues that the YMCA project does not have an unnecessary hardship to justify granting a variance. He comments on the value the project places on parking over zoning regulations, suggests that a building of this height would clash with its neighborhood, and expresses concern about the physical plant noise, especially given how close it would be to his bedroom.
Several community members expressed similar concerns.
Board member Mark Dillman moved to deny the request, but as Robert’s Rules of Order discourage negative motions, the motion was withdrawn and ultimately the board chose to table the issue for one month. Board member Sid Sorenson suggested the YMCA representatives meet with Mr. Thompson as well as other neighboring property owners to achieve a resolution before the next meeting.
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