By Owen Reissmann for Wausau Pilot and Review
After a city committee chose not to approve variance setback requests for the new downtown YMCA renovation project, project managers decided on a different approach. At last week’s Plan Commission meeting they requested instead that the property be rezoned from residential to business.
A representative of the project spoke of how previous remodeling had been handled specially because of the building’s less than ideal zoning label and said it really should have been rezoned 30 years ago.
Alderperson Lisa Rasmussen advocated for the zoning change as to allow the project to go forward. When people choose to live in urban areas, she said, they are accepting that they will live among businesses.
Mark Thompson clarified that appropriate reasons for rezoning are not present here. He says this proposal is to avoid restrictions that would protect the interests of neighboring properties, including allowing the project to avoid variance setback limits. The change to a classification of B4 would have a negative impact in a neighborhood that has traditionally been a transitional area, Thompson says.
Susan Thompson spoke out to encourage compromise. She asked for an altered design to switch the wall location with that of the new parking area so that the 46ft wall and loud machinery would not be located so close to the Thompson’s bedroom.
Ultimately, the committee accepted the rezoning request as well as an action on vacating a portion of McIndoe Street.
Time Federal Bank requested to put up a new sign and amend a current sign to add a reader board. The request was for a 16ft sign. Staff recommended capping height at 10ft. A representation expressed concern about a height restriction impeding the ability to have a reader board visible to traffic. He clarified that they had looked into city recommendations for each branch so as to create a uniform sign design for all of their branch locations. The committee compromised to approve a sign of 13ft.
The Lustron House at 311 Ethel St was declared a Local Historic Landmark. Because of a small porch addition, it is not eligible for the state or national registry.
Editor’s note: The Wausau Pilot and Review Documenters program is made possible through individual donations and grants from several organizations including the Community Foundation of North Central Wisconsin. The program aims to democratize news and information at the local level through a group of local contributors.