Representatives from Sister Bay’s Piggly Wiggly grocery store came before the Plan Commission to propose an expansion of the building to begin before the end of the year. The 8,000-square-foot expansion will increase the size of the store by more than 50 percent.
Officials from the store said they hope to begin construction before winter and the store will stay open throughout the process.
“I think we’re all very excited that you’re finally here,” said Denise Bhirdo, commission chair.
But the folks at Piggly Wiggly have been before Sister Bay officials seeking an expansion twice before, consistently stymied by the village’s parking requirements. The conversation of parking was again at the forefront of preliminary plans presented to the commission Aug. 29.
“I calculate 146 spaces will be needed according to the code,” village administrator Zeke Jackson said in a statement to the board. “I believe this to be a ridiculously high requirement and we should consider addressing this as a part of our parking code rewrite.”
Over the past year, the village’s Ad Hoc Parking Committee has reviewed the village’s parking code in order to revise it. The revision comes at the tail end of a moratorium on the parking requirement that expired in September 2016. Many businesses, including Wild Tomato and Chop, were able to develop in part because the requirement on providing parking was lifted.
In many development agreements since September 2016, the village has temporarily frozen the parking requirement until the village has finished rewriting the code. Jackson suggested doing this for Piggly Wiggly.
“I want to make sure everyone is treated fairly,” said Bhirdo, speaking about other stores in the Country Walk Shops that may not be afforded a softer parking requirement. “My concern is if we don’t require enough parking…. as we are encouraging retail, and I think Country Walk is doing extremely well and there’s only a couple opens shops left.”
“That parking lot is more important to us than to anybody and if it’s full we’ll have to do something about that,” said Tom Nesbitt, owner of the grocery store.
Nesbitt said the business purchased a lot seven years ago, the last time he came before the board requesting an expansion, immediately south of the property, understanding that they might need to turn it into parking to satisfy the village code requirements.
“We’ve never disposed of it seven years later,” said Nesbitt.
“We have one or two people at Country Walk who are fearful we’re not going to have parking but most of us are fairly comfortable with where we are going,” said Henriksen.
Tom Nesbitt and his nephew Dan Nesbitt, co-owner of the store, will return before the Plan Commission at its September meeting with architectural plans for further approval.
The commission also took up some other matters at its meeting including:
- Preliminary approval of a project from Al Gokey of Packerland Builders to construct a 12-unit hotel condominium building at the corner of Bay Shore Drive and Sunset Road, immediately north of Boathouse By the Bay. Gokey is also developing a commercial and residential building on Mill Road across from the beach and six single-family homes at the location of the old schoolhouse off of Hwy. 57. According to the commission’s unapproved July 25 meeting minutes during discussion of the same project, Gokey was concerned about the demands of the commission for use of the building and left the meeting abruptly. “I brought my boxing gloves but I didn’t have to use them, so that’s good,” said Gokey after the commission approved his plan.
- The commission heard a presentation from Donn Dresselhuys about a workforce housing development somewhere in the village. Dresselhuys has made similar proposals to Gibraltar and Baileys Harbor. The commission expressed concern about the viability of the project, with commission member and realtor MaryKay Shumway stating a similar development north of the village at Meadow Ridge still has many open units. Jackson said land near the wastewater treatment plant and sports complex may be a location for this kind of development and told Dresselhuys to contact him for further discussion.