THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Peshtigo Plan Commission To Consider Zoning Variances
Issue Date: June 24, 2020
The City of Peshtigo Plan Commission will hold a public hearing at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 25 on a request from Christopher Schmidt of Peshtigo Stone & Garden, LLC for a conditional use permit allowing him to have a tavern or bar at 870 Ogden Road, and a request from Mary Moriva of MT Leasing, LLC for a conditional use permit to allow retail sales at 880 Frontage Road.
Immediately following Thursday's dual public hearing the Plan Commission will meet to discuss and act on the requests.
Schmidt's proposed outdoor tavern or bar was discussed at some length at a meeting of the city's License and Police Committee on Tuesday, June 2. Schmidt had applied for a Class B license for on-site consumption, and that request was eventually referred to City Council with a tentative recommendation for approval, pending completion of a facility that could be licensed. Council declined to act on the license before several conditions were met, including Plan Commission approval of the requested zoning variance, and compliance with all state and local legal requirements for establishments that serve beer and intoxicating malt beverages for on-premise consumption.
Schmidt had told the License and Police Committee the reason he proposed the outdoor beer garden could be summed up in two words - "Door County." He said he planned to create a family friendly outdoor gathering place where the entire family could enjoy food and drink and parents could relax while children played nearby. He said he still needs to get state permits for the premises, which could include a greenhouse and gift store. He proposed to construct a 2,000 square foot paved area and contract for food with a food truck. He expects to have the outdoor beer garden, "a family friendly place for kids of all ages," open from Memorial Day through October each year. He told the committee he had posted the plan on Facebook and received 12,200 posts and 200 comments, all favorable to the idea of an alternative to drinking in a bar. Copies of many of the comments were included with material Schmidt submitted for Plan Commission consideration.
City Attorney David Spangenberg said a problem is the property is in an area zoned R-2, which is for industry. Schmidt already has a conditional use permit for his patio paving business there, and Spangenberg said you typically do not have two conditional uses for one property. He added he had no issue with what Schmidt wanted to do, but with where he wants to do it.
Schmidt maintained the only issue for the License and Police Committee was the beer license. The location issue would be handled separately by the Plan Commission and state law would dictate what constitutes a licensable premise.
City Clerk Tammy Kasal said she had talked with state authorities regarding licenses, and beer gardens must be fenced, although the fence might be removable.
Spangenberg suggested the committee should base its decision on whether or not Schmidt's business plans fit with the city's long term plan for the industrial park.
Schmidt had pointed out his area of the industrial park already includes a dental office, barbershop and day care center plus his flower shop, "so it's not exactly an industrial park."
Alderman Archer Leupp, a member of the License and Police Committee had mentioned that other developers have created unique businesses to attract visitors, and commented of Schmidt's plan, "I love the concept.... I want to figure out a way this can happen, and it has to be all legal."
Committee Chair Debbie Sievert Sievert asked Schmidt if he planned to have music there, and was told he would love to, and would plan to do it in a way that would not disturb anyone.
Spangenberg felt the license approval would depend on whether or not the conditional use is granted, and if the building is consistent with laws governing licensed premises for intoxicating beverage consumption. Schmidt said he had to submit plans to the state for approval.
Spangenberg cautioned against steering too far from zoning rules and other legal requirements. The motion finally approved was to recommend that Council approve the license, contingent on approval of the zoning variance and meeting all other legal requirements, with the license not to be issued until after Council's final vote in July. Council subsequently declined to act on the license request until conditions are met. Schmidt had said he hopes to start construction before August if the variance and license are approved.