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Marinette Approves 20 Year Comprehensive Plan

Issue Date: November 4, 2021

Prior to the City of Marinette Common Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 2, a Public Hearing was held to repeal and re-enact the establishing of new Aldermanic districts, polling sites and Aldermanic district boundaries.

There were no public comments from the audience and later in the meeting Ordinance #2481 was approved.

The Common Council then followed with Mayor Steve Genisot in his report, announcing his recommendations for the standing committee list, boards and committees including: Parks and Recreation and Public Safety Code Enforcement, Mike Wolfe, who was also sworn into office as Alderperson 4 by Municipal Judge Peter Noppenberg; Stephenson Library Trust Board, Lynn Derby with existing term running to April 2022 and Water and Wastewater Utilities Committee, Tom Bero with existing term running to April 2024.

Genisot also added, "Yesterday Governor Evers announced Election Hero Day honoring people who work elections and all those that have anything to do with handling elections". He then also thanked Clerk Lana Bero for all her work with elections.

Genisot also announced there will be a Special Common Council meeting on Nov. 30 to adopt the 2022 budget and tax levy. Prior to that meeting, a finance committee meeting will be held for recommendation to forward the final budget to Council for final approval.

Peter Kolaszewski, Municipal Engineer of Ayres Associates, along with some of his staff experts discussed the goal of creating downtown Marinette into a more desirable and safer place for pedestrians to shop, eat, drink and spend time, which will in-turn spur more patronage to local businesses and encourage more businesses to infill vacant storefronts. The improvements are aimed at enhancing the pedestrian experience and the economic future of downtown Marinette.

After receiving a lot of feedback from property owners and the general public that stemmed from a Public Information meeting and continued through outreach and other communications, the result of the main goals of the stock holders included to slow traffic down, improve pedestrian safety, including crossing Main Street, reduce traffic volume and make it pedestrian friendly along with a draw to improve the downtown.

Some of the key proposed items include lane narrowing, bump-outs at crosswalks, bump-outs for trees, closing the Pierce Avenue intersection and creating a plaza and main pedestrian crossing along with some signage and pavement treatments for safety.

Kolaszewski added, "Streetscape costs along Main Street have been included in the grant, however, costs associated with the new Plaza at Pierce Avenue including architectural treatments, lighting and amenities are not included in the grant budget. Much of the costs for those items will be an expense to the City. Plaza items not included un the grant could be upwards to the amount of approximately $300,000".

Some of the enhancements that Ayres are proposing include: trees, benches, bike racks, power charging stations, street lights, decorative string lighting and colored and decorative concrete accents.

Council members were concerned about a loss of parking of which business owners stressed that they don't want to lose any parking areas. A motion was then made and approved to review the five bump-outs that were proposed by Ayres to discuss to see if those will be kept in the plan or not.

There was a lot of discussion before making a decision on adopting Ordinance 2480 for the 20 year Comprehensive Plan. The plan started with Bay Lake Regional Planning in April 2021 with receiving of a grant from Wisconsin Coastal Management. Bay Lakes gathered information, worked closely with the Plan Commission and created and processed a community survey and a data base.

Alderpersons Doug Oitzinger, Liz Mikutowski and Jason Flatt voiced their concerns of the many inconsistencies throughout the map in the designated areas such as St Joseph Church, Twin City Baptist Church and Our Saviors Lutheran Church listed as residential and Zion Lutheran Church being listed as institutional; The Cottages and Sun Valley are listed as residential and Unity Hospice is considered industrial; Three homes in the Park School area are listed as institutional instead of residential; Thielen Funeral Home is listed as commercial, OSMS as mixed use along with many others that are classified incorrectly. Flatt was concerned about property that is to remain protected as residential located 1848 Stephenson Street and property on Hattie Court. Genisot stated, "This plan does not change the zoning, the City wouldn't take someones property away". Alderman Rick Polzin weighed in saying, "The Plan Commission does not recommend these two properties being changed". Oitzinger stated, "This is not ready for prime time. I am willing to approve everything with the exception of the map".

Genisot asked Oitzinger why he waited until the last minute and did not bring these issues up before. Oitzinger replied, "I did bring them to the attention of the Plan Commission". Genisot said to Oitzinger, "I am asking you to put these in writing", Oitzinger stated, "We could do a joint meeting with Council and the Plan Commission". Genisot again replied, "Put it in writing". Mikutowski said, "I don't think this should be taken personal, I think we should take a little more time to make it our best 20 year plan" Oitzinger added, "There is a lot of dialogue that has to go on of what we want our city to look like in 20 years, it is worth going through this".

The 20 Year Comprehensive Plan was then approved with the option to discuss the map inconsistencies. Mayor Genisot then encouraged Council to submit all their recommendations in writing ncluding addresses, parcel numbers and what you prefer the properties to be listed as, to Sadie Dinatale Burda who is the Community Assistance Planner at Bay Lake Regional Planning. The plan will be amended, then go to Plan Commission and forwarded to Council for final weigh in.




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