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My Place hotel approval generates discussion of site plan oversight

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

ASHWAUBENON – Village board approval Tuesday, Nov. 26, of a site plan to build a My Place hotel along Holmgren Way, across from Capital Credit Union Park, generated a discussion about the degree of oversight there should be in Ashwaubenon to approve a project of that size.

Ashwaubenon’s Site Plan Review Committee and the Plan Commission both recommended three weeks earlier to approve the site plan for a three-story, 64-room hotel to be located in a vacant lot south of Nakashima’s.

Because the property is located in the Village Center zoning district, the site plan required final approval by the village board, which would also have the final say for a site plan with projects in the village’s Sports & Entertainment district.

This drawing depicts a three-story, 64-room My Place hotel proposed along Holmgren Way in Ashwaubenon across the street from Capital Credit Union Park.

All site plans submitted to the village are reviewed by the Site Plan Review Committee, which has the oversight to give final approval for plans not in those two districts.

Trustee Ken Bukowski, who is not on the committee but has sat in on several of its meetings, questioned why the village board doesn’t have a final say on a site plan for a project the size of the My Place hotel being built outside both districts.

“The village board ought to see it and have some approval process,” he said.

Village Manager Allison Swanson said village board approval of a site plan is somewhat redundant to the review by the Site Plan Review Committee.

“From a staff perspective, in terms of what we’re sending businesses through, they’re making three presentations, three times, in this particular case,” she said. “They went to Site Plan, Plan Commission and village board.”

Swanson said the “three hoops” the My Place hotel site plan went through to receive approval “made no actual progress or change.”

Bukowski said that might not always be the case for every site plan the village receives.

“Not every facility might be that way, and what you’re saying is, ‘If something goes through a committee, it shouldn’t come here,’” he said. “Well, I’m not buying that at all.”

Bukowski called the Site Plan Review Committee “a great committee.”

“They have great people on it,” he said. “They have great eyes, and some of them are in construction and they’ve been that way all of their lives. I sit in on as many of those (meetings) as I can, and they do a great job. That’s not to say that this (village) board shouldn’t get some kind of review on it.”

Village President Mary Kardoskee suggested having board members discuss the oversight and what should go to them for final approval.

“At the (October) board meeting, there was discussion about not having different things come to the board that would just go to committee,” she said.

Kardoskee said site plans for projects in the Sports & Entertainment district have been brought to the board so people could see what was happening there.

“This was our main redevelopment focus,” she said.

Bukowski said the board wouldn’t have seen the site plan for the My Place hotel had it been planned outside of the two zoning districts where board approval is required.

“I can’t buy that,” he said.

Community Development Director Aaron Schuette suggested taking a look at the site plan approval process, given the extent the committee reviews the plans and the possible benefit of leaving final approval for the entire village at the committee level.

Schuette said village staff is now discussing internally what direction to go for approving site plans and how to best expedite the review process.

Swanson said the oversight and approval for site plans will likely be discussed with the board in January.

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