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Change to home occupation uses favored in Ashwaubenon

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

ASHWAUBENON – A wording change related to allowable home occupation uses was recommended Jan. 5 by the village’s Plan Commission.

Community Development Director Aaron Schuette said the current phrase “but is not limited to” opens up home occupations to any uses as long as they meet performance standards in the village code, such as for noise and traffic.

“That type of language creates a lot of gray area, and it causes lots of problems,” he said.

Schuette said the “but is not limited to” language has resulted in neighborhood conflicts and difficulty for staff to administer the ordinance, such as being able to deny a home occupation request.

He said removing the language would specify what home occupations are permissible.

“You’re eliminating Pandora’s Box,” said Trustee Steve Kubacki.

The village code’s list of 11 acceptable home occupations includes: childcare operation; computer sales and consultation; computerized sign making; daycare/home care operations; draperies, tailors and the like; home offices; insurance office; licensed gunsmith; real estate agent offices; telecommunications office; and telemarketing office.

In cases where a home occupation isn’t listed, Schuette said it can be brought through the process of amending the ordinance to receive input from the commission and village board on whether to allow it.

The commission’s recommendation is being forwarded to the board for final approval at its Jan. 26 meeting.

Wall panel fasteners

The commission also recommended revisions to the village’s site plan and design review requirements.

The amended language would allow the limited use of semi-concealed metal wall panel fasteners on additions to non-street-facing elevations of existing buildings within the I-1 Light Industry, I-2 Heavy Industry and I-P Industrial Park zoning districts.

“We have a number of buildings in our industrial park that use either semi-concealed or fully exposed fasteners on the backside of buildings looking to expand,” Schuette said. “What happens is, when they expand, under our current code, they are required to use fully concealed fasteners. From a construction, design and maintenance standpoint, that does cause some issues on their end.”

Schuette said the revisions are intended to “better facilitate these expansions, but in a way that does not open it up for use of semi-concealed fasteners everywhere in the village.”

“This option will only be available for existing buildings when the addition is 75 percent or less of the overall footprint, and even then, only on non-street-facing elevations,” he said.

Schuette said the revisions also include references to allowable building materials with an exterior insulation and finish system being allowed, but subject to the limitations in place.

Trustee Gary Paul called the proposed revisions “a good move.”

“We really needed better clarification on these subjects that Aaron brought up,” he said. “It has hampered a few construction projects that did not come forth because of the language.”

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