Open house scheduled for downtown Okauchee zoning district

Proposal aims to attract more businesses to area

An outline of the proposed Okauchee downtown district.

Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:48 pm

A proposal to create a downtown Okauchee zoning district in the town of Oconomowoc, as part of efforts to attract businesses to the area, will be presented to residents this month.

An outline of the proposed Okauchee downtown district.

The new downtown district would cover 83 acres, including corridors along East Wisconsin Avenue and West Wisconsin Avenue just north of Highway 16. The northwestern part of the district borders Okauchee Lake.

The proposed changes would, among other things, allow more density, a mix of commercial and residential uses, bring buildings closer to the road and allow shared parking, said Amy Barrows, senior planner with the Waukesha County Department of Parks and Land Use.

“We’re modifying code language that’s currently reflective of a rural environment in order to accommodate a more vibrant downtown,” Barrows said.

She said that the business community has expressed an interest in revitalizing the area, and that the town recognizes the challenges created with current zoning provisions. Specifically, she said developers proposing to turn the site of the former Le Rendez-vous At the Point restaurant into condos have had difficulties with zoning requirements.

A set of recommendations were drafted last year. Now, officials with the township and Waukesha County are hosting the event, which will give residents an overview of the proposed changes.

The meeting is to take place at Oconomowoc Town Hall on Tuesday, Jan. 22. Residents, businesses, town officials, developers, building contractors and others are all encouraged to attend, according to a news release.

“The cooperative planning effort provides a great opportunity to examine existing zoning codes and recommend adjustments to enhance the ability of downtown Okauchee to attract businesses and customers to a vibrant downtown area,” Director of Parks and Land Use Dale Shaver said in the release.

Following the public meeting, the plan is to hold a public hearing on the proposal on Feb. 21, said Barrows. The Plan Commission could then consider it in March, followed by the county’s Land Use, Parks and Environment Committee County Board in April, according to a tentative schedule posted on the Waukesha County website.

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Alex Zank, former BizTimes Milwaukee reporter.

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