VILLAGE OF MUKWONAGO - Residents are worried that a new zoning district downtown will cause the village to lose its historic feel, and voiced those worries during a May 15 public hearing.
Village officials seemed receptive to their concerns, and ultimately voted unanimously to send the proposal back to the plan commission.
The purpose of the district is to establish uniform zoning standards to accommodate pedestrian-oriented retail businesses and other uses in a multipurpose environment within the center of the village, while recognizing the unique character, planning, land use and development within the village center.
Many residents said they are worried that buildings would be torn down as development increased in the village.
Robert Pautz said he grew up in Mukwonago and eventually moved back for the small-town feel.
"It feels like developers don't have that nostalgic tie to our community. They don't see the history in some of the buildings," he said.
Eliza Pautz said she has a long commute, driving from Mukwonago, but it's worth it to live there. She said she understand the village's need to grow but wants to hold onto the historic feel.
She suggested that to create a unique village center that flows, officials should ask community members what they want.
For example, Pautz questioned why second-hand shops such as antique stores wouldn't be permitted in the retail center but would be allowed in the multipurpose area of the village.
She said more action is needed to ensure the quaint village is preserved while allowing for the growth Mukwonago is experiencing.
"Everywhere you look, people, businesses and communities are realizing small, local and organic is the future trend of urban planning," she said.
Marianne Walsh explained that many people have the same goals: to make the village a great place to live. She said more clarification is needed about churches, secondhand shops, museums and banks, which are not mentioned in the village center proposal documents.
Trustee Karl Kettner agreed that there needs to be clarification. "What strikes me, what is in the zoning ordinance, is not going to address some of the questions I have," Kettner said.
Walsh added that she likes the idea of creating a unique village center, and expressed appreciation over encouraging green roofs.
Amanda Brissette, a vocal supporter of saving the Grand Avenue house and preserving buildings, also spoke. She said her family moved here for the historical atmosphere and small-town feel.
Brissette has witnessed several historic buildings demolished and replaced with more-modern buildings.
"The new buildings don't fit in with look and feel of the village, creating a hodgepodge downtown environment," she said.
Brissette also noted that traffic has increased along Highway 83, and families can feel unsafe walking around downtown.
Village Planner Bruce Kaniewski said that some of the residents' comments may merit some looking into, such as the section on schools and resale shops.
Trustee Kelly Klemme said there is a lot of good in the proposed ordinance but there are things that need clarification.