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Residents have chance to review Master Plan draft

Open house June 23

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June 16, 2010 | 08:57 AM
Williams Bay — Finally, there's a new plan for the next 20 years of village growth, redevelopment and preservation.

But before it's adopted, residents are invited to view the updated Williams Bay Master Plan and voice their opinions.

The village is hosting an open house Wednesday, June 23, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Lions Field House, Highway 67 and Stark Street.

The event allows community members to come at whatever time they wish, but there will be a brief presentation by the planning firm Vandewalle & Associates at 7 p.m.

"We have had the Plan Commission review the first, full draft of the plan and we've already made some minor revisions based on that feedback," Associate Planner Megan MacGlashan said. "Now, the public will review, ask questions and comment on the plan."

She said plans and maps should be available for anyone to look at on the village's Web site, at the Barrett Memorial Library and at the open house event.

In February, Vandewalle planners held a vision workshop for the community to voice what they felt were strengths and assets the village had and needed to be preserved, what were considered weakness to be improved, what the village may want to add and what they didn't want to see come in.

MacGlashan said that input largely was used to develop the current draft plan, and didn't stray from the current major priority of "preserving the natural beauty of the land" and favoring landmarks such as the beach and Yerkes Observatory over private development possibilities.

"There's nothing that would be the opposite of what the 1999 plan did, I just think this plan emphasizes things a little more than the previous plan," she said. "It certainly adds things to make this compliant with state statutes and we did make some changes to the future land use map, for example, village growth is not shown as far north as it was in 1999."

One of those items is the revitalization of the downtown area.

"I would say it focuses on that as the heart of the community, as well as preserving the village's natural features like the lake and the nature conservancy which make the community very distinct," MacGlashan said. "We also look at interconnecting those features with pedestrian and bike activities."

There are bike lanes suggested for Geneva Street and extending to other roads including Cedar Point Drive, Wiswell Drive, Constance Boulevard, Uihlein Road and Valley View Drive.

A multi-use path is suggested from Kishwauketoe Nature Conservancy and going past the village municipal building as well as another connecting the Bay to the town of Delavan.

Also included in the plan is mention of investigating the expansion of Barrett Memorial Library and the Williams Bay Fire Department. A relocation of the Fire Department is suggested at the intersection of Highway 50 and Geneva Street.

A relocation of the elementary school also is suggested beside the current junior and senior high school.

MacGlashan also said the plan includes an idea developed by Anthony Navilio and carried on by the Williams Business Association to have small commercial businesses downtown with two levels. The idea is to have residential opportunities above the businesses.

"There is a recommendation for a office park on the west side of the village as just one opportunity to have a mixture of land use in the community," she said.

She said there are no plans for more multi-family homes and condominiums beyond what is already established in the village since residents previously expressed they were not in favor of those land uses.

"One revision made is we extended boundaries of what is shown as the business center or downtown just a little bit," MacGlashan said. "That was actually a recommendation in the 1999 plan, so we sort of carried it forward. The remainder of the area is primarily single family homes with a small mix of multi-family homes, but that pretty much we left as it exists today."

The village's current plan was developed just before the state legislature enacted the Smart Growth law in 1999.

Thirteen other municipalities cooperated with Walworth County in order to come up with a plan to meet a Jan. 1 deadline to be consistent with state guidelines.

Williams Bay is behind in their updated plan because Village Board members originally weren't aware the current plan was missing pieces required in the Smart Growth law.

Village Planner Mike Slavney said earlier this year that because Williams Bay is technically not in compliance with the state, it will have limited control over changing zoning ordinances, rezoning land or approving land divisions until the new plan is complete.

MacGlashan said the plan is expected to be adopted in July.

There will be a public hearing July 13, followed immediately after a Plan Commission meeting and a Village Board meeting to potentially adopt the plan after public comment.

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