MARINETTE — Plans for a four-story condominium complex on the site of the old knitting mill in the City of Marinette moved forward Tuesday after the City Council approved a change in its comprehensive plan and the property’s zoning, following public comment on the matter. 

The requests to amend the 2020 Comprehensive Plan and rezone the parcels at 1609 and 1605 Parnell St., 1807 Wells St., 1650 Pierce Ave. and another adjacent, vacant parcel were brought to the Marinette Plan Commission on May 15 by Bryan A. Polzin with Polzin Property Management LLC. The commission approved and forwarded the requests after listening to Polzin’s plans to build a four-story, 17-unit luxury condominium complex on the site. The change to the plan and the rezoning were both put up for public hearings prior to Tuesday’s City Council meeting, which were attended by several neighbors of the property who came to voice their concerns. 

“What I object to is four stories,” said Jack Glonek, who lives at 1716 Wells St. “It’s an extreme building to put into a small residential area. ... With four stories and the lack of adequate parking, it’s going to overwhelm the side streets.” 

Donna Madsen, who resides at 1525 Daggett St., agreed with Glonek. “This is a residential area,” she said. “The highest building in the area is a two-story, and I think that’s plenty, if that’s what they want to go with, but I think four stories is too much for the area.” 

Prior to the City Council’s discussion of the topic, Ward 7 Alderman Rick Polzin excused himself due to conflict of interest, as Bryan Polzin is his son. Bryan Polzin and project executive Brian Peters from Bayland Buildings Inc. then showed the council mock drawings of the proposed project, with particular attention paid to how the structure would look from multiple vantage points in the neighborhood. 

“Currently it’s a four-story, approximately 24,000 square feet,” Peters said. “There would be adequate parking in this development, so we wouldn’t see any street parking.” 

Ward 8 Alderman Jason Flatt asked what the absolute height of the building was, at the apex of the roof. Peters said it was approximately 50 feet tall in preliminary plans. 

In the May meeting of the Plan Commission, Polzin and Peters described a potential three-phase construction on the site, beginning with the condominiums on the corner of Wells and Daggett streets. Phase two was described as a condominium professional office and retail building fronting Pierce Avenue, followed by a final phase to replace the houses on the corner of Parnell and Wells streets with a mirror image of phase one, but Polzin and Peters outlined the first phase only during the Tuesday City Council meeting as the secondary phases will be dependent on the success of the first. 

“None of this is all in at one time,” Peters said. “It’s really a phased plan.” 

Ward 6 Alderman Peter Noppenberg asked if Peters and Polzin felt there was a market for condominiums in Marinette. Polzin said he wouldn’t be opposed to making a few of the spaces apartments, should he be unable to sell the condominiums immediately. 

Flatt pointed out that under the sites’ current zonings, building projects are limited to a height of 25 feet or two-and-a-half stories, but under the proposed new zoning, building projects are required to have a minimum height of 25 feet and a maximum height of five stories or 50 feet. He added that the maximum height is subjective, as building height is measured to the midpoint of a gabled roof. 

“I just want to point this out, that it seems that a lot of the residents’ concerns are focused on the building height, and I think if we rezone it ... everybody in the neighborhood will be assured that it’s going to be at least 25 feet, and more likely than not, 50-plus feet,” he said. “I see, in the very near-term future, people along Parnell would still be looking, presumably, at houses, but if we rezone the whole lot, then my feeling is that anybody who objects to it, the battle is already lost. The only thing standing in the way of something else taking the place of the houses is a conditional use permit.” 

Alderperson-at-large Dorothy Kowalski said she understood Flatt’s point, but she had no problem with the position of the proposed building. 

“Because of where it is, the location, I don’t have a problem with it,” she said. “If it was right on Parnell or right in front where it obstructed everyone’s view from everywhere, I would. But right now, because it’s farther back, I don’t.” 

The amendment to the comprehensive plan and the rezoning were approved with votes of six in favor to two against, with Alderpersons Ken Keller, Jeff Skorik, John Marx, Wally Hitt, Kowalski and Noppenberg voting in favor and Aldermen Dave Anderson and Flatt voting against for both motions.