A possible multi-tenant building or two may be popping up soon along North Towne Road near Meridian Drive in DeForest. The DeForest Planning and Zoning Commission approved two conditional use permits for businesses looking to be tenants in the space(s) during its Feb. 26 meeting.

According to a memo submitted to the commission by Zoning Administrator Brandi Cooper, the Trowbridge Group plans to purchase 4.41 acres on the west side of North Towne Road, just north of Meridian Drive and south of Duraform Lane, with an intent to build multi-tenant office, shop and warehouse buildings with outdoor storage. Because the village’s ordinances only permit outdoor storage areas by conditional use permit, the plans came before the commission last week.

One of the prospective tenants, Pieper Electric, a full-service electrical, mechanical and automation contractor with offices around Wisconsin, wants to lease a portion of Trowbridge’s future space. The business requested an outdoor storage area of approximately 12,000 square feet to store company vehicles and trailers.

“The purpose of the outdoor storage area is to prevent the parking lot from becoming filled with these kinds of things,” Cooper said during the Feb. 26 meeting.

Traffic coming in along North Towne Road will likely be able to see some of the facility’s outdoor storage area, according to Village Planning Consultant Mark Roffers. To protect that view, there would be landscape screening put in, as well as stipulations made about the height of the area’s decorative fencing.

All commissioners except for Commission Chair Jason Kramar voted in favor of approving the conditional use permit with conditions. Kramar said he was apprehensive about the placement of the business, calling the area “a gateway” to the village.

“… I don’t know that this is the best fit for the location,” Kramar said. “… It’s a pretty visible piece of land. I’m concerned with the storage beyond the elevation of the fence.”

The commission will take a look at this project again once its site plan is submitted to the village. Once the land is acquired by Trowbridge, officials will request certified survey map approval to combine parcels into one lot. Trowbridge will also have to seek site plan approval from the village.

During last week’s meeting, the commission also unanimously approved a conditional use permit for a sewer and septic tank business within the same development. A-1 Sewer Service, Inc., which services septic systems, car washes, grease traps and more, is seeking to lease approximately 4,800 square feet of the Trowbridge building.

“They will not have outdoor storage,” Cooper said. “… (A-1 will be) using this site for an office and basically garage space to store their tanker trucks at night… They don’t store or bring any waste material to their site.”

In other business, the commission unanimously approved a rezone for 4.3 acres of land from the B-2 general business district to the M-2 general industrial district within the North Towne Corporate Park. Bell Laboratories is planning to build a corporate headquarters on lands directly east of the rezone area, according to a memo given to the commission by Cooper. The final approval for the rezone was set to be taken up by the DeForest Village Board earlier this week.

The project is in the concept phase, but currently the building would be approximately 43,000 square feet. Roffers said commissioners would see more details about the project soon, once the plans are submitted for a site plan review.

“The preliminary plans for the headquarters look fantastic,” he said.

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