The Middleton-Westport Joint Zoning Committee (JZC) has recommended approval of a GIP amendment for the Community of Bishops Bay, to accommodate a church in the development.
“This is something that we’ve been working towards for a while,” said Cross Lutheran Church pastor Joel Brandt. “And we’re excited to be able to go forward. We’re ready to build our church, and start planting and making a difference in the community.”
The recommendation came during the committee’s June 25 meeting, which began with a public hearing on the church’s application to rezone 5.1 acres south of Inspire Early Childhood.
A representative from a nearby church voiced concern about increased traffic in the area.
“I am a board member of the Holy Wisdom Monastery,” Neal Smith said, “which is right around the corner. And I basically have a couple questions. One is, what is the size of the congregation that you perceive in the future? And what time would you have services?”
Brandt said the congregation consisted of approximately 110 members, and that services would mainly take place on Sunday mornings. As the church grows, mid-week services could be added.
He noted that traffic flow had been discussed by town and city officials as well.
“Thank you for answering the question,” said committee chair Ken Sipsma. “And thanks for asking. Holy Wisdom is a rock, an established faith-based organization and place in Westport for as long as I can remember. So they’ll be a great neighbor, and I expect you will be as well.”
No other comments were received as part of the public hearing. Committee members considered the implications of the amendment, including a proposed change to the town and city border.
Committee member Kurt Paulsen said he didn’t see the alteration as being a major issue.
“It’d be a minor adjustment to the future city boundary,” Paulsen said. “Each neighborhood within the Bishops Bay general development plan has both a density and numeric cap. Thirteen lots would be relocated. But they would stay within the town.”
Paulsen noted that the proposal received unanimous support from the Middleton Plan Commission.
The UW-Madison urban-planning professor asked for clarification on the plans for intersections where church traffic would flow onto Hwy. M, at Bishops Bay Parkway and Oncken Road.
Westport administrator Tom Wilson said both intersections would be signalized within a few years.
“There is planned to be a stop signal at Bishops Bay Parkway and County Hwy. M,” Wilson said. “The county has also indicated that they feel it’s necessary to have a stop signal at Hwy. M and Oncken Road. That will be done with the construction that the county is planning to do in 2023.”
Sipsma noted that the traffic impact had been studied during the approval process for Inspire, and that the information could be revisited as specific implementation plans (SIPs) are considered.
The committee voted in unanimous favor of recommending the GIP amendment be approved.
The City of Middleton’s Common Council will have final say as to whether the amendment is granted. City planner and zoning administrator Mark Opitz said it may be considered on July 21.