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North Shore United to improve complex, expand

City revisiting trespassing issue in 2015

Feb. 14, 2014

Mequon — Several improvements to the North Shore United Soccer Club's Port Washington State Bank complex, W6499 Layton St., were approved by the Planning Commission on Monday.

Under an amended conditional use permit, NSU is now allowed an increase in parking to 170 vehicles, an increase in patrons from 250 to 492 with three annual exceptions for tournaments, nighttime lighting for Monday through Thursday practices from September to Thanksgiving, and an allowance for adult players.

The new site plan approved Monday allows for a four-foot fence around the recently installed synthetic field, two sets of 72-spectator bleachers, protective netting behind several of the fields, and a four-stall restroom trailer on the northwest part of the complex parking lot.

The operational changes both codify expansions of the program which have been in violation the original use permit dating back to the 1990s and allow for much-needed improvements, according to NSU representatives.

"The modifications go to help ensuring that all the players and families in our club enjoy the game," Coaching Director Joe Hammes said. "It keeps them happy and safe."

While a number of NSU parents and former players spoke in support of the changes, Carol Hahm, who owns the property directly west of the complex, spoke against.

Hahm said that soccer players from the field routinely trespass on the wooded area of her property to play and, at times, to relieve themselves, and, she said, the increasing number of players and addition of artificial lighting has "completely changed the nature of the property."

She also consulted a local Realtor, who said the expansions would hurt her property values by 30 percent.

"I'm getting ready to retire," Hahm said. "This property is a good part of my nest egg."

Hahm's attorney, Kevin Long, advocated for a perimeter fence around the entire property and lighting prohibition, saying "the Plan Commission got it right in 1992" when it limited soccer to daylight hours.

The neighbors directly to the south, who own a horse stable, advocated for a fence as well.

While the commission did end up granting the temporary lights to allow for practices in the fall months, they were hesitant to include a requirement for a six-foot perimeter fence to discourage players from wandering out of the complex.

They did, however, include a one-year provision in the updated use permit so that NSU will have to come before the commission again in January 2015. If trespassing is still an issue at that point, the fence idea could be revisited.

"If there are any problems, we'll be right back here to take it up again," Mayor Dan Abendroth said.

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