Why residential space may start popping up in Superior's manufacturing zones

The proposal, if approved, would require property owners to obtain a special-use permit that would lift the restriction on housing development in manufacturing districts.

Government Center in Superior
Government Center, Superior, Wis.
Jed Carlson / Superior Telegram

SUPERIOR — City officials have another option for people who own property in a M-1 manufacturing district.

Those property owners can apply for a special-use permit that will allow residential development under the R-4 apartment residential zoning requirements.

The city's Plan Commission recommended a change to the zoning ordinance Wednesday, March 15; the measure will go to the city council for consideration April 5.

Jason Serck, economic development, port and planning director, said he was contacted by an individual who owned land in a manufacturing district near the taconite facility in Allouez. However, housing is not an approved use in manufacturing districts, he said.

It’s an issue that has come up before and was resolved in North End by allowing a mixed-use development that includes residential and commercial development in a manufacturing district, Serck said.


In December, when the idea was first introduced, Commissioner Brian Finstad said he wouldn’t want to put manufacturing in the middle of a residential area, but if someone wants to live in a more industrial area, “more power to them.”

He likes the idea of mixing uses and having less separation.

“Historically, people want to live close to where they can walk to work,” Finstad said. “We have a lot of nonconforming residential uses.”

Commissioner Garner Moffat suggested allowing residential development in manufacturing zones with a special-use permit in December, but reconsidered the option Wednesday, voting against the change as the city prepares for a complete rewrite of its existing zoning codes.

“I have some concerns I guess about continuing to try to nest things; I think it’s really overly complicated about what’s actually allowed and what’s not,” Moffat said.

Moffat was the only member of the nine commissioners to vote against changing the zoning code.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or
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