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De Pere's biggest rezoning in decades prepares city for future growth

New zoning allows for more flexibility for commercial and housing development
Posted at 12:05 AM, Jan 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-04 01:05:03-05

DE PERE — While the Mulva Cultural Center is the big new project scheduled to open in the summer of 2023, De Pere's new rezoning map may open the door for more future development.

For De Pere's development services director Daniel Lindstrom, this process was a long time in the making. It took around four years to complete the city's biggest changes to the rezoning code in decades.

"The new code really provided a great amount of flexibility, created more zoning districts that are actually characteristic of the actual neighborhoods that they're in," said Lindstrom.

He said the old code was out of date and didn't take into account future housing needs. Lindstrom also said future plans looked to tie the southern bridge connector into the city.

"We're really spending the next year to kind of doing some southeast area, part of our community planning for what the future southern bridge is gonna bring," said Lindstrom.

He envisions several new housing developments, but also commercial development along the new county road to complement downtown offerings.

Lindstrom also discussed updates for the vacant Shopko property in the downtown district on Wisconsin Street.

"Much like every other project that you work on in this economy right now with changes in interest rates and changes with construction pricing, there's just been some iterations going back and forth," said Lindstrom.

While the store continues to remain empty, Lindstrom recognizes the potential with the prime location of the building and said he hopes to see a formal proposal this year from the new owners for the site.

Shane Renard with Renard Realty says that he expects the new zoning to help bring more new housing closer to the southern end of the city in preparation for the bridge.

"There's a lot of land to be acquired out there, and hopefully developers can get a lot of land to build these new subdivisions," said Renard.

De Pere needs those subdivisions as population has grown by around 25% over the last two decades with nearby areas like Ledgeview almost tripling in population over that time.

"With these new schools and growing in our area we need the housing for our people," said Renard.

Renard says that interest rates drove down home buying dramatically over the last few months of 2022 and began to slow the city's population growth.

Still, Renard says that this is part of a national trend and De Pere will likely resume its steady expansion and need for new development as people move in to the city and school districts.

"It's gonna have an influx of buyers rushing to the market and it's gonna create this, this influx again, it's gonna drive that demand for those house prices back up," said Renard.