Sentry to Improve Downtown Lot
By Brandi Makuski
The Stevens Point Plan Commission on Monday approved a new look for the parking lot of the downtown location of Sentry Insurance.
The building, located at 1421 Strongs Avenue, will see an increase of 15 associates to its downtown workforce and update its parking lot this summer. The plan calls for repaving the lot as well as increasing green space on the perimeter of the lot, which currently abuts a sidewalk to the south, to five feet in width.
According to Community Development Director Michael Ostrowski, the plans came before the city because the lot operates as a “constrained site”, a relatively new exemption to the city’s zoning code.
The exemption can be granted if one of three conditions are met:
1) Redevelopment of an existing site requires parking or landscaping to be added, but a building, pavement or storm water facility already exists; or
2) Redevelopment of an existing site would reduce the number of stalls below the required number for the use or reduce aisle widths below the recommended standard; or
3) The existing site has lost area from landscaping due to adjacent road widening or other right-of-way infrastructure improvements.
Ostrowski said Sentry met the second condition, noting the lot currently has 326 parking spaces. Without an exemption granted by the city, 416 stalls would be required of the 124,000 square-foot building, which is considered a constrained site because there’s no room for expansion on the lot.
“The exemption would allow them to potentially modify some of the landscaping or setback requirements,” Ostrowski said, adding any changes could not exceed the lot’s current size.
He said any requests for an exemption must still remain consistent within the city’s zoning code.
Ministry St. Michael’s would also be requesting a similar exemption regarding the setback of its parking lot, which is being reconstructed with the hospital’s expansion of the emergency room. That expansion was announced last November. Ostrowski said that request could come before the city in June.