2 public hearings on plan commission agenda Wednesday

SAM’s House relocation, Walmart online grocery pickup to get review
By: 

Shawano residents will have a chance to give their input Wednesday on two proposals going before the city plan commission.

Shawano Area Matthew 25 is looking to move its emergency homeless shelter to what is currently the New Era House at 105 E. Richmond St.

Also, Walmart is asking permission to build a temporary shelter structure that would allow grocery pickup services at its Shawano store, 1244 E. Green Bay St.

The public hearings begin at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 127 S. Sawyer St.

SAM25 currently leases the building utilized for SAM’s House, 213 E. Green Bay St., from Shawano Municipal Utilities, but has reached the point of needing to expand.

The shelter has entered into an agreement to purchase the New Era House, with a goal of closing the sale by late April, according to Executive Director Jennifer Bisterfeldt.

She said the shelter has the funds to purchase the New Era House, but will need help from the community for renovation.

“Through frugal spending and just being very careful with the finances here, we’ve been able to save the amount that is needed to purchase the building,” Bisterfeldt said, “but we will be doing a capital campaign to raise funds to renovate the building to suit our needs.”

SAM25 began as a grassroots effort by local citizens who were concerned about the growing poverty in the Shawano area. The shelter opened in November 2015.

As of last month, SAM’s House has provided 5,277 nights of stay to 207 adults and 66 children since its opening.

The shelter is seeking a conditional use permit that would allow it to operate in the new facility.

Currently, the New Era House contracts with the state Department of Corrections for placement of recently released convicted sex offenders. Those placements have to be approved by the city’s Sex Offender Appeals Board.

Some offenders have been placed in alternative living situations, also dependent on appeals board approval, but at present the DOC has no other multi-unit facility for placing convicted sex offenders in the city.

The other public hearing Wednesday involves a request from Walmart for a conditional use permit to construct covered parking stalls for grocery pickup services.

Walmart hopes to add a six-bay parking canopy for designated parking for its Online Grocery Initiative, which will allow customers to place their orders online and pick them up at the store without having to leave their car.

The canopy would provide covering during inclement weather for employees loading groceries into customers’ vehicles.