Zoning Change for Museums in Waupun

2/29/12 – A change in the Waupun city ordinance governing zoning that would allow for museums to be operated in residential neighborhoods was approved in committee last night. The change was requested by the Waupun Historical Society which is planning to expand into the former Central Wisconsin Christian Elementary building. CWC donated the structure to the society late last year and agreed to sell them the land for $20,000. Closing was this past weekend. Museum officials originally requested the ordinance be changed to allow for not only a museum in a residential neighborhood but also everything that might be in the museum like a gift shop, art gallery and conference rooms. City officials expressed concern that the wording could allow any business to open in a residential neighborhood so “museum” is now the only exception in the proposed ordinance change. Waupun City Attorney Dan Vande Zande says because gift shops and art exhibits are traditionally associated with museums anyway, it is not necessary to name them specifically. In addition, if the museum wants to host an exhibit outside, it would have to apply for a conditional use permit. First and final reading on the zoning ordinance change will be held at Waupun’s next regular council meeting.