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Minocqua Plan Commission approves CUP for Bayview Condominiums

August 30, 2019 by Kayla Houp

After nearly an hour-long discussion, the Minocqua Plan Commission approved a conditional use permit (CUP) by James Rein which revised and amended a previous CUP for the Bayview Condominiums at its meeting Tuesday.

The discussion included adding several conditions to add what the commission considered necessary restrictions to the CUP.

“This project has been in development for several years and I’d say at a partial standstill for a while, too, regarding the second building that was approved to go on the property,” town chairman Mark Hartzheim said. “So, basically this is open to discussion and a new CUP to propose how to proceed from here without the construction of the second building.”

Hartzheim said a new CUP was required to incorporate the changes proposed.

“The plan is, they’re not gonna build a second building,” Jim Rein said. “The building to the south that we were planning on building is not going to be built anymore.”

Rein said part of the reason they had the storage unit to the south of the boats and overflow parking was to have overflow parking and storage space for the two residental buildings.

“So now that we’re removing that second residential building, we’re just going to have the one that’s built currently, what we’re gonna do is remove that storage structure from down below and that’ll be sold separately, or run separately, or leased separately as its own entity or business,” Rein said.

In order to accommodate the overflow parking required by the county, a parking area would be placed where the former Hunter Realty used to sit along U.S. Highway 51.

“We’re kind of reducing the size of the paved parking area up on top of the hill to accommodate just enough for 12 parking spaces for the building,” Rein said. “We’ll remove that thru driveway that goes down to Lakeview Dr. to accommodate for storm water.”

Rein said they had also removed another expansion area, where Leather & Lace used to sit, and had instead attached the frontage to the condominiums, giving the condominium 441 feet of frontage instead of the 300 feet it had before.

Additionally, Rein said the hope was to install six additional piers to handle up to 12 berthing spaces since the storage space was being removed 

“The issue we have with that is we had looked at going to marina status, which would allow us to have over that number of berthing spaces, but we don’t really wanna have marina status because it’s messy,” Rein said.

According to Rein, this was less than the boating spaces the parcels have had in the past.

“Where are you at in the process of this?” commission member Brian Fricke asked. “Is this divided up already into shoreline? Or is this being proposed?”

Hartzheim said it was all being proposed.

Rein said how it would “have to happen” is going through the CUP process since there wasn’t an avenue within the county to amend the existing CUP, and he had to  submit a new one and take it to the commission, town, and county.

“If the county approves it before we can record the condominium amendment, we have to do this certified survey maps (CSM), which the county already has, but we have to do the CSM to change the boundaries and record that as part of recording the condominium documents just so we get everything in proper order,” Rein said.

“Lot 2 is not part of the original CUP, is it?” commission member Tom Church asked.

Rein said it was as an expansion opportunity.

Hartzheim said it was in his understanding of previous discussions the parcel was labeled as an expansion area, but had not been approved.

“Suppose Lot 2 gets sold, and you’ve got a pier sticking out there that essentially belongs to the condo development, what is the person have as a choice if he buys Lot 2?” Church asked.

Rein said it would just be an “off water parcel” if the CUP was approved and all the frontage was owned by the condominium owners.

“I don’t see a downside to that. They’re only asking for two piers on the entire property,” Hartzheim said.

Fricke said they were allowed three piers and nine berths.

Hartzheim said as part of the CUP and the approval process, what was being proposed could be what it was limited to.

“Basically we’re taking a property that has, I think a lot of ongoing objections and issues, that we’re trying to turn into the least objectionable situation,” Hartzheim said.

‘A lot to discuss’

Over the course of an hour, the commission raised several points of concern which would later lend themselves as conditions for the CUPs approval.

Of these concerns, the primary points of attention were with the county pier regulations.

Fricke said there was a situation on the channel regarding piers the county was fighting.

“The shoreline there, yes you’re saying at this point in time that it’s only going to be 12 piers, but how many piers are actually allowed in the future?” Fricke asked.

“The only way this gets approved is if the county zoning committee actually says, ‘OK, we will allow it,’ with the CUP,” Rein said. “Then we’re locked in. We can’t change it, we can’t add to it, because the CUP is what controls it.”

Rein said if the state came along and changed the pier ordinance to allow for so many piers, because the CUP was on the property set the amount of piers allowed, the CUP would have to be resubmitted to reflect the changes.

“Basically that’s what you’re doing today is coming back and amending your current CUP,” commission member Phil Albert said. “So, if something changes in the future you could do the same thing and correct the CUP.”

“There’s a lot to discuss, so we’ll be here a while,” Hartzheim said.

As for the storage unit, Rein said it no longer had lake frontage.

“And this doesn’t change the usability of that property?” Church asked. “You’re just taking it off the books.”

Hartzheim said the property would no longer be attached to the condominiums, but would be independent and used separately.

“I do want to make clear again, for the record, there was a lot of misinformation being shared at one time by somebody involved with this development, that this property could eventually become a marina and a boat landing constructed to a potential owner of this marina operation,” Hartzheim said. “I just want to reiterate that there will not be a boat landing built here.”

Rein said he as a representative of the owners wasn’t pitching that, but he couldn’t say that somebody else wasn’t.

According to Rein, the berthing spaces were controlled by the condominium association.

“Right now, currently, in that unit, in 12 units, there’s six that have boats,” Rein said. “Do you actually need all 12 berthing spaces at this time? No, but they want to have the ability to, if they do sell it to somebody, they do have the ability to have a slip.”

Hartzheim said ideally, there’d be one assigned to each unit regardless of whether it was being used or not.

A non-compliant request

The question of where the county was with its legal status over the pier ordinance was brought up at the meeting.

“So, Pete, with 441 feet of frontage, how many piers and berths are allowed per the current status?” commission member Bill Stengl asked.

“Under the current ordinance, they’d be permitted three piers and nine berths,” Oneida County planning and zoning assistant director Pete Wegner said. “And then there’s other parts of the ordinance, under Section 9.98 that this proposal, at the moment, doesn’t meet.”

One of those parts required the piers to be as consolidated as practicable and be within the viewing area.

Wegner said under the current configuration, the piers were not consolidated together and were not within the viewing corridor.

“So, relative to the piers, how can we approve a non-compliant request?” Stengl asked.

According to Oneida County planning and zoning director Karl Jennrich, the planning and zoning committee had the “ultimate authority” to approve or deny a CUP and the CUP could be subject to challenge.

“We just wanted to let you know what the ordinance says in relative to number of piers, location, access to the water,” Wegner said, stating Rein could put in the piers if it were closer to the others.

“Anything beyond that is something that you and the planning and zoning committee can approve, and again, there’s always that possibility that some aggrieved party could appeal, and I don’t know if that appeal time is 30 days from issuance, or any time in the next 10 years,” Wegner said.

Albert asked if the two piers and four berths on the south end, and the pier and two berths on the north end fell within the viewing corridor.

“That, and the piers have to be consolidated as close together as practical,” Wegner said.

“We’re fine with that,” attorney John Houlihan said. “We just thought that, again, so it did not appear too congested. As it is the rest of the shoreline, we’d spread it out a little bit, but if that’s what we have to do, that’s what we’ll do.”

Rein said he had spoken to the condominium association, which felt the piers should be spaced out so it wouldn’t look congested.

Hartzheim said he had less of a problem with how the piers were configured and he would “almost rather” see it spread out.

Rein said the CUP could address the non-compliance.

Stengl asked, if the commission were to approve the CUP, how it would affect the current litigation going on with the Oneida County pier ordinance.

Jennrich said that was a question for counsel.

Hartzheim said they could at least go up to nine berthing spaces.

“You could add three under any circumstance,” Hartzheim said.

Rein said the county got rid of the ordinance, it would permit double boat slips for personal watercraft.

Hartzheim said in the original CUP, rather than defining the number of slips, the recommendation was to permit whatever the county allowed at the time.

“If this plays out where we can only approve nine now, and then somewhere in the future a court case says the county can’t regulate like that, that you can now have 14, 16, 18, then you’d have the ability to do that. So, the county code could flex with the approval,” Hartzheim said. “And that’s better ground for us to stand on, because we can defend that. That’s how it’s going to play out anyway.”

Hartzheim said he saw it as a good resolution to the status quo.

Parking concerns

Hartzheim said an overriding concern would still be space.

“I think we’d have to really have some restrictions on what goes up here,” Hartzheim said, referring to the additional parking spaces.

Church presented Rein, Houlihan, and the commission with some comments he had put together addressing the parking concerns on the property.

“The 12 common parking lot, those spaces are private and reserved for condo owners and guests only,” Church said. “Licensed vehicles allowed in the common outdoor spaces are personal vehicles only, including cars and light trucks. No RVs, campers, motor homes, heavy trucks, motorcycles, ATVs/UTVs, or snowmobiles are allowed.”

Church outlined several other points addressing concerns with the parking lot in terms of abandoned vehicles and snow maintenance.

After some conversation, the commission reviewed Church’s list of parking recommendations conditional to the approval of the CUP.

“I didn’t understand why not motorcycles,” Hartzheim said. 

Church said they didn’t want to get “two dozen” motorcycles parked in one spot and overtake the area as guests.

Fricke said it was a licensed vehicle that paid road tax.

Church said he wouldn’t have issues with temporary parking, and wanted to “cut down” the space looking like a used car lot.

Hartzheim said they could prohibit consignment or used car sales.

“How do we wanna massage this?” Hartzheim asked.

“What if you say, ‘No vehicles that extend beyond the size of the parking space? The 10x22 parking space?” Stengl asked. 

Rein said he didn’t think it would be the “end of the world” if condo owners used their parking spaces as they saw fit while they stayed.

“But I know what you’re saying,” Rein said. “You don’t want to have a junker vehicle parked up there with no license on there sitting there forever.”

Church said he was “looking for people looking for loopholes” and that he had “no problem” making it more restrictive than others may think is necessary to provide that “protection.”

Rein said he was looking at how the county would enforce it.

Hartzheim said he did think the commission could prohibit used car sales or inoperable or junk vehicles in the lot while establishing the parking spaces were for condo owners and their guests only.

“But I don’t have a problem with owner’s trailer, or motorcycle, or small Class B RV, as long as it’s owners and guests,” Hartzheim said. “I think it puts reasonable limitations on it.”

“Part of my reasoning for being this restrictive was I’ve always objected to that whole development blocking off the view of the lake, and even with the other building it’d be worse, so I’m trying to eliminate anything happening down the road that will take away from that viewing corridor,” Church said. “And if we have to make it more restrictive, we have to make it more restrictive.”

Hartzheim said one thing the commission should think about was making sure the spaces were for vehicles only.

“It should just be licensed vehicles only,” Rein said and anything in a temporary status wouldn’t pose a problem.

Conditions for approval

After the hour of discussion, the commission had finalized a list of conditions for approval for the CUP.

Hartzheim had mentioned he wanted an engineering company to review the storm water system as a condition for the CUP.

As for the parking concerns, the commission ultimately decided to limit parking to licensed vehicles and trailers of owners and guests that didn’t extend beyond the dimensions of the alloted parking space, with used car or consignment sales, and inoperable or junk vehicles prohibited.

“No leasing of piers ... piers must be compliant with Oneida County planning and zoning ordinance. Piers and berthing spaces to comply with 9.98 Oneida County zoning and shoring protection ordinance at all times,” Wegner said.

Hartzheim clarified piers could not be leased outside of condo ownership.

Kayla Houp may be reached via email at [email protected]

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