Town Board forwards application for addition
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
The Minocqua Town Board met Tuesday in the Minocqua Center’s gymnasium instead of the board room upstairs to have enough room for all concerned parties to be on hand when the town board considered a proposal from the Marshfield Clinic to build a 72,000-square foot hospital addition to its current clinic in the town.
The Marshfield Clinic is seeking a conditional use permit for a hospital that would have a surgery center, 12 in-patient beds, emergency room, imaging and lab. The proposed single-story addition, which has an estimated price tag from $30-35 million, would be built to the southwest of the existing clinic and designed for potential future expansion, vertically and horizontally, according to the permit application.
The Minocqua Plan Commission supported the project at its meeting Feb. 28 when commission members found it met the requirements for a conditional use permit application and also recommended conditions for approval before forwarding the proposal to the town board for consideration.
After hearing from supporters and opponents of the project for about two hours Tuesday, the town board agreed to forward the permit application for possible final approval to the Oneida County Planning and Development Committee so that the county could determine if the application meets the permit requirements, said Billy Fried, a Minocqua town supervisor who is also on the county Planning and Development Committee.
If approved, the project would place another hospital in the Minocqua-Woodruff area in close proximity to the existing Howard Young Medical Center that is part of Ministry Health Care and owned by Ascension. Representatives of HYMC have expressed objections to the Marshfield Clinic’s proposal. HYMC also recently announced plans for its own multi-million-dollar renovation and construction project.
Fried said he expects the discussion on how the Marshfield Clinic’s plans could affect healthcare to continue at the county level as it will be up to the Planning and Development Committee to decide the permit application’s possible effect on wellness in the community.
Other matters to be looked at by the county with the permit application, Fried said, include determining whether the zoning district in which the Marshfield Clinic is located in Minocqua is proper for a hospital addition as well as reviewing the effect the project could have on the flow of traffic along Townline Road.
County land use specialist Kathy Ray said the recommended permit conditions include installing a berm as a sound barrier on the north side of where a helipad would be located, having the appropriate signs in place for people to find their way to the hospital facility and also meeting state and county requirements with the project.
Though the county Planning and Development Committee planned to hold a public hearing on the permit application on the evening of April 5 in Minocqua, Ray said there is a potential scheduling conflict for that meeting with the Minocqua Town Board tentatively planning to meet at that date and time because of moving the board meeting usually held on the first Tuesday of the month to a day later, so it wouldn’t be held on the evening of the April 4 spring general election.
Ray and Fried both noted the Planning and Development Committee will decide when to hold that public hearing when it has its next regularly scheduled meeting March 15.