Committee also favors clarifying zoning code language with permits for hospitals
STAR JOURNAL REPORT
A public hearing before Oneida County’s Planning and Development Committee to consider an application from the Marshfield Clinic to build a 72,000-square-foot hospital addition to its current clinic in Minocqua is being tentatively rescheduled for late April in the Minocqua Center’s gymnasium, said county planning and zoning director Karl Jennrich, who also noted the committee will finalize the new hearing date at its next meeting Wednesday.
Jennrich said the hearing is being rescheduled because one of the five committee members has a conflict and would have been unable to attend when the hearing was original set for the evening of April 6. He also noted delaying the hearing by three weeks would also provide enough time to amend the county code clarifying that the Marshfield Clinic property in Minocqua is zoned properly for a hospital.
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 proposal received the backing of both the Minocqua Plan Commission and the Town Board after both bodies heard from supporters and opponents before the permit application was forwarded to the county’s Planning and Zoning Committee, which could give final approval to the permit.
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.
In addition to the potential effect the hospital addition could have on competition between the two healthcare organizations, HYMC has raised the issue of zoning as to whether it allows such a project.
Jennrich earlier this month provided the Planning and Development Committee with a memo in which he requested an amendment to the zoning code to clarify that a hospital would be allowed as a conditional use.
Though a zoning code revision in 2000 didn’t explicitly incorporate the administrative and conditional uses for business districts that had been in effect in the county dating back to the 1950s, Jennrich is on record as stating he believes a hospital would be a permitted or conditional use for how the Marshfield Clinic property in Minocqua is zoned.
He also noted the question as to whether the property is zoned properly would become a “moot point” upon those changes being made to the county’s zoning code.
Jennrich said those changes would require a public hearing, which committee members agreed to hold April 6 during the day at the Courthouse in Rhinelander, and then could be forwarded to the full County Board for final approval at its April 18 meeting.