County committee to take more time reviewing additional information
BY KEVIN BONESKE
A decision on an application from the Marshfield Clinic to build a 72,000-square-foot hospital addition to its current clinic in Minocqua won’t be happening this Wednesday to allow the Oneida County Planning and Development Committee more time to review additional information it has received related to the proposal, committee members have confirmed.
The committee had the matter on its agenda for a possible decision Wednesday after having conducted an on-site inspection May 10 of the Marshfield Clinic property in Minocqua, but committee chairman Scott Holewinski requested the delay to review supplemental information committee members requested, such as the storm water management plan for the project.
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.
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 has its own multi-million-dollar renovation and construction project in the works.
In addition to debating what impact the Marshfield Clinic’s project would have on the health, safety and welfare of the area, another one of the issues that has been raised is the potential effect the hospital addition could have on competition between the two healthcare organizations.
Following a public hearing held April 27 in Minocqua and a subsequent committee meeting May 3 in Rhinelander, committee members put off a decision and asked representatives of both organizations to provide answers to a variety of additional questions, which also include the effect the project could have on staffing levels, traffic flow in the area, how often helicopters would fly in and out, etc.
Though the permit application is on Wednesday’s agenda, committee members Billy Fried and Dave Hintz both noted they expect another date will be set to make a decision after they have time to review the additional information they requested.
The hospital addition proposal previously 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 Development Committee, which also heard from those supporters and opponents as well as others with an interest in the project.
Though the Planning and Development Committee has the authority to give the permit application final approval, the committee’s decision could be appealed to the county’s Board of Adjustment.