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Business & Economics

Parking concerns stall beer outlet plans

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Dean S. Acheson

MINOCQUA – The Minocqua town board didn’t give any ground -- both literally and figuratively – to a businessman who wants to open a craft beer retail outlet, but who also needs to meet off-street parking requirements.

Representatives of Kirk Bangstad approached the town board Tuesday to see if the board was interested in supporting Bangstad if he seeks legal title to a small triangle of land that abuts his property at the corner of East Front Street and Chippewa Street, in downtown Minocqua.

To open his retail business, Bangstad would need parking spaces for seven vehicles, according to Oneida County zoning director Karl Jennrich. Future plans for the property, once the building has been brought up to code and renovated, is to open a tap room and outside beer garden, according to prior discussions. However, that would require a conditional use permit or CUP.

Bangstad’s architect, Christopher Naumann, said at most there’s only space for four vehicle stalls if they must meet minimum square footage requirements if they can’t use the adjacent parcel for parking. The town plan commission was asked at an earlier meeting to waive the on-premise parking requirement, but members refused to make that recommendation to the town and county.

Encroaching on the “porkchop” shaped parcel would allow them to meet those parking stall requirements, Naumann said. However, there’s no definitive answer as to owns the parcel. The state Department of Transportation has told Bangstad’s attorney, Collin Schaefer, that the state doesn’t own it. Apparently, there is no record showing that the town of Minocqua has ever been deeded the property after Chippewa Street was reconstructed some years ago.

Nonetheless, the porkchop parcel is in the town’s right-of-way of Chippewa Street (northbound lane of U.S. Highway 51). Town chairman Mark Hartzheim asked the board if members wanted to discontinue the municipal right-of-way or transfer ownership? None offered to do so.

Bangstad, a former state Assembly candidate and brewer, plans to sell beer for off premise consumption. The attorney, speaking by phone from his Cedarburg office, said customers would be “in and out” in short fashion. “We want to be good neighbors,” he said of meeting parking requirements. “We want to be flexible.”

Future plans for the property, once the building has been brought up to code and renovated, is to open a tap room and outside beer garden, according to prior dicussions. However, that would require a conditional use permit or CUP.

Hartzheim again questioned why the property owner wasn’t asking for the CUP at the same time as the other permit. “I don’t see how you can consider making a decision on phase one (building renovation) because it really locks you into a course of action involving phase two,” he said of possible plans for an outside beer garden.

He hinted that the board may be open to allowing Bangstad to use the adjacent parcel for ingress and egress of vehicles. He also said the town is looking for “a good faith effort” to maximize parking on-site.

After an hour of discussion, Hartzheim directed the architect to try again to come up with sufficient parking spaces to allow the administrative review permit to be granted for the store opening.

The town chairman offered that repairs and code updates to the building could be made in the meantime. The matter will return to the town board at a later date.

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