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Well-known Minocqua restaurant to get major remodel

Minocqua Yacht Club
Minocqua Yacht Club Facebook
Minocqua Yacht Club

The new owners of the Minocqua Yacht Club have announced plans to extensively remodel the landmark restaurant bar and grill.

The restaurant sits on the shore of Lake Minocqua on the south end of the U.S. Highway bridge in Minocqua.

Austin Olson and his wife Haley purchased the restaurant last May.

They came to the town board meeting with their attorney Tim Melms Tuesday to get support for their redevelopment plans.

Melms explained the conditional use permit for construction has not yet been formally denied.

However, the county zoning staff has notified the owners that their project as proposed exceeds the maximum allowable impervious surface area.

In simple terms, anything that doesn’t allow rain to pass through into the ground is considered impervious. That includes buildings, blacktopped parking areas and sidewalks. The goal of that zoning regulation is to protect waterways from pollutants carried by runoff.

The plans show a large deck on top of a reconstructed building. Olson said the plumbing and electrical services would be updated, as well as Americans with Disabilities Act compliant bathrooms.

Overall, the footprint of the building would remain the same. They plan to abandon the wet boathouse and then construct a dry boathouse.

The owners are seeking a variance from the board of adjustment so they can move forward with the project.

“We are asking for the town blessing for this project,” said Melms. “It goes a long way for the board of adjustment.”

While town chairman Mark Hartzheim pointed out the unusual step of bypassing the normal review process via the town planning commission, he added: “I am okay with this going forward. We are not telling the board of adjustment not to go through with your normal (review) procedure.”

Supervisors Bill Stengel and John Thompson voiced support of the building plans as presented.

“Personally, I like the idea,” said Thompson. “(It’s) making a significant investment in the area.”

County supervisor Bill Fried from the audience spoke strongly in favor of the proposal. Too often, he said, business owners are “handcuffed” by state and local regulations when it comes to plans to improve their properties.

“We want them to be successful,” he said. “Support from the town is huge,” he said of getting county approval.

In the end, the board agreed to notify the board of adjustment that they had no opposition to the conceptional plans for the building itself. Supervisor Brian Fricke expressed concern about the dry boathouse proposal.

If the variance is granted, construction would start next October. Olson said the Yacht Club would be closed for the three to four months that it would take to complete the project.

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