The Minocqua Plan Commission Tuesday approved an administrative review permit application submitted by Kirk Bangstad, owner of Minocqua Brewing Company. 
Over the course of the past year, Bangstad sold the restaurant location next to Torpy Park which is now occupied by Oakfire Pizza. 
Keeping the Minocqua Brewing Company name, Bangstad purchased a former Texaco gas station on the southeast corner of Chippewa and Front streets, the intent being to have the structure be the new home for the Minocqua Brewing Company.
This particular ARP application is not for the completed new site  plans, but for “phase one” of the overall project, phase one limited to the retail space within the building. 
The ultimate goal of this phase, said Christopher Naumann, who was representing Bangstad at the meeting, is to be able to operate solely as a retail location for Minocqua Brewing Company products. 
Phase two covers outside construction which includes patio seating and a “tasting room beer garden.” 
Plan commission chairman Mark Hartzheim expressed his concerns with phase one of the proposed plan. 
“You’re looking at phase one but you have to envision the long term,” he said. “Phase one is being developed in such a way to enable phase two. We can’t not think about phase two, and phase one is the big development to eliminate the parking requirements so phase two can happen.”
The ARP application included sufficient parking space for all vehicles to be serviced off the right-of-way, but containing less than six parking spaces. 
Minocqua Brewing Company was essentially looking for a waiver of the parking requirement incorporated by the town in order to have street parking and other public parking spaces available. 
That waiver was not granted, and the plan commission would like to see a revised parking plan that includes additional parking options for on-site parking. 
There are other issues Bangstad faces with the application, among them a concern regarding a parcel of land off of Chippewa Street, which is a right-of-way lot. 
In order to use this right-of-way lot as an access point to the property, the project would need approval from the owner of the lot. 
The owner of the lot is currently in question. 
Naumann said the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) told him the town owns the lot. 
“We’ve been told by the town that the DOT owns it,” he said. “So, there is a little bit of non-clarity as to how we would be able to access or utilize that portion for either access or use. I know it would be in our interest if we could ... put in a small parking lot that would service up to four or five vehicles on the southern end of that lot.”
Hartzheim expressed his concerns with the ARP, saying “it really doesn’t matter” who owns the right-of-way parcel, and there are still some important details to consider.
“This isn’t like the main drag,” he said. “It’s one of our main drags. It’s not like the main drag where you have signaled intersections and a little bit slower traffic. This is 10,000 cars a day going through here …  I do think parking is at such a premium downtown to basically just say you don’t have to provide any. It puts additional stress on other businesses, particularly those who have room and have dedicated space for parking. It appears to me that there is a way to incorporate some parking here and I think that we should do that. I think there is a lot more to be known about these accesses, and if you want to confirm who owns the right-of-way, that’s fine, but I don’t think it really changes how we would look at this.”
Plan commission member Mark Pertile made a motion to approve the ARP application, a motion that wouldn’t waive the parking requirement incorporated by the town.
His motion was passed and then Hartzheim made another motion – seconded by Pertile – for additional review of revised parking by the plan commission. 
Trevor Greene may be reached via email at trevorgreene@lakelandtimes.com.