6/12/2018 7:30:00 AM Minocqua Town Board discusses Thoroughfare Road parking Hartzheim: 'I want to know what's happening'
Brian Jopek/Lakeland Times
The new piers on the north side of the bridge on Thoroughfare Road in Minocqua. The town right-of-way discussed at last weeks Minocqua town board meeting is directly to the west of the bridge and also on its north side.
Minocqua town officials will be keeping an eye on parking activity near the public boat ramp next to Thoroughfare Road.
Use of unauthorized access and parking in town right-of-way on the road's north side and immediately west of the bridge was something town chairman Mark Hartzheim wanted to discuss and he provided photos of a pickup truck parked in the area in question.
A property owner nearby, William Campbell, has had a pier installed Hartzheim said is the subject of legal action at the county level.
He explained he and public works director Mark Pertile met with local realtor Mike Meyers several weeks before and expressed concern about the access point being used on town right-of-way.
"It's a difficult area, potentially dangerous area," Hartzheim said. "There's a little curve and a rise ... a trouble spot, potentially."
He said during the course of the meeting with Meyers, he and Pertile were assured that area wouldn't be used for parking.
"I go down to that boat landing maybe once or twice a week and the last three times I went down there, there were vehicles parked in that right-of-way area," Hartzheim said. "I thought it was time for the town board to discuss it."
Meyers, representing Campbell was at last week's town board meeting and he was asked by Hartzheim why that area was still being used and what his "prognosis for what's happening there as far as this access point?"
Meyers said he initiated the meeting with Hartzheim and Pertile after he'd found out from the Oneida County zoning department the town had concerns.
"Your concerns were about the parking there and I assured you it was basically the contractors building the pier," he said. "I mean, they needed to pull in there to drop off materials. That was the only logical spot."
Meyers said he'd tried to drop off building material for the pier project earlier in the year and went through the ice.
"So, the logical spot is the origin of our pier," he said. "Once that pier was completed, to my knowledge, there's never been a car there."
One exception to that, Meyers said, was the week before when permission had been obtained from Oneida County to finish some leveling.
"Any cars that were there since the time you and I talked ... I'm gonna guess were just last week because we got permission from the county to go in there and level those piers out and finish putting on deckboards."
Meyers was insistent no one has used the piers and expressed surprise the matter was on a town board meeting agenda after he met with Hartzheim and Pertile and said the landowner hadn't received notification it would be an agenda item.
Hartzheim explained Meyers had indicated he was the contact person should an issue arise and he said again there were safety issues to be considered.
Meyers asked if it was legal to park there.
"It's not posted," he said. "All the town roads you can't park on are posted. I mean, it's not against town ordinance to park there. The planning commission should be addressing the issue with Mark (Pertile)."
Hartzheim got more direct.
"What are you telling us?" he asked Meyer. "You're not gonna park there but you're gonna park there? I want straight answers, which are hard to get from you."
"No, I'm confused," Meyers said. "I'm not sure why you and I are having this discussion at a town board meeting. I'm not sure why you, Mark (Pertile) and I aren't sitting down discussing the issue."
"Because we sat down once and you told us one thing and I don't want to tell Mark to go cordon that area off or dig a ditch so you can't get in," Hartzheim said. "I want the town board to have the discussion. It's a town board decision at this point."
"Well, your ordinance says it's a planning commission decision," Meyers said.
"So, what you're saying is you do want to park there," Hartzheim said. "Mike, you can't have it both ways. Do you intend to park there or not?"
Meyers said he didn't intend to park there at all.
"Mike, answer the question," Hartzheim said.
"Mark, I explained the situation," Meyers said. "The contractors used that parking."
"Are they done?" Hartzheim asked.
Meyers said they were finished with the exception of a pier extension they're waiting on the county for approval for on that part of the project.
Hartzheim said he was in favor making that area non-accessible once the work on the pier was finally complete.
Supervisor Billy Fried asked Minocqua police chief Dave Jaeger if it was legal to park there and Jaeger said it as long as its covered under ordinance and people don't impede traffic, they could park there.
Supervisor Sue Heil suggested the situation be monitored and address it later if something comes up.
"I want to know what's happening and what we can expect to see in the future," Hartzheim said. "If any use of that access point is going to be limited use by a contractor, a limited amount of work there that needs to be done, then I don't have that big an issue. The last three times I went there and saw vehicles there, it raised a concern."
Brian Jopek may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.