GREENWOOD TWP - An overflowing crowd filled the town hall Monday as the Greenwood Planning Commission considered a conditional use permit (CUP) request from Alissa Sundberg Horan for the reopening of …
GREENWOOD TWP - An overflowing crowd filled the town hall Monday as the Greenwood Planning Commission considered a conditional use permit (CUP) request from Alissa Sundberg Horan for the reopening of the restaurant and bar, and the resumption of outdoor music on the deck, at Bayview Lodge.
Every available chair in the hall was in use, and dozens who didn’t get there in time for a seat lined the walls and crowded into the doorway. Many in the audience were sporting stickers stating their support or the business, which has not been open for regular business the last two summers.
The crowd erupted in a large round of applause when, an hour later, the commission approved the CUP on a unanimous vote.
Planning Director Julia Maki first reviewed the main points of the new CUP application , which set strict limits on the times (6 – 9 p.m.) that outdoor amplified music would be permitted, how noise would be monitored, the addition of noise-controlling blankets to help keep the sound from travelling across the lake, and how MPCA noise standards would be enforced.
She noted that the plan met the standards of the township’s goal and policy plan, the Lake Vermilion Plan, and the township ordinance, and stated the use would be compatible and should not impact the integrity of the neighborhood.
Conditions to be placed on the permit include that they comply with the state noise limits from the MPCA, must monitor and keep a log of noise readings, must submit results of any monitoring to the township within 48 hours if requested, provide adequate and safe parking, and comply with any health department/septic permits. The CUP does give the township the right to revoke the permit if the conditions are not being met.
The hearing, though packed, was conducted with little controversy. Commission Chair Jeff Lind asked that those wishing to give public comment limit themselves to three minutes, and all complied. The commission also noted they had received many written comments, mostly in favor of the proposal.
Fifteen people gave public comments at the meeting, the overwhelming number were in support of the proposal. Judging by the applause given to those speaking, about three-quarters of those in attendance were highly supportive of the project.
Many spoke about the importance of Bayview to the community.
Pam Lundstrom, who has lived in the community for 37 years, said she worked at Bayview while in high school, as did her own children.
“Our kids got to go to college with those earnings,” she said.
She noted she often enjoyed sitting out on their dock listening to the music coming across the lake, but when it got too loud and she needed to sleep, she would just put in earplugs.
Lundstrom also noted that Alissa worked with local groups and clubs to organize events.
“I’ve been so disappointed in this community,” said Lundstrom. “We used to work together. It is Easter, a time of forgiving. Let’s see if she can go on and build this business back up.”
Barb Lofquist, who lives across the bay from Bayview, said while she loved the old Bayview with indoor music, she now felt like they had lost the use of their outdoor space when music was being blasted from the deck. She said she felt the CUP request was disingenuous.
“The owner refused to follow reasonable solutions two years ago,” she said. “The noise is distorted and horrible.”
But many others spoke in favor of the proposal, even some nearby neighbors and those who were vociferous opponents in previous years.
Tom Hartley, who owns a cabin adjacent to the property, said he still believes that Bayview is an asset to the community. While he wished that any amplified music be indoors, not on the deck, he said he was hoping to start a new relationship with Bayview and wished Horan great success.
Another neighbor, someone who recently purchased a cabin on Bayview Drive, said his main concern was the maintenance of the entrance road, which is a private drive, as well as security during large events.
Rick Worringer noted that it seemed everyone was in agreement that they wanted Bayview to reopen.
“The only issue was the disturbance coming from the amplified music,” he said. “We asked to move it indoors.”
Worringer said that he thought this compromise plan was “upstanding.”
“I think this is a good plan,” he said.
Others spoke about the volunteer work Horan does in her community, who often volunteers her catering skills for area organizations and fundraisers.
“If it’s a good cause, she is there to fight,” said Tim Mattson, who is a seasonal camper at McKinley Park Campground.
Dave Rose, who is currently trying to get permission to construct a RV Park in Tower, noted that noise control is certainly possible.
“I’ve done it,” he said, discussing a snowmobile race he put on in the suburban Twin Cities area.
Commission members made some tweaks to the application, granting extended hours for specific holiday events, including the Fourth of July Flotilla, and Memorial and Labor Day weekends.
Maki noted that while the commission cannot tell Horan how to run her business, they may come back and review the application at any time if substantive complaints are received. In addition, the commission will review the CUP annually, for the next three years.
The vote resolves three years of controversy surrounding the popular lakeside business.
After a complaint-generating summer season in 2013, due to late-night noise and disturbances from the outdoor deck and grounds on the resort (when it was under direct management from a previous partner no longer involved in the business), the township required the business to re-apply for a new CUP, since the original CUP granted to the previous owner in 1999 did not address the issue of outdoor music, only the construction of new decks and a restaurant and resort expansion that was never completed. The township also tried to regulate the outdoor music via the business’s liquor license, which is actually issued by St. Louis County.
The issue of whether or not the old CUP was valid, and then a partially-completed CUP process in 2013 further muddied the waters when Horan withdrew her application and opted not to open as a public restaurant/bar in 2014 and 2015 and simply operate Bayview as a resort.
“I am extremely happy with how the meeting went,” Horan said. “It was very positive and showed how many people missed and support Bayview.”
Horan said they hope to open in the middle of May. She is still waiting for the final approval of the liquor license, and some work that needs to be done on the septic systems will be completed as soon as weather permits.
Bayview plans to be open Thursday through Sunday through the summer season. The resort also offers rental units year-round.