April 25, 2022

Council denies redevelopment of TCF property

The city council unanimously passed a resolution denying a Planned Unit Development (PUD) concept plan for 200 E. Lake Street.

The council passed the resolution following the recommendation of the planning commission. The commission cited concerns about mechanized parking, traffic, parking located under the water table, lack of public benefit and obstructing views among other issues. More than 100 pages of public comments were received and several members of the public spoke against the concept at the meeting in February. 

The concept before the council Tuesday included an underground mechanical parking system, 32 condominiums and retail space. There would also be pocket parks on the property, and 25-foot facade breaks every 150 feet.

During Tuesday’s meeting, applicant Curt Fretham, chief manager of Lakewest Development, said there were several aspects of his concept which were misrepresented to the commission. He believes the miscommunication caused the commission to recommend denial.

Among the information Fretham said was incorrect was stating the concept had 133 parking stalls. He said he is proposing 230 stalls. The commission was told the concept would remove the sidewalk on the west end of the site, which he said will be built back with a width reduction. He said the plaza would be entirely handicap accessible which he said one of the commissioners thought it would not be. Finally, he noted the traffic study he had conducted confirmed the plan meets city requirements.

“I think staff can concur all those things are true. Can you please do that?” Fretham asked.

“We are not prepared to verify those facts at this time,” responded Emily Goellner, community development director.

After a back-and-forth with Mayor Johanna Mouton on whether the council had accurate information on the concept, Fretham said he commissioned architects to come up with alternatives. Mouton asked Fretham to clarify whether he was making a proposal. She reiterated that the council would only be considering the concept reviewed by the planning commission and whether or not to adopt its resolution for denial. Fretham said he had seen applicants propose modifications to council before.

“This is more than a modification. This is a completely different design, sir,” Mouton said.

City manager Jeffrey Dahl said Fretham’s new proposal was submitted late the week prior to the meeting and was not included in the agenda packet.

Fretham agreed to continue his presentation without the new modifications.

“I hope that you can see we’ve applied these principles of being a good listener. Our request is reasonable,” he said.

Mouton asked staff if it had a response to Fretham’s statement about his concept being misrepresented to the planning commission. Planner Eric Zweber said he agreed the traffic study was reviewed and meets city standards, but he disagreed with Fretham’s other three points.

The council voted unanimously to deny the application, citing similar concerns as the planning commission.

“I am disappointed today in how this meeting started. I am disappointed in the tone that was taken,” Mouton said. “You can insult me all day long, sir. I don’t accept that for the people that provided the recommendations after many hours of deliberation and heard and read every piece of information that you provided them.”

In other business

The council moved to consider an application by Comcast for a cable franchise to operate a cable system with cable services in Wayzata. Comcast, the largest cable television operator in the country, has 110 franchises in Minnesota. 

The company is proposing a 750 MHz system, largely using fiber optic communication cable, which would provide more than 200 channels and other services delivered via cable. If the application is approved, Comcast would begin construction this summer, bringing customers live as it goes, with completion by third quarter 2023.

The council approved a driveway setback variance for 445 Bovey Road. City engineer Mike Kelly said the driveway crosses a large sewer main. Without allowing the setback variance, there could be an impact on the city’s ability to access the main. The variance will also save several trees on the property. Mouton was the lone vote against approval.

The council unanimously denied four applications meant to redevelop a lot at 1022 E. Wayzata Boulevard. The former gas station location land locks a small, non-conforming residential property which the applicant also purchased to redevelop. Staff recommended the applicant combine both parcels into one.

The applicant was proposing a Caribou Coffee location, which would largely cater to drive thru orders, alongside an Urban Wok. The planning commission recommended denial at its meeting in March.

Residents of the neighborhood spoke against the plan, citing noise from the drive-thru microphone, traffic and the loss of the property as a buffer.

Councilor Alex Plechash said combining the lot seems to have some adverse effects for the neighborhood. He noted the property owner has a right to try to develop the lot.

“If you’re wanting to keep it as a buffer, why don’t you buy it?” he asked. “He owns it and he has a right to propose what he wants to do. If you want that lot to remain a buffer you should buy that lot.”

March 25, 2022

Providence wins Class AA Girls Basketball Title

Lions down Fergus Falls 55-53

Providence Academy led wire to wire but survived a late threat by Fergus to win the Class AA Girls State Basketball Championship 55-53.

The Lions avenged a loss in the title game a year ago, earning the program its first state title since 2012. They entered the state tournament as the top seed in Class AA. The game was held March 19 from the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena.

Providence led by as much as 11 points in the first half. The Owls continued to climb back and close the gap, bringing it to two points with just two minutes left in the game. This was the smallest point differential of the game since 14 minutes left in the first half.

Junior Grace Counts got the Lions out to a strong start, scoring 13 points to go into halftime up 26-22. She finished with 17 points, 6 boards and 6 assists.

Senior Maria Counts took over in the second half of the game. She dominated inside with 16 of her team-high 19 points coming after the break. Her incredible run to close the game out included scoring 10 of the Lions’ last 12 points. She also had 9 rebounds and 6 assists. 

Eighth-grader and future phenom Maddyn Greenway came up with the crucial defensive rebound as the Owls made their bid to make it a one-score game. She was fouled and sent to the line. She went one-of-two from the stripe to stretch the lead back to five points. Greenway finished with 15 points.

Brooke Hohenecker and Emma Millerbernd also contributed to the game in crucial moments.

Providence shot 40-percent from the field and 69-percent from the line. They held a 36-30 advantage on the glass and forced 12 Owls turnovers. The Lions posted a 17-10 assist to turnover ratio.

The Owls got a huge performance from senior Ellie Colbeck who scored a game-high 41 points. She played the entire 36 minutes of the game, also pitching in 4 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

March 24, 2022

Council workshops options for the Muni

The city council discussed different options for the Wayzata Bar and Grill, and Wine and Spirits during a workshop on Tuesday.

Aurora Yager, administrative services director, presented an analysis of the operations for the Muni’s bar as well as its liquor store component. The presentation included a breakdown of both operations’ financials year-to-year as well as a projection of what selling or leasing the space would return to the city.

According to Yager’s report, the bar and grill did more than $3.6 million in sales for an excess of 70-percent gross profit in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed things down in 2020 and 2021 but the gross profit of net sales remained at 68-percent or better.

The average benefit to the city from the bar and grill is $91,814 to the general fund and $139,730 toward capital improvements.

For wine and spirits, sales exceeded $3.4 million in 2020 and more than 28-percent gross profit of net sales. The average sales is more than $2.9 million at about 26-percent gross profit. Wine and spirits operations contribute an average of $83,956 to the general fund and $110,914 in transfers to the capital fund.

“Historically these operations have funded portions of other city staff salaries,” Yager said. “We’re hoping to determine if you feel comfortable continuing operations. Then we can talk about making the operations the best they can be. Or we can explore other options.”

The other options discussed for both sides of the Muni were leasing the space or selling the building. Yager created a five-year projection for the net cash the city would receive under each option. The option bringing the most net cash to the city is continuing operations on both fronts. The five-year total projection for the bar and grill is more than $1.5 million compared to $266,962 for leasing and $980,738 for selling. For wine and spirits, continuing operations tallies more than $1.9 million over five years.

“We still have our existing debt that we will be paying off,” Yager said. “Selling the entire property would get us an influx of cash but we are still paying off our bond payments.”

The city has owned or been involved in the operations of the Muni in some way since it was founded in 1947. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Wayzata staple.

“I’d be interested in exploring another model and see an example of a contract Minneapolis has put together for something like (the Muni),” said Mayor Johanna Mouton. “This is an institution in town. I think it warrants really doing a risk/benefit analysis.”

“If it comes back and we take a look at a Minneapolis contract and all of the sudden we eliminate costs A, B, C, D — we step back and all of the sudden we’re making as much if not more money, that’s going to be a tough choice frankly,” Mouton continued.

The council was largely in agreement on continuing operations and finding ways to improve operations while still being involved with the Muni. Council member Jeff Buchanan was not present for the workshop.

Councilor Cathy Iverson said she would need more information to consider before she would entertain other options.

“I’d like to see some of the marketing activities that are planned and get my head better around that,” she said. “What are other liquor stores doing to entice people? I ask because honestly I don’t know what your strategy is. Including that in the packet would be very helpful.”

Council member Alex Plechash agreed with staying on the current path because the current model continues to work well for the city.

“There is a cultural aspect to this too,” he said. “This is Wayzata. This is our little place. You can’t discount that either.”

Council directed staff to continue operations of Wayzata Wine and Spirits and return with more data points on the bar and grill. The council will then discuss options for improving operations moving forward.

 

‘Open Street’ event discussed

In other business, the council weighed in on an idea to close Lake Street to Minnetonka from vehicle traffic from Friday afternoon to Monday morning. This would be done to open the Panoway district up for walking space and bicycle traffic.

City planner Nick Keiser said the city could bring in some amenities to the area during the street closure.

“We really want to focus on a more local, pedestrian, community deal to do activities down there,” he said.

The estimated cost of closing the street, providing traffic control and signage is about $2,000 per weekend. The idea comes from the Panoway District Committee. The committee would like to test the concept later this spring or in the early summer. It would also like to do a second event later in the year.

“I like the concept. I’m not opposed to it,” Plechash said. “If I had concerns it would be the obvious ones like traffic and the loss of parking. We have issues with parking as it is.”

Keiser acknowledged the concern over traffic, particularly as it relates to COV Wayzata’s ability to continue deliveries while the street is closed. COV is located at 700 East Lake Street on the corner where the proposed road closure would begin from the west.

The council members in attendance and Mayor Mouton voiced support for the idea. This item would return to council if it moves forward as council approval is required to close a city street.

March 24, 2022

Wayzata Boys Basketball Overpowers Moorhead in AAAA State Quarterfinals

Trojans 71, Moorhead 28 as Wayzata advances in opening round of AAAA State Championship Tournament

Defending State Class AAAA Champion Wayzata won a lopsided contest against the Moorhead Spuds in the opening round of the MSHSL State Basketball Championship Tournment on Tuesday, March 22nd.

Myles Barnette went 6 of 6 on field goal attempts and 1 of 2 from the line to score 13 points in the contest. Spencer Hall shot 4 of 6 from the floor and 1 of 3 from behind the arc on his way to 11 points. 

The Trojans will take on Cretin-Derham Hall and senior guard Tre Holloman Thursday, March 24th at 8pm at Williams Arena. The Raiders were able to Holloman had six rebounds and nine dimes in the Raiders 52-51 win over Number 2 seed Owatonnna.

March 24, 2022

Time blocking your day

Endurance Athlete & Trainer Jon Howard shares life tips from his podcast, Relentless Courage

Jon Howard
Special Contributor

When I got sober in 2013 it was to make choices that align better with my growth as a person, and to have a purpose in life. The world was moving fast and I wasn’t escaping it anymore by abusing alcohol.
I created five core programs to help myself adjust to life without alcohol. These programs are:

  • Vision
  • Block/Rhythm
  • Action
  • Nourish
  • Energize

My intent in sharing this info is to help others who want to change their lives the way I have.
I have extensive experience as a trainer to athletes at every level, as well as extremely successful business owners and executives. Said another way my clients have experienced the highest levels of professional success.
Through our working together with my clients and friends, I discovered that these programs resonated in their lives as well.


It turns out we can all benefit by being intentional about where we spend our time and energy.
As an example, the fall after writing my programs, I finished my first Superior 100 Mile Footrace in 37:30:34. It was great to accomplish this goal using my program.

How to block your time

We are all busy and have to prioritize our time, but it can be challenging to know how to say yes and no to the appropriate things.

I utilize blocks as boxes of time on my calendar. Sleep is a big block. Work can be a block by itself and/or it can consist of its own blocks and these mechanics can be applied that way.

I’ve chosen three phases to block my calendar according to my priorities, and encourage you to do the same.

Recognize

The first phase is to recognize what our 6-8 blocks currently are. This information is used to build transitions as we navigate through.

Prioritize

In the second phase, we create a list of our priorities in order, which become our prioritized blocks.

Organize

The third phase is to organize our blocks. The final stage of this Block portion is to LIVE IT! Live for some time according to your prioritized blocks.

Next time we’ll discuss how to have rhythm in your time blocking and how to move between different priorities utilizing reflection.

Interested in learning more? Visit jonhoward.co or tune into the Relentless Courage podcast available on Facebook and iTunes.

March 17, 2022

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Wayzata at McCormick’s Pub & Restaurant!

Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!

By Alison Spencer
Special Contributor

That is to say, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Already well into the month of March, and with this Irish holiday fast approaching, many might be wondering where or how to best celebrate. It is, after all, one of the season’s more social festivities.

You need look no further than McCormick’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, located in the heart of downtown Wayzata. First opened in 2011, by Tim McCormick and his business partner Michael Simpson, the concept for the restaurant was inspired by Tim’s Irish ties. First and foremost, Ireland was his grandparents’ home, establishing an ancestral connection that embedded all things Irish deep into his roots.


Kierean Folliard, Tim McCormick, and Noel Sweeney. Submitted photo.

Tim then spent time in Boston, a city world-famous for its Irish influence. These experiences, along with his personal visits to the country, propelled him toward restaurant ownership, toward building a menu and creating an ambiance that harkens back to the village pubs that many, including himself, frequent while visiting the country.

A Guinness sign hangs prominently in the bar area, evidence of the seriousness with which the establishment takes not only its beer selection but the manner in which it is served. The best method for pouring a Guinness is hotly debated, with Tim taking the classic approach. In his mind, there should always be overflow, as it’s a sure indication that the guest is receiving a proper twenty ounces.

Along with this quintessential Irish beverage, McCormick’s boasts a wide variety of more obscure beers, along with Irish Whiskey. The goal? To provide locals and visitors with a taste of Ireland, be it a more common or lesser-known flavor!

Even the restaurant’s 2015 expansion embodied all things Ireland. While the bar always reflected the traditional pub scene, the additional dining space, designed by the late Jim Dayton, was modeled after the Kildare Street Club. Now a museum, it was once one of Dublin’s most famous social clubs. In the 1800s, Kildare’s card rooms, billiard tables, and overall décor oozed absolute elegance.

Everything from McCormick’s artwork to the chandeliers and even the paint color was chosen to reflect this high society gathering place. And this new space, combined with the existing, quickly established McCormick’s as the perfect mix of two of Ireland’s social worlds: the pub and the club.

With a love of Ireland at its core, it makes perfect sense to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day at McCormick’s. On the day of, that is to say Thursday, March 17, the restaurant will have live music, Irish dancers, and even bagpipes. Whether you pull up a stool at the bar or make a reservation for dinner, plan to sip some Guinness and try the traditional corned beef and cabbage dish on offer.

For those waiting until the weekend to observe the holiday, rest assured that McCormick’s has you covered as well.  On Saturday, March 19, they’re hosting a tent party. Along with the standard food and beverages available, patrons can enjoy live music by Johnny James and the Hall of Flames. It promises to be a lively evening.

March 10, 2022

Girls Basketball finishes 2nd in Section Playoffs

The Wayzata girls basketball team (18-9) dropped a tough contest to the Hopkins Royals (23-1) in the Section Championship on March 10th.

The Trojans advanced to the Championship by defeating St. Louis Park by a score of 79-59 in the Section Semi-finals, and routed Minneapolis Washburn 97-21 in the opening round of section play.

Follow @Wayzata on Twitter for up to the minute breaking Wayzata sports coverage. Wayzata.com is a proud member of the Wayzata Booster Club. Picks by Dave Wildermuth.

Feb. 24, 2022

Public speaks out against Eagle Brook Church development in Minnetonka

Joe Fisher, Community Reporter
joe@wayzata.com

The Minnetonka Planning Commission commented on a proposed concept by Eagle Brook Church to develop a new church and parking ramp at the site of the former Hillcrest Rehabilitation building.

Hillcrest Rehabilitation is was located at 15407 and 15409 Wayzata Blvd., with a horseshoe pocket street, Clare Lane/Clare Drive, leading to its public entrance. Eagle Brook Church, which has seven permanent campuses, three mobile campuses and an online service; is proposing a church building which would have a 1,200 seat worship facility, along with a 550-stall, two-level parking ramp. The church would be a one-level structure of about 80,000 square feet. Hillcrest Rehabilitation has a footprint of about 50,000 square feet.

This proposal is in the concept phase and Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting was only the second of at least five meetings it would need to be reviewed through. No application to develop has been formally submitted.

“This is our first pass at how we will fit on this site,” said Stephanie Hauber, expansion director for Eagle Brook Church. “We won’t be doing any infill of the wetlands. We will stay within the appropriate buffer of the wetlands.”
Hauber said the preservation of the existing wetlands and woodlands bordering the property is the reason behind pitching a large parking ramp.

“Typically we do surface parking but on this site we can’t,” she added. “We also want everyone to know successful traffic management is very important to us as a church. If people are concerned with the traffic, they won’t come back.”

This would be Eagle Brook Church’s eighth site build if it comes to fruition.

Commission chair Josh Sewall said more than 70 public comments were received and more than 20 callers were on hold to make comments at the meeting. A large majority of the callers were opposed to the development concept. Many of those comments were directed particularly at the size of the parking ramp and the volume of traffic brought into the neighborhood.

“Estimating 1.5 people for every car and 1,200 people in attendance — they knowingly anticipate 250 cars to overflow from their parking garage,” said Jenny Greffin, a resident of Clare Lane. “I had a conversation with Mark Hennessy, the spokesperson for the Eagle Brook Church expansion team. He personally told us Eagle Brook Church would not relocate anywhere people didn’t want them. Hopefully they honor that.”

Flannery Daley said she was concerned with a lack of communication from Eagle Brook Church to members of the neighborhood, a sentiment echoed by members of the commission.
“I find EBC’s statement that they care about the neighbors and our feedback disingenuous,” she said. “They chose not to attend a meeting the neighbors organized.”

One resident, Sandra Syfko, who is a member of Eagle Brook Church said the traffic and parking will not be what many people are fearing.

“I’ve been to all the campuses. These are gorgeous buildings,” Syfko said. “People need to think about the alternative. My concern is how the property is zoned. It is zoned for commercial use. You could have strip malls. I know you wouldn’t want Wal-Mart. I wouldn’t either.”

City planner Loren Gordon clarified the potential uses of the property according to its zoning district and comprehensive plan. It is zoned for offices, residential and retail use, and can match the comprehensive plan guidelines for institutional use.

The commission agreed a church is a reasonable use for these adjoining properties, but the size of the proposed concept is too much.

“I feel like where we’re at tonight, there are almost two projects: the church and a huge parking ramp nobody likes,” said vice chair Alex Hanson. “The feeling I have is, nobody wants a parking ramp in their backyard and I understand that. If the church came with what I’ll call a more normal-sized parking scale it feels like more people would be comfortable.”

The commission also advised more details should be presented with the concept, including renderings of what the site would look like from the neighbors’ point of view. The concept will be reviewed next by the Minnetonka City Council on Feb. 28.

“I would advise the city council that I do think it’s fair to somehow incorporate the residents of Wayzata, especially because this property butts up against residents of Wayzata,” said Sewall. “We’ve heard about being a good neighbor. As the city of Minnetonka, we need to be good neighbors too to our neighbors in Wayzata.”

The property is listed for sale by Newmark out of Minneapolis.

Posted in Wayzata News
Feb. 14, 2022

Love is in the Air

Alison Spencer
Special contributor

Make Valentine’s special with a visit to Wayzata merchants

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, love is certainly in the air throughout downtown Wayzata. Whether you hope to pamper yourself or a loved loved one, splurge on food or on presents, the city has a handful of offerings to help make this February 14th most memorable.



A Plateful of Love

For those looking to express their love through food, a handful of Wayzata restaurants boast special Valentine’s Weekend menus. With so many options available, you are bound to find the perfect cuisine for the occasion!

CoV is offering chef-curated dinner specials all weekend along. Its 3-course prefix menu features a variety of appetizers, choice of filet, capellini, or chicken for an entrée, and two delectable desserts. For $75, you and your loved one can enjoy both each other’s company and a delicious meal. The a la carte menu is also available, if preferred.

At Grocer’s Table $105 for two people earns you a choice of soup or salad, choice of entrée, and two red velvet cupcakes. With a menu title like “Date Night for the Love Birds,” you can expect not only yummy food but a romantic ambience. What’s more, they offer a little something for the singles. Their “a la carte options for the lonely” provides discounted prices on five items, including salmon, short ribs, and of course a sweet treat.  

NineTwentyFive plans to serve patrons another 3-course prefix menu. Priced at $85 a person, this one includes a choice of four starters, four mains (one of which is designed to be shared, upping the romance level), and two tasty desserts. The full menu is also available all weekend, although slightly limited on Valentine’s Day itself. Conveniently located within the Landing Hotel, you could go all out and make an entire night of it. There’s truly no better way to celebrate your love than with a relaxing staycation.

While 6Smith has not released the contents of its menu, it promises a handful of Valentine’s dinner features that are bound to wow. And who doesn’t love a slight surprise? The secretive menu certainly adds an element of excitement to your night out. Plus, 6Smith is offering these unknown specials through Tuesday, February 15th. Most other restaurants wrap up the day prior, so this extension is ideal for those who have to celebrate after the fact!

Boxed & Bouquet Love

Should you prefer to shower your loved ones with gifts, you too are in luck. Catering to both those who plan well in advance and those who need something morning of, the shops in downtown Wayzata have everything you might desire.

Graham Jewelers and Wayzata Jewelers both have extensive collections along with expert staff to answer all of your questions. From rings to watches, antique to custom made, you are certain to find the perfect piece for your loved one. You can even expand your own knowledge by perusing detailed fact sheets which cover all sorts of topics, including different gemstones and metals.

If flowers, cards, and chocolate are more up your alley, Candlelight Floral has you covered. You can purchase floral arrangements specific to Valentine’s Day or create a custom bouquet, particularly meaningful should you know your loved one’s favorite flowers. And for those last-minute shoppers, don’t forget about Lunds. The grocery store always has an excellent assortment of Bachman’s flowers and plenty of cards & candy!

No matter who you choose to celebrate or how, you’re bound to find just what you need in downtown Wayzata. It’s important to note, however, that this year, Valentine’s Day weekend coincides with the Chilly Open and the Super Bowl. So, if you’re planning to celebrate out on the town, be sure to make a reservation!

Posted in Wayzata Merchants
Feb. 11, 2022

CCX Sports Spotlight: Mara Braun, Wayzata Girls Basketball

Our CCX Sports Spotlight this week shines on Wayzata girls basketball standout Mara Braun. The senior is back in the lineup after missing time with a knee injury. The University of Minnesota signee is one of the top players in Minnesota, excelling at both ends of the court.