Oct. 28, 2021

Wayzata Football heads into playoffs

The Trojans won their final two games of the season over Blaine 38-10 and Farmington 20-8 to finish 6-2 in the regular season. Wayzata will host Osseo on Oct. 29th at 7pm in the Section opener.

Watch the videos as Wayzata.com's Dan Gustafson interviews Dante Cockrell, Ryan Harvey, Fox Knutson, Coach Jordan Halverson, and Alex Hart after the Blaine game.


Oct. 5, 2021

2021 Wayzata School Board Candidates Forum

Wayzata School Board Candidates 2021


Ten of the 12 candidates for Wayzata School Board met on Wednesday in a forum organized by the League of Women Voters.

The League of Women Voters Wayzata/Plymouth hosted a Candidate Forum for those running for three seats that are up for grabs on the Wayzata School Board.

The event was held Wednesday, September 29th at 6:30 pm at Plymouth City Hall as was broadcast by CCX Media.
All 12 candidates were invited including:

  • Nick DeVries

  • Aaron Herzberg

  • Justin Hibbits

  • Sarah Johanson

  • Heidi Kader

  • Bryan Kubes

  • Muthu Periakaruppan

  • Derek Plymate

  • Daniel Sellers

  • Erin Shelton

  • Mariam Siddiqui

  • Milind Sohoni

Questions were submitted by constituents in advance and spanned a number of topics including equity vs. equality, mental health, fiscal responsibility, and more.

Sept. 23, 2021

Council talks TIF for Boardwalk: Use it or Lose it?

Joe Fisher, Community Reporter

The Wayzata City Council has been debating the use of approximately $9 million of tax increment financing funds (TIF) from District 6 in workshops over the last month.

The debate is whether it is appropriate — and in the interest of residents — to use upwards of $4 or 5 million in TIF funding for the Panoway Boardwalk and public docks. An additional $4 million is estimated for out of district Capital Improvement Projects.

During a workshop on Sept. 7, councilor Alex Plechash said he is conflicted over the best course of action. “It’s a philosophical question. If it’s true the Panoway was to be privately funded or at least funded from sources not from the city — if we truly said that it didn’t come from the city money — TIF is city money; at least a portion of it is,” he said. “That’s the philosophical part. The other view is, if we don’t have legitimate places to spend the money and we end up losing it and getting back a small portion, we just let it go.”

What Plechash referred to is if the district funds are not put to use over the next 18 months, it would go back to the county to be redistributed back to taxing entities. This means the city would in essence lose about 80-percent of the fund if it isn’t applied to capital improvement projects.

Legislation passed during the 2021 session clarified the Panoway Project is considered part of Wayzata’s TIF district, which means TIF money can be spent on projects within the scope of Panoway.

Following Plechash’s thought, City Manager Jeff Dahl noted the vision for the Panoway Plechash referred to, represented the ideas of past council members and former Mayor Ken Wilcox.

“Times and traditions have changed in the community. We’ve had a number of Planning Commissions and set a new vision,” he said. “That’s what you guys are elected to implement.”

Councilor Cathy Iverson said her hesitation with applying TIF funds to the boardwalk and docks comes from concern over how maintenance will be funded. She said the Wayzata Conservancy was tasked with fundraising and coordinating funds for the Panoway, but she questions whether it has shown the capability to fund its share.

“I get concerned we’re going to build this and somebody is going to have to pay for the maintenance,” Iverson said during the Sept. 21 workshop. “We’re going to build it and it’s going to be the taxpayers responsibility to pay for it. I’m not comfortable with that.”

Iverson also questioned if all possible uses of the TIF dollars had been explored. Dahl said staff hasn’t been able to find suitable uses which would likely start in the next 18 months.

Dahl noted staff is continuously exploring ways to create a more diverse revenue stream to limit the burden on taxpayers.

“We’re looking at options exploring sales tax, franchise fee; this is part of our strategic plan initiative,” he said. “It can help us ultimately fund other things to reduce the levy and potentially have more funds available to offset maintenance costs if the conservancy can’t pay for it.”

The Sept. 21 workshop ended with Dahl stating staff would draft a resolution to consider TIF projects including the boardwalk and public docks.

Sept. 18, 2021

City Council Update: table ‘Moments’ for new application

The Wayzata City Council voted to table any action on Moments of Wayzata during its Sept. 7 regular meeting.

Moments of Wayzata recently submitted a new application on its plans for the property at 163 Wayzata Boulevard W., the former site of Meridian Manor. Previous to the new application, the senior living facility was denied a Planned Unit Development amendment and design deviations.

Elizabeth Wright — owner of The Moments — stepped before the council to explain some of the changes made with the new application, which include:

  • Removal of the proposed new addition west of the existing building from the plan
  • Removal of the 20-client adult daycare
  • Reduced the number of trees removed by 11

A resolution to deny these previous applications appeared on the consent agenda but were pulled to be discussed separately.

City Attorney David Schelzel informed the council of its options with the item. They could approve the resolution denying the previous PUD and design deviation applications, causing Moments to start its application process over immediately if it chooses or table the item and direct staff to review the updated application.

“The significant difference between these two paths is timing,” Schelzel said. “If you choose to deny, the applicant has a longer path before they are back in front of you. It would be more expedited to table.”

Development Director Emily Goellner reminded the council of the 120 day deadline to make a decision on the application, or else it would be automatically approved. This deadline hits in late October.

While the council was discussing what to do — still during the consent agenda period of the meeting — Wright approached the microphone to speak. Mayor Johanna Mouton informed her the consent agenda was not the appropriate time for comments from the public.

Wright informed the council and staff of new legislation approved in Minnesota which requires assisted living facilities to comply with updated construction codes.

“Which means you deny this, right now, and it has to go through the process, that building more than likely has to come down,” she said.”

After approving the consent agenda, the council continued its discussion of Moments.

Councilor Jeff Buchanan motioned to deny the application, which received a second. After further discussion, Buchanan withdrew the motion and made a new motion to table until a future meeting. The council also added that Moments’ new application should be discussed before the Planning Commission before returning to council.

“What I want to see happen is the community to have complete transparency,” said Councilor Alex Plechash

Buchanan’s motion passed with Councilor Cathy Iverson as the only ‘Nay’ vote. Goellner said the likely timeline of events moving forward would be for the Planning Commission to review before the council’s Oct. 4 meeting. Then the application would come before council on Oct. 4, with action being taken at the Oct. 19 meeting.

Boat slip fees / Fee schedule

In other business, Administrative Services Director Aurora Yager presented the fee schedule for 2022. While most fees rose about 5-percent, the one drawing most discussion was boat slip fees, which were proposed to raise as much as 25-percent.

“Given this is far outside the norm we felt it was important to notify everyone,” Yager said.

The fees for outer lagoon boat slips would raise $640 to a total of $2,800 for the year. For the inner lagoon it would raise $510 to $2,400 total.

Several boat slip holders were allowed to come to the podium and speak on the matter. They discussed the importance of having their boats on Lake Minnetonka, the importance of affordability and some of their concerns with the safety and security of their property.

“Our boat has been entered two or three times,” said resident Christina McCullough. “We came to our boat to find cigarette burns on the upholstery. That’s a huge damage to our property. That casts a little dark shadow on that.”

The council approved adopting the fee schedule except for the boat slip fees, which it directed staff to schedule a workshop to discuss further. The primary concerns of councilors were making sure slip fees were used for the marina and whether the increase in fees is appropriate.

Chickens tabled

The final item on the agenda regarded urban chickens which is becoming a common item across the midwest.

Chickens are not allowed within city limits with the exception of being granted a conditional use permit, which according to Assistant Planner Nick Kieser the city hasn’t experienced yet.

Before the council was a resolution to amend city code and allow chickens and chicken coops in residential districts on the west and east ends of Wayzata.

This item was discussed during a workshop in May.

If adopted, residents in R-1 and R-1A zoning districts could apply for permits to own chickens and construct chicken coops with certain regulations. The coops couldn’t exceed 40 square feet and the run — an open air or fenced in enclosure where chickens roam — couldn’t exceed 80 square feet. 

The minimum lot size in these districts is 40,000 square feet.

“My biggest concern with this is the lot size,” Plechash said. “I live in the estate district and I tell you it wouldn’t be used there. I would decrease it dramatically from 20,000 square feet. Why not treat it as an accessory structure?”

Mayor Mouton echoed Plechash’s thoughts on residents of smaller lots not being allowed to apply for a chicken permit.

“My biggest concern is the size restriction and lack of inclusivity,” she said. “I’m not sure how I feel about neighbor consent. I think people should be allowed to do what we allow them to do on their own property.”

The council motioned to table the chicken discussion and directed staff to explore it further in a workshop and invite community engagement on the issue.

Sept. 15, 2021

Wayzata Football Shuts Out Champlin Park

The Wayzata football team posted its second straight shutout to start the season, blanking Champlin Park 23-0. Trojans’ quarterback Ryan Harvey threw three touchdown passes, two to Drew Berkland, to lead the offense. Running back Julian Alfaro-Diedrich rushed for 144 yards as the Trojans effectively mixed the run and pass. Darius Givance caught seven passes for Champlin Park (0-2). Fourth-ranked Wayzata (2-0) hosts third-ranked St. Michael-Albertville Friday.

Sept. 11, 2021

Late Rep. Ramstad remembered with Post Office dedication

Late Congressman Jim Ramstad has a legacy as a dedicated public servant and now he is forever memorialized with a Post Office dedicated in his name.

Ramstad passed away in Nov. 2020 after a battle with Parkinson’s disease.

On Sept. 2, a dedication ceremony was held at the U.S. Post Office in Wayzata, renaming it in his honor. The event was attended by many residents, friends, family and former colleagues of Ramstad, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. Dean Philips. His former staff was also in attendance.

For nearly 30 years, the North Dakota native and longtime Wayzata resident served first as a member of the Minnesota State Sentate, and later as a representative of Minnesota’s 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. Congress.

His wife Kathryn described him as a moderate Republican who strived to work with colleagues on both sides of the political aisle. Having Klobuchar and Phillips — both Democrats — pay tribute to Ramstad was indicative of his dedication to bipartisanship. Kathryn noted it was Rep. Phillips, the current representative of Ramstad’s former District, who penned the bill to dedicate the Post Office. It was later signed by President Joe Biden. Bills were signed by all representatives in Minnesota and Ramstad’s native state North Dakota. 

“He was all about bipartisanship,” Kathryn said. “It was very important to him to reach across the aisle to work on legislation with Democrats as well as Republicans. It’s not something we see as much anymore.”

During the ceremony, the keyword Kathryn spoke of was gratitude. The gratitude she felt seeing legislators in two states work to honor her husband. And the gratitude Jim felt being able to serve Minnesota for 9 years and represent the state in Congress for 18 years. He retired in 2009.

“It really was a special day. It was a great turnout,” Kathryn said.

While Ramstad was born in Jamestown, N.D., he called Wayzata home since 1981. Kathryn called Wayzata Jim’s favorite place on earth.

“Wayzata, to Jim, meant many special things. Lunches at the ‘Muni’ with his dad, Marv; Breakfast at the Sunsets with the guys,” she said. “And of course, the highlight of the campaign season, walking with the Ramstad team in the James J. Hill Days Parade and then treating everyone to pizza at Maggies.”

Klobuchar, who Kathryn said Jim greatly respected, said the Post Office will stand as a reminder of what is possible when Democrats and Republicans can work together. Phillips echoed this sentiment.

“This is how we will pay it forward — coming together in the spirit of decency and friendship and possibility,” he said.

Kathryn said the Post Office bearing Jim’s name is another great way to remember him and carry on his legacy.

“As we remember Jim and keep his memory alive in our hearts, let’s live out the lessons he taught us,” she said. “We can all learn from each other and work together to find the right answers. And above all, be grateful for all that we have been blessed with in this life.”

Sept. 8, 2021

Letter to the Editor: Thank you on behalf of the family of Officer Bill Mathews

To the editor:

On Sept. 8, 2017, the lives of our family and of this community were changed forever when Wayzata Police Officer Bill Mathews, my brother in law, was killed in the line of duty. In the hours, days and weeks after his death, the anguish of life without him left an immeasurable void in our lives.

In that dark time we found something that was truly special, something that gave us hope and quelled our fears. That something was you, what an amazing community.

Image courtesy Wayzata Police Twitter.

We may have not been ready for the outpouring of love and compassion but we are very grateful to have received it. From individuals to businesses, your selflessness has touched us in both tangible and intangible ways. This community has wrapped its arms around our entire family, the family in blue, and Shawn and Wyatt. We are in awe of and grateful for the continued support.

One year ago, ribbons were tied everywhere, porch lights turned blue and signs were hung that read: “We will never forget.” You have truly not forgotten. Thank you for honoring Bill’s life so preciously and for honoring his impact on this community.

It is impossible for us to thank everyone individually. Please know we are deeply grateful and profoundly affected by your generosity and compassion. It was you that gave us hope in the face of despair, who showed us caring and compassion when we needed it, and who allowed us to continue to celebrate Bill’s life and legacy.

To our friends, family, City of Wayzata and Long Lake officials, the Wayzata Police Department, residents of Wayzata and Long Lake and the surrounding cities who have all have been instrumental in helping our family on this journey, we are extremely grateful.

Craig Budolfson, on behalf of the family of Officer Bill Mathews: Shawn and Wyatt Mathews, the Budolfson family, the Fabel family and the Pinter family

Sept. 7, 2021

Women win Battle of the Sexes Folkestone Bocce Tournament

By special contributor Neil Collins

Almost 50 years after Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in their classic tennis match, the women of Folkestone (South Building) continued that tradition by beating their male counterparts in bocce matches held Wednesday afternoon at the Park Street courts.

In 3 spirited and exciting games, the women bested the men 2-1, including a thrilling last minute win in game three. The twenty players were cheered on by a non-playing contingent from Folkestone. After the match all enjoyed a picnic dinner with hots and hamburgs cooked by Scott Hutton and Barb Donley and salads and desserts provided by the many attending.

Players on the winning women’s team included Jan Nelson, Barb Donley, Nell Ray, Glady Utoft, Pat Ritzinger, Jan Taylor, Judy Heiser, Mariyln Zastrow, Carole Sattervall, Jary Nichols and Beth Erickson. Male players were Vern Weiss, Harmon Ray, George Ritzinger, Rod Sanders, Jim Taylor, Don Ellenberger, Bob Engelstad and Val Olson. A Spring 2022 rematch is being considered.

Folkestone is a Presbyterian Homes & Services senior living community located in Wayzata, MN offering independent living, assisted living, memory care, and long term care apartment homes.

Posted in Folkestone
Sept. 4, 2021

Wayzata Football Blanks Roseville in Season Opener

The Wayzata football team routed Roseville 42-0 Thursday in the season opener for both teams. Ryan Harvey threw for four touchdown passes and running backs Julian Diedrich and Dante Cockrell, Jr. combined for 130 yards rushing. The Wayzata defense recorded five sacks. The Trojans play at Champlin Park next Friday.

Aug. 29, 2021

Council denies Moments of Wayzata amendments

All members of the Wayzata City Council and Mayor Johanna Mouton agreed the community is in need of care options for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

They also agreed the Planned Unit Development amendment and design deviations requested by TMSC of Wayzata are not appropriate for the Highlands neighborhood.

The building on 163 Wayzata Boulevard W. is owned by Burt Elmer of TMSC of Wayzata. It was formerly Meridian Manor, a senior care facility which opened in 1994. It closed in April due to COVID-19 concerns.

The new business, Moments of Wayzata, would be a senior living community for 88 residents with an adult daycare facility for up to 20 people per day. 

The applicant requested a PUD amendment and design standard deviations. The amendment was to build an addition on the west side of the existing building and add parking space. The new addition would house an adult daycare center and new office space. The design deviations were to request permission to add parking in front of the building and to not have a massing break on the front facade which would be part of the overall remodel. The applicant intends to do a complete remodel of the interior of the existing building as well.

The new addition and expanded parking would require a number of trees to be displaced. In total, 37 significant trees would be removed. The developer said they intend to relocate a number of these trees, many of which would be along Wayzata Boulevard.

Elizabeth Wright, founder and president of Moments of Wayzata, said adults needing memory care are an underserved population. Providing an adult daycare would offer a helpful service for people who care for loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

“We are now making it a standard to have adult daycare in our communities whenever possible,” she said.

The adult daycare addition would be a 13,000 square-foot building, which is the cause for a majority of the public’s concern. Elmer noted the height of the building was one of the concerns and the developers took that into consideration, though some public commenters disagreed.

“The applicant has failed to work in good faith with the neighbors. To stay on the narrative they worked with the neighbors and addressed their concerns is simply not true,” said David Kirkland, a Wayzata resident. “This proposal is emblematic of the environmentally destructive development creep that has taken hold in our city and must be stopped.”

Having the building’s trash enclosure in front of the building and the displacement of trees also raised criticism.

“I’m highly skeptical you can take a 20-year-old tree and pick it up and not have it die,” said Daniel Drotning, Wayzata resident. “There’s going to be an awful lot of trees that aren’t going to make it.

Drotning noted he and his wife Eileen purchased their home across from the property in question when it was still a farm.

“Since 1994 we had the Meridian Manor structure across from us. That functioned really well with a few minor tweaks,” he said. “Now we have a group that wants to change to almost 90,000 square-feet. I don’t think any of you want a structure that big built across from your homes.”

The Planning Commission recommended approving the requests from the applicant, but the council voted unanimously to deny. 

“The thing that really hits me is the two design deviations being asked for. Those are two brand new things we put into our design standards for a reason,” said council member Alex Plechash. “To right out of the gate grant deviation to two standards we just put in place does not seem correct to me.”

The original PUD also designates the area for light traffic. Council member Jeff Buchanan said he worries the adult daycare will greatly increase traffic.

Despite denying the requests of the applicant, the council said they would still like to see the Moments of Wayzata’s services added to the community, as well as the needed remodeling of the property. Plechash clarified the vote was not a rejection of Moments of Wayzata.

“There’s so much good about your plan. I want to see you come back with a different plan that takes into account the concerns we have,” he said.