Ministry wants to remove Marshfield Clinic-related agenda items from upcoming city meeting
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD —Several days after the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals denied Ministry Health Care’s attempt to halt the Clinic’s interior remodeling of its East Wing, Ministry is now protesting two agenda items scheduled for the Sept. 15 City Plan Commission meeting.
At the Tuesday, Sept. 8, Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting, Ministry argued that ongoing work in Marshfield Clinic’s East Wing should be halted and that conditional use permits needed to be granted prior to the issuance of building permits. That appeal was denied because the city believed the fundamental use of the East Wing was not changing from a zoning or land use perspective and because the work did not involve an exterior addition to the facility.
Ministry is now protesting two agenda items on the Tuesday, Sept. 15, City Plan Commission meeting agenda related to two conditional use requests being made by Marshfield Clinic.
One conditional use request has to do with an expansion of Marshfield Clinic’s East Wing related to providing radiation oncology treatments. The Clinic is also requesting a conditional use to allow The Boldt Company, the contractor performing the East Wing remodeling, to use a temporary project contractor’s office for longer than 365 days, a request which would require a conditional use permit under city code.
A letter to the city of Marshfield from attorney Timothy Feeley, who represents Ministry Health Care, argued that insufficient notice of the agenda items was given to Ministry and, thus, did not give the organization adequate time “to prepare their objections to the application.”
Ministry argued that under city ordinance 18-158 (5), “Notice of the public hearing shall be mailed to all parties-in-interest at least 10 days before the hearing.” Ministry said that they received notice of the meeting on Sept. 10 with the plan commission meeting scheduled for Sept. 15.
The relevant ordinance does in fact state that all “parties-in-interest” are to be notified at least 10 days prior to a public hearing. However, later in that same portion of the Marshfield Municipal Code it states, “The failure to give any notice to any property owner shall not invalidate the action taken by any of the aforementioned bodies (the Common Council, City Plan Commission, or Board of Appeals).”
“We are surprised that we were not informed of the application when we were present at the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting,” Feeley’s letter stated. “That is especially so given that it appears the city has had the application in its possession since at least mid-August. Since the notice also was mailed to the hospital on Tuesday as well, providing notice to us at the meeting certainly would have been the courteous thing to do.”
When reached for comment regarding how the city would proceed in light of Ministry’s objections to the plan commission agenda items, Marshfield’s Director of Planning and Economic Development Jason Angell said, “We’ve received the notice from Ministry, and we’re currently awaiting a response from the city attorney on his advice on how to proceed.”
The letter from Ministry asked that the agenda items pertaining to Marshfield Clinic’s conditional use requests be removed and rescheduled to a later date.
When reached for comment on this story, Assistant General Counsel for Marshfield Clinic Dan Kirschnik said, “It appears as if they’re trying to delay our plans for future development of the campus, and it’s unfortunate.”
Kirschnik added, “I think Ministry’s motivation is they don’t want to have a competing health care provider in the market.”
Hub City Times has reached out to Ministry Health Care for comment on this story but has not yet received a response.