County committee 'erroneous' in hospital rejection, Marshfield Clinic says in appealSubmitted: 08/16/2017
County committee 'erroneous' in hospital rejection, Marshfield Clinic says in appeal
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

RHINELANDER - Marshfield Clinic calls Oneida County's rejection of a Minocqua hospital an "erroneous application of the law."

Marshfield Clinic cites 14 court decisions from across the country in its appeal of the Planning Committee's June vote to deny a conditional use permit (CUP).

The Clinic wants to build a 12-bed hospital within a half-mile of Howard Young hospital in Woodruff. The hospital would be adjacent to its current outpatient facility and cost more than $30 million to build.

In June, the Oneida County Planning and Development Committee voted 3-2 to deny a permit to build. The rejection came after three of the five supervisors on the committee said Marshfield Clinic didn't meet a condition reading, "The establishment, maintenance or operation of the conditional use will not be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, morals, comfort or general welfare."

In its appeal, the Clinic says the county committee incorrectly considered potential competition with Howard Young in the denial.

"Indeed, it is difficult to envision any situation in which a hospital could be detrimental to or endanger health, safety or welfare, and no such evidence was presented here," wrote Daniel Kirschnik, Marshfield Clinic's Assistant General Counsel, in the appeal. "Instead, the denial was based solely on the uncorroborated concerns that a second hospital in the Town would compete with the existing Howard Young Medical Center."

The appeal will go before Oneida County's Board of Adjustment, which has power to overturn the Planning and Development Committee's decision.

"The Planning Committee's decision to deny the CUP was based solely on concerns about competition with the existing Howard Young Medical Center," Kirschnik wrote. "As the foregoing case law establishes, this is an improper basis upon which to deny a CUP application. In the exercise of its zoning authority, the Planning Committee does not have the power to regulate competition or establish health care policy."

The Board of Adjustment will select a date to consider Marshfield Clinic's appeal at its Thursday meeting.

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