Panoway boardwalk, docks, & Section Foreman design approved

The council approved the design of the Panoway boardwalk, docks and Section Foreman House renovation by a 4-1 vote on Tuesday.

Proposed Wayzata Boardwalk. Image courtesy City of Wayzata.

Phase 2a and 2b of the project will now move for the construction design step in the process. This is where city staff and its consultants will fine tune the details of the project, including a cost estimate, before putting the project out to bid.

Jessica Houlihan, founder of development consulting firm Onyx Strategic Partners, outlined the timeline of what is to come. Her expectation is construction design will be finished to return in front of council by December. Once the designs are approved, the project will go out to bid. After a contractor is chosen, construction could begin as soon as March 2023.

Panoway on Wayzata Bay Phase 2 Schedule, courtesy City of Wayzata.

“We walked all the way through the schedule with one firm and it’s about a six month project,” Houlihan said. “We should be done in the fall.”

Phase 2a, the boardwalk and shoreline, carries a $6.78 million budget while the docks are estimated at $770,000. The budget for the Section Foreman House, Phase 2b, is $1.27 million.

The city has secured $4 million in bond funding for the project. It will draw an estimated $2.62 million from tax increment financing and the remaining portion is slated to come from private or ‘other’ sources. The Wayzata Conservancy has pledged funding for the Section Foreman House, which it is currently fundraising for, as well.

Wayzata Section Foreman House. Image Dan Gustafson.

“What we’ve done is plan for the maintenance and operations for 10 years,” said city manager Jeff Dahl. “The Wayzata Conservancy, to decrease the burden on the city, have agreed to fund maintenance and operations for the remainder of the project so taxpayers of Wayzata won’t be burdened with that.”

According to community development director Emily Goellner, the conservancy has raised about $250,000 for the Section Foreman House and will also pay for construction design plans for that part of the project.

Proposed Section Foreman House. Image courtesy Cushing Terrell.

Councilor Cathy Iverson was the lone council member to vote against approving the design.

“Can we feel confident telling the residents this will not be a tax burden,” Iverson said. “I have a lot of concerns about how it’s going to be paid for.”

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Mayor Johanna Mouton noted a better picture of the costs will not come until after construction design is completed. Councilor Alex Plechash said he also had reservations about the funding, but not enough for him to vote against the design. The mayor and other members of the council said they were comfortable with the funding sources.

“We’ve been steadfast that we would not levy the taxpayers of Wayzata to pay for this,” Mouton said. “We have not done so.”

Baja Haus outdoor patio approved

The council unanimously approved a conditional use permit for a seasonal outdoor patio at Baja Haus, 830 E. Lake Street.

Applicant and co-owner Josh Friedt said his restaurant’s temporary outdoor patio was helpful for his business during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020-21.

“To me it was a huge success,” Friedt said. “I don’t want to say it saved my business but it was definitely a big help.”

The request was to use four parking spaces outside of the restaurant for a temporary pergola. Inside it would fit eight tables seating four each. The patio would be used from May to October. When not in use, the space would be opened back up for parking.

“The people I spoke to that used the outdoor patio during the pandemic really loved it,” Iverson said. “I only heard positive things from the community.”

Former Wayzata Texaco Site

The council also approved a lot combination, comprehensive plan amendment and rezoning of two parcels at 1022 E. Wayzata Blvd. 

These parcels were discussed for development in front of the council in April with the proposal of adding a drive thru coffee business. The property is home to a gas station which is no longer in use. To the south, there is a small residential parcel which is considered difficult to develop because of its size and location.

The rezoning of the property changes the newly combined parcel to a C-3 property for retail use.

The planning commission unanimously recommended approval and the council voted 4-1 in favor.

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