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Glenwood will not require an EIS for marina

GLENWOOD -- A proposal to develop a marina on Lake Minnewaska in Glenwood took a step forward Tuesday when the City Commission voted not to require an environmental impact statement for it.

Mayor John Stone said the city's decision will now be forwarded to the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board.

In making its decision that the in-depth environmental study would not be required, the City Commission determined that a marina would not create a significant environmental impact on the lake. Stone said the commission had reviewed an environmental assessment worksheet completed for the proposal. The worksheet is a screening tool used to determine whether the more in-depth study is needed. The City Commission also conducted a public hearing in December to gather information before making its decision.

The vote not to require an environmental impact statement was unanimous.

Larry Zavadil, founder and president of American Solutions for Business in Glenwood, is proposing that a marina offering up to 200 slips eventually be developed along lakeshore property owned by the city of Glenwood. His proposal for a marina is part of a larger plan that calls for a private hotel and equestrian center development on the Pope County Fairgrounds in Glenwood.

Stone said Zavadil had indicated he would not likely pursue the marina proposal if an environmental impact statement was required. Zavadil was out of town on Thursday and unavailable for comment.

The City Commission's action on Tuesday addresses only the marina project, according to Stone.

He said the commission does not anticipate a 200-slip marina will be developed any time soon. Commission members believe that it is more likely that a smaller marina will be developed first. More slips would likely be added if the market develops for it and if the proposed hotel and equestrian center project is undertaken.

Zavadil's proposal calls for developing an 80-slip marina near the city's public swimming beach and a 120-slip marina near the Lakeside Ballroom. Both would be protected by anchored, floating breakwaters that would be submerged for winter storage.

The marina would be privately owned, but it would operate under requirements already developed by the city of Glenwood. The city owns the lakeshore property and consequently controls access to the proposed marina.

Stone emphasized that the decision not to require an environmental impact statement is only one step in the process toward the eventual permitting of the marina. He said the matter will still be considered by the state Environmental Quality Board and Department of Natural Resources.

City Administrator David Iverson said the city will be contacting the DNR about obtaining a permit for the marina so that the project can continue to move forward.

Stone said the commission is aware that the DNR has some concerns about the marina but is not sure what the department would like to see done. He said the DNR has worked with other projects to develop marinas, including a large one on Lake Minnetonka.