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June 17, 2019

4/30/2019 7:30:00 AM
Court of appeals rules against Carlin Club Properties
Latest in a series of setbacks

Brian Jopek
Lakeland Times Reporter

The Wisconsin District III Court of Appeals issued a decision last week upholding a 2017 temporary injunction issued by Florence County judge Leon Stenz against Carlin Club Properties, LLC.

Partners in the business to include Trig Solberg have been trying for a few years now to bottle and sell water from a well on its Carlin Club property in Presque Isle.

There had been attempts to get a water bottling plant built on Minocqua's west side and then in the town of Presque Isle.

In the Minocqua case, the bottling plant proposal got past the plan commission and town board, but Solberg withdrew the bottling plant from consideration there.

A later attempt to get the bottling plant built in Presque Isle failed when the town board voted against it.

The bottling plant ended up a few miles up the road from Presque Isle, in Marenisco, Mich.

However, Carlin Club Properties, LLC, has continued its efforts to be able to use water from a well on the Carlin Club property and truck it to Marenisco.

Following Stenz's ruling in 2017 that put a hold on any further effort to truck the water to Marenisco, there was another matter involving the Carlin Club having to do with zoning that also related to the use of the water. The Vilas County Board of Adjustment in July of last year voted unanimously to uphold the interpretation of a county zoning ordinance as it pertains to the plans for hauling water from the Carlin Club well in Presque Isle.

There's a separate court proceeding regarding an appeal by Carlin Lake Properties, LLC of the board of adjustment's decision scheduled for 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Vilas County Courthouse.

Issue overlap

Dan Bach, a Madison attorney representing Carlin Lake Association in litigation against Carlin Lake Properties, LLC, said of last week's ruling, the court of appeals "ruled the circuit court properly granted the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, upholding the decision of Judge Stenz to issue a permanent injunction precluding the Carlin Club from using its Carlin Lake property to pump and transport well water for commercial sale."

"The appellate decision also leaves standing the portion of the judgment entered by Judge Stenz finding that the Carlin Club's proposed use of its property to pump and transport well water for commercial sale would be a violation of the Vilas County General and Shoreland Zoning Ordinances."

"It's up to (Carlin Club Properties LLC) if they want to petition the Wisconsin Supreme Court to hear the case," he added.

Bach then referred to the appeal by Carlin Club Properties, LLC, of the decision by the board of adjustment to circuit court - the case to be heard tomorrow.

"Some of the issues overlap to a great degree, actually," he said. "One of the issues in common is they've raised the question as to whether the Department of Natural Resources has jurisdiction as opposed to Vilas County over the commercial operations at the lodge property."

Bach said the position of the plaintiff, the Carlin Lake Association, on the DNR question is that it has been already litigated with last week's appellate court decision.

"They shouldn't be allowed the opportunity to relitigate that issue," he said. "It's been decided against them. They've raised some other challenges to the decision that was rendered by the board of adjustment."

Tim Casper with the legal firm of Murphy Desmond in Madison said April 25 he had not yet had an opportunity to read the appellate court's decision.

"I know it wasn't favorable, for the most part," he said. "But I really haven't talked to my client yet about what we're going to do."

Brian Jopek may be reached via email at

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