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June 17, 2019

5/4/2019 7:30:00 AM
Carlin Club zoning issue goes back to board of adjustment
Houlihan: 'We feel very positive'

Brian Jopek
Lakeland Times Reporter

A week after the Carlin Lake Association was successful at the appellate court level, an attorney representing Carlin Club Properties, LLC, feels they were successful in another court proceeding.

Last week, the Wisconsin District III Court of Appeals issued a decision upholding a 2017 temporary injunction issued by Florence County judge Leon Stenz against the business, whose partners include Trig Solberg.

The water bottling plant Carlin Club Properties, LLC, operates in Marenisco, Mich., after attempts the past few years to locate it in Minocqua or Presque Isle.

The company is using another well near the water bottling plant.

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

Solberg pulled the plug on a possible Minocqua bottling plant and a later attempt to get the bottling plant built in Presque Isle failed when the town board voted against it.

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.

In a separate matter from the appellate court decision, the Vilas County Board of Adjustment in July of last year voted unanimously to uphold the interpretation of a Vilas County zoning ordinance as it pertains to the plans for hauling water from the Carlin Club well in Presque Isle.

Tuesday, Vilas County Circuit Judge Neal A. Nielsen ruled the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - not Vilas County - has jurisdiction over the removal of groundwater from the Carlin Club well.

He also ruled the land use - zoning issues involved - is something Vilas County has jurisdiction over.

Acknowledging there had already been much time and money spent on this case to this point, Nielsen then remanded the Carlin Club zoning matter to the Vilas County Board of Adjustment.

"He felt they proceeded on an incorrect theory of law," attorney John Houlihan, attorney for Carlin Club Properties, LLC, said Wednesday. "We felt very positive about what he said because that was our position all along. This was something we argued to the board of adjustment at that proceeding last July. We're very happy with this. Obviously, we have to go back to board of adjustment and now argue that we feel the expanded use or change of use fits into the county zoning ordinance. We feel very positive Judge Nielsen sees the zoning ordinance has to be interpreted as we interpret it."

Dan Bach, the attorney for the Carlin Lake Association, said he wasn't sure there was reason for either side in the matter to be happy or disappointed with Tuesday's outcome.

"There will be further findings, we'll go back to the board of adjustment and we'll see what they do," he said. "It may well go back to Judge Nielsen after that."

Brian Jopek may be reached via email at

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