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Town approves liquor license for new restaurant; Stormwater/Wastewater Coalition growing

The Somerset area will soon have a new full-service restaurant called Roadhouse 35.

The Somerset Town Board approved transferring a Class B liquor license from Roberts Wells, Inc., owner of The Settlement, to James and Myung Hartwick, contingent on the sale of the property and the appointment of James as the agent on the license at its regular board meeting March 5.

James told board members he plans to totally revamp the building and rename it Roadhouse 35. A new menu will be unveiled, along with many other changes, he said.

Highway 64 Stormwater/Wastewater Coalition

Senior project engineer Chuck Schwartz of MSA Professional Services spoke to board members about the benefits, community goals, challenges and objectives of joining the Highway 64 Stormwater/Wastewater Coalition.

Schwartz said the coalition is comprised so far of the City of New Richmond, the Town of St. Joseph, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, St. Croix Crossing bridge project, the village of Star Prairie and Deer Park. He said the towns of Richmond and Hudson may join soon.

“The end result is protecting groundwater and surface water,” Schwartz said. “From an environmental perspective we look at what can be done to mitigate those issues.”

According to Schwartz, funds totaling roughly $50,000 were set aside more than 10 years ago for this purpose when the St. Croix Crossing bridge project was a potential reality.

MSA was brought on board to develop a plan to help protect the Apple River Watershed area during times of inevitable growth, organize the communities into a coalition, identify issues and gather information from each community on their concerns and goals specific to each municipality and melding them together in one cohesive plan.

Phase 2 of the coalition’s plan would be watershed modeling, which helps identify environmentally where or where not to allow population, building and road growth.

“Working together will save time and money, maintain harmony and prevent a patchwork of policies,” Schwartz said. “There will be uniform standards in watershed consistency.”

Another example of how mapping could help is collecting information and identifying areas that someday may use a municipal sewer system, Schwartz said. The coalition could determine what’s feasible and provide developers with options.

“This way you’ll do it together instead of everyone pulling strings and arguing,” Schwartz said. “The coalition gives the area a voice. What one community does may affect the water in the surrounding communities’ watersheds.”

Schwartz said while Somerset is near the end of the Apple River where it joins the St. Croix, what other municipalities do upstream (including where the Apple River starts in Polk County) could affect everything downstream.

“The two biggest issues are protecting groundwater and regulating the service water running into the Apple,” Schwartz said.

He stressed that communities working together would provide consistency through the region. He said the Apple River Watershed currently has room to take on more water, while its neighbor to the south, the Willow River Watershed, is at its capacity.

Schwartz asked board members to document time, space and money spent working on the project. MSA was hired to help the coalition secure grants and funding for the Apple River project. Schwartz said he would like to meet again soon to go over area maps in more detail.

State Patrol request

Sgt. Bill Berger of the Wisconsin State Patrol office in Eau Claire asked board members if the State Patrol could use the town’s property at the Somerset Town Hall site to conduct weight checks and inspections of trucks coming over from Minnesota on Highway 64 with a portable scale.

Berger said most truck traffic has been confined to the Interstate 94 corridor, but with the new St. Croix Crossing going in, he expects more vehicles will try to bypass the weigh-in stations on I-94 and come through the Town of Somerset.

Berger is scouting inspection site locations because the plan is for sensors to be put in place on Highway 64, which will check the weights of each axle, the distances between axles, take snapshots of violating vehicles and provide live monitoring, Berger said.

The sensors will be placed somewhere between the Minnesota border and the Business 64 exit. For the patrol to have enough time to stop violators, they would like to have a location where they can conduct vehicle inspections in the vicinity of the town hall. Lately they’ve been doing inspections in a roundabout off Highway 64, but once that area develops, that will no longer be a viable option.

“I want to make sure you’re on board,” Berger said. “We need level asphalt or a concrete surface. There would be no scales, nothing permanent. It would be primarily daytime hours during the week. I’m not here for a written contract, just a goodwill gesture.”

Board member Shane Demulling was against the idea. He cited the traffic going in and out of the town hall due to the senior center, election days, the Fire/Rescue and garbage trucks as one reason.

“They’re going to be here regardless,” Town Chair Ed Schachtner said.

“I really, truly believe it’s not going to be an inconvenience,” Berger said. “We would have a plan in place before making a commitment to spend money and put in the sensors. We certainly don’t expect the town to spend any money.”

All board members, minus Demulling, voted to be open to the idea. Supervisor Larry Rauch was not present.

Somerset Fire

Somerset Fire/Rescue Chief Travis Belisle reported to the board that the department bought a 2004 Chevy Tahoe from the Bayport, Minn., fire department for $5,500.

There were 31 service calls in February, and 66 so far this year, compared to 52 last year.

The scheduled arrival date of the new fire truck has been pushed back to May 16.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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