Sunset Bay building demo planned; Some questions answered

(Above) Coming down - The former Sunset Bay Marina, at 2721 South Lakeview Drive, is expected to come down this week.  New owner Alex Yohn intends to build a home on the site and operate a business out of the lower level.-Reporter photo.

by Marianne Gasaway

The former Sunset Bay Marina could begin coming down as early as today, according to Alex Yohn, who purchased the property in November 2017.

Yohn has successfully obtained a conditional use permit from the City of Clear Lake and said he is encouraged by his discussion with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources that he will be granted permission for a 300-foot commercial dock at the site, 2721 S. Lakeview Dr.   A condition of the dock allowance, he said, is the cleanup of the shoreline where the deteriorating building has been standing for decades.

Yohn said he intends to begin construction of a home on the site and hopes to eventually offer boat rentals based out of a basement office set-up.

“If this all comes together and there is a 300-foot dock I will have room for 30 to 36 boat slips,” said Yohn.  “I would like to continue to run the business as Sunset Bay Marina.  That’s something I have been working on and am excited to do.  I plan to get going this summer with everything.”

Yohn said his goal is to provide boat slips for as many former Sunset Bay Marina customers as possible.  However, he said he has had no access to records from the previous owners, the late Dale and Tim Entner.

The property had been embroiled in a controversy with the DNR regarding the length of its dock.  Sunset Bay Marina had been granted a 496-foot dock, however, an agreement signed between the DNR and Dale Entner became null and void upon his death.  His son, Tim, had been lobbying the DNR to keep the dock length, saying the availability of boat slips on Clear Lake is drastically dropping and lake access, as well as the safety measures he felt the dock provided, should be maintained.  Entner’s dock accommodated more than 70 boats.

Tim Entner passed away in October 2017 before the issue was resolved.

The DNR maximum for commercial docks is now 300-feet.

Yohn and Jake Kopriva, owner of Lake Time Boat Club in Clear Lake, have been working together to reach an agreement which would have Kopriva locate his boat inventory at the site.

“Jake and I are both young businessmen who have a goal of bringing people to Clear Lake.

Yohn said he would also like to sell concessions out of the basement access to the lake at some point.

The city granted Yohn an existing non-conforming variance for the property, which is zoned residential, allowing it to operate  there because of its history at the site. Based on rulings concerning other properties located within the City of Clear Lake, courts have come down in favor of upholding and supporting the previous use of a property, provided it is not expanded.

Sue O’Loughlin, secretary for the IDNR, said several dock permits on Clear Lake are pending hoist fees, so current hoist/slip information could not be provided.  “There are currently six active commercial dock permits (Class 4) on Clear Lake and two new applications that are under review,” she said.

Those docks presumably belong to Yohn and the South Shore Inn/The Landing.

According to Cerro Gordo County records, Yohn purchased the property in November 2017 for $420,000.

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