Friday, June 9, 2017

Sturgeon Bay waterfront rights could sneak into state budget

[6/9 Update

Well, now it looks less likely that the Sturgeon Bay waterfront gets a controversial hotel and more likely the whole issue is headed for court. 
Feeling deceived by officials in the City of Sturgeon Bay, Bob Papke, developer of the proposed Sawyer Hotel on the city’s waterfront, announced Friday he is pulling out of the development and seeking nearly $550,000 in damages from the city.
All the more reason to publicize, understand and protect the Public Trust Doctrine which is right there in the state constitution.
Grassroots activists trying to protect public land and water rights along the Sheboygan waterfront are raising the alarm about yet another effort to hand those valuable resources to private development:
Six days prior to our first settlement meeting (11am - 5pm Monday June 12 in Madison), one of the City's delegation, David Ward, passed a resolution 4-3 at City Council to ask the State Legislature (Rep. Kitchens / Sen. Lasee) to reverse the Court ruling and draw an Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) for Parcel 92 that would convert public trust lands entirely to private development - contrary to all evidence, facts and law. This unilateral action was taken six days before the Plaintiffs and the City Council are scheduled to meet for a facilitated settlement discussion. Ugh. 
One citizen's plea to the Council yesterday. Help us Stop the Grab of Sturgeon Bay's Public Waterfront.  
I'd written about this in 2015:
To citizen activists in Sheboygan County, Waukesha County, Milwaukee County, Adams County, Kewaunee County, Dane County, La Crosse County, Northwest Wisconsin near Lake Superior and Western Wisconsin towards the Mississippi River fighting to protect the water and their rights to it - - and where in the heck is the state DNR?, oh wait, never mind - - now add folks taking action and responsibility in Door County
They are organizing and spending their own money, hoping to stop developers and local government from embarking on a waterfront construction project that could put public land and water, and the state's principal water protection law - - the Public Trust Doctrine - - at risk, media report: 
Updates - - Some background by an environmental legal group, and also a longer story with in the Green Bay Press Gazette:
A newly-formed group opposed to a controversial Sturgeon Bay waterfront hotel hopes to raise $80,000 to stop the project...claiming that the location of the proposed hotel is on public land.
Tensions over the city of Sturgeon Bay’s west waterfront Planned Unit Development and the proposed Lindgren Hotel are rising to the point of legal action.
Aerial view of Sturgeon Bay.
Aerial view of Sturgeon Bay.

1 comment:

Nancy A said...

Thanks for your coverage of this example of fighting on behalf of the Public Trust Doctrine. Despite the drama of this week, we head on Monday to Madison for our first six-hour session with two highly recommended facilitators, all of us at the same table. Finding solutions that both fully honor the Public Trust Doctrine and provide the city a sustainable community development plan that is economically strong. We go with hope, and with much preparation. Nancy