By Dan Collins, Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront
I believe the Mayor’s recent letter has promoted some falsehoods. I appreciate the opportunity to address some of them briefly.
The Mayor obscures the fact that the DNR’s Ordinary High Water Mark concurrence was made for only a part of one parcel, number 100, and implies it should somehow cover both parcels, numbers 92 and 100. The hotel development requires both parcels 92 and 100. To be clear, the City knowingly has not asked for, or obtained, an OHWM determination for the hotel parcel at 92 East Maple Street. To say otherwise suggests a lack knowledge of the facts or an intention to deceive.
Contrary to the Mayor’s speculation about the Friends’ dissatisfaction with the DNR, the suit is directed solely and specifically at the City for its transgressions in failing to defend the State Constitution by its attempts to sell public trust land for private development and for acting outside of their authority.
In an attempt to resolve the dispute after unsuccessful negotiations with the City, the Friends met productively several times with the Developer. The Developer suggested a new hotel location at the West Waterfront. This new hotel location was acceptable to both the Developer and the Friends. At one meeting, the Developer and Friends were joined by Representative Joel Kitchens. That new location was embodied in a letter sent to the City and also informally presented to the City by Representative Kitchens. The new location supported development potential for both the hotel and a brewpub on the West Waterfront property within the TIF. The Mayor’s statement that this offer is “a worse outcome… than if the City lost the lawsuit.” defies logic. We implore him to reconsider his rejection.
It seems the Mayor is either intending to mislead, or absent knowledge when he says the legislation enacted for Milwaukee is nearly identical to Sturgeon Bay. The Milwaukee Legislation is predicated on a prior existing agreement from 1913 which created a foundation for the legislative action. No such prior agreement exists to guide legislation here in Sturgeon Bay. If legislation succeeds in Sturgeon Bay, look out Egg Harbor, look out Fish Creek, look out
miles of waterfront towns and villages for public shores being filled and then commercially developed in Door County.
The City has several courses of action. They could ask the DNR for an OWMH determination on Parcel 92. They could come back to the negotiating table to discuss the waterfront location approved by both the Developer and the Friends. Alternately, they could keep their head in the sand, waste more time and money while they continue blaming the public for defending our public trust rights found in our State Constitution. A map of the proposed location and more can be found at http://www.friendsofsturgeonbaypublicwaterfront.com/ .
Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront