By Tim Kowols
Rep. Joel Kitchens would rather the conflict regarding a proposed west side hotel project in Sturgeon Bay be settled on the local level. The Wisconsin State legislator has talked with the city, the developer, and members of the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront group at different times over the last year while the case regarding the disputed parcels waits for its day in court. Rep. Kitchens suggests a mediator take over the discussions between the sides and hopes a compromise can be met before the case goes to trial early next year. He thinks it is up to the courts to decide where the Department of Natural Resources draws the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM), giving both sides a better idea of where the proposed hotel could go.
The Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront is suing the city, its Waterfront Redevelopment Authority, and the developer of the project for possible Public Trust Doctrine issues with the plan. If no compromise can be met, oral arguments are scheduled to be heard on January 10.