By Paul Schmitt
The Sturgeon Bay City Council’s 4 to 3 vote Tuesday to approve a settlement agreement that would end a lawsuit filed by Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront does not mean the lawsuit is over. Since the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority rejected the agreement last month by a 5 to 2 vote and is also named in the lawsuit brought by the Friends group, there is no settlement yet, according to City Administrator Josh VanLieshout.
VanLieshout says the next step is for the Wisconsin DNR to hold the declaratory ruling on the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) on the disputed land. The lawsuit was initially won by the Friends group and banned development of a proposed hotel on land that Judge Raymond Huber ruled was once lakebed. Judge Huber would also have to sign off on any negotiated settlement.
The four members of the city council who voted for the settlement agreement were Kelly Catarozoli, Barbara Almann, Laurel Hauser, and David Ward.