By Roger Utnehmer
A recent vote by the Sturgeon Bay Waterfront Redevelopment Authority has effectively stopped a settlement of the lawsuit between the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and the city.
WRA members voted five to two against accepting the settlement offer that has been approved by the city council.
Authority Chair Tom Herlache cited three reasons for his vote to reject the settlement and questioned how individual votes of members are known to the news media.
Referring to the settlement agreement, Herlache said, “I don’t think it gave us anything.” He said the 60′ of additional land for development below the meander line agreed to in the settlement went over a sewer line, making it a problem for construction.
Herlache also said the lot proposed under the settlement “was not sufficient in size to do anywhere near the kind of increment we need to do the kind of waterfront we want to see.” He also said the agreement was not specific enough and was too vague.
When asked to explain his reason for opposing the settlement Herlache questioned how DoorCountyDailyNews.com knew how he voted.
“Where did you get who voted how?” Herlache asked.
“I’m not going to tell you how I personally voted,” he said, “I will simply give you my personal opinion.”
Votes of authority members are a matter of public record and were released under an open records request filed by DoorCountyDailyNews.com.
That open records request shows that the five authority members voting against the settlement were Herlache, Cindy Weber, John Asher, Ryan Hoernke, and Chris Jeanquart. Votes for the proposed settlement were cast by Laurel Hauser and David Ward.
WRA members are appointed by the mayor. Recent speakers at Sturgeon Bay city council meetings have called for the abolition of the WRA. At least one member of the city council, Kelly Catarzoli, thinks the authority is an impediment to settling a lingering lawsuit that could cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars and keep Sturgeon Bay tied up in litigation for years.
Herlache told DoorCountyDailyNews.com he has no plans to revisit the vote opposing a settlement nor does he have immediate plans to schedule another authority meeting.