By Tim Kowols
The requests for a summary judgment for both the city of Sturgeon Bay and the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront were denied Tuesday, paving the way for a trial set for February. A full gallery watched the nearly 45 minute hearing at the Door County Justice Center as both sides debated the merits of the case moving forward.
Plaintiff attorney for the Friends group Mary Beth Peranteau argued the city had not met the burden of proof that its proposed development was not in violation of the ordinary high water mark, specifically with a piece of land located on Sturgeon Bay’s west waterfront known as Parcel 92. Parenteau told Judge Raymond Huber of Waupaca County that the city should go back to the developer and redraw its boundaries with help from the DNR.
Defense attorney for the city Remzy Bitar called Parcel 92 a “red herring” in the case, stating that whatever fill material was used there was used in other parts of the development plan not in dispute. Bitar told Judge Huber the concurrence line drawn by the Department of Natural Resources for a neighboring parcel was reasonable and that DNR officials stated they could not “reinvent the wheel” when drawing the OHWM.
Judge Huber ultimately found there to be enough disputable facts in both summary judgments that a trial would be needed, even questioning if the scheduled two days would be enough. The trial between the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront and the city is currently slated for February 9 and 10.