By Roger Utnehmer
After approximately 90 minutes of testimony, Sturgeon Bay Community Development Director Marty Olejniczak cited the goals of west side waterfront develpoment, emphasizing elimination of blight and economic benefits to the city and adjoining property owners.
Shawn Fairchild is testifying now, citing more than 50 newspaper articles dating back to the 1800’s that make references to the west side waterfront being artificially filled. He shared photographs taken of recent excavation showing cinder blocks and other fill, including beer bottles from the early to mid 1950’s.
Christie Weber is now testifying. She introduced herself as the President of the Sturgeon Bay Historical Society. She is also a plaintiff in the litigation filed by Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront. Weber is sharing a series of photographs from newspapers and a 1930 Sturgeon Bay High School year book. The pictures indicate water surrounded the Teweles and Brandeis dock with the water of Sturgeon Bay. By proving the site of proposed development is reclaimed lakebed, private development is prohibited under the Public Trust doctrine of the Wisconsin constitution. Reclaimed waters, according to the constitution, must be retained for the use of the general public.
Thomas Herlache, chair of the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority and Sturgeon Bay Mayor Thad Birmingham along with city council members David Ward, Kelly Catarozoli and Laurel Hauser are attending the hearing. City Attorney Randy Nesbitt and City Administrator Josh Van Lieshout are also attending.