By Roger Utnehmer
Ownership of a lingering eyesore on the Sturgeon Bay westside waterfront is being claimed by former developer Robert Papke.
Sturgeon Bay city administrator Josh VanLieshout told council members at today’s meeting that Papke is publicly claiming not only ownership of the dirt piles but also development rights for the west side waterfront.
Papke proposed a hotel on the property but withdrew his plan and filed a lawsuit against the city of Sturgeon Bay. He is suing the city for more than $500,000 claiming he was misled by officials who encouraged him to propose the hotel development while withholding information about obtaining title to the property.
Van Lieshout said any development plans for the waterfront site will be tied up in court for some time. He outlined several options for the city to consider regarding the dirt piles. Those include ordering the dirt removed from city property if it is owned by Papke, removing it at city expense, forming berms and reconfiguring the piles where they are now located or taking no action.
City staff will research options and report back to council members of costs associated with each.