By Tim Kowols
The city of Sturgeon Bay and Wal-Mart will head to mediation this fall to discuss the store’s current property assessment. Last September, the Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust filed a suit against the city in Door County Circuit Court regarding their property assessment, which at the time had a fair market value of close to $7.5 million. Over 200 cases have been filed against Wisconsin communities by big box stores by using the “dark store theory.” It allows businesses to argue their locations should be similar in value to a vacant store. City administrator Josh VanLieshout says decisions have an impact on the taxpayers.
VanLieshout says Wal-Mart is in the process of being reassessed and expects the mediation session to be scheduled for September. The League of Wisconsin Municipalities was unsuccessful in their attempt last session to get the Wisconsin State Legislature to act on dark store legislation.