Council Approves Street Vacations for Bay Ship Expansion

The Sturgeon Bay City Council has approved a plan to vacate or close off portions of 1st Avenue and Jefferson Street so that Fincantieri/Bay Shipbuilding can expand its waterfront operation into the former Palmer Johnson Yachts buildings. However, the action taken Tuesday evening is contingent upon 11 conditions being met. First District Alderperson Kelly Catarozoli opposed the action and Alderman Stew Fett, a bay Ship employee, did not participate in the vote. While others chimed in, the matter was primarily debated by Catarozoli and Mayor Thad Birmingham. Catarozoli said the city was essentially getting nothing for vacating the streets…

Mayor Birmingham objected to the contention that the negotiations had been one-sided. He noted that the discussions between the city and Bay Ship over the street vacation request had required “give and take” on both sides, that they became testy at times and that neither side was totally happy in the end…

The provisions attached to the agreement require Bay Ship to provide $135,000 and dedicate land for turnarounds, that utility easements be conveyed perpetually, that the Palmer Johnson property must be
closed on before the vacation goes through, that action be put off until the Highway 42/57 and Bayview Bridge projects are completed, that a mechanism be put in place that will return the streets to the city in the event of a change in business fortunes, that attention be paid to access points, aesthetics, dust and parking issues, and, that a storm sewer be repaired or relocated.

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