Council Asks for Legislation to Determine High Water Mark

The original high water mark for a parcel on Sturgeon Bay’s west side waterfront could be determined by legislative action in Madison. On a vote of four to three, the city council decided that, if necessary, it would go the route of state legislation to break the impasse over a decision on the line between public and private property. Alderman David Ward made the motion to move forward in Madison…

During a polarized discussion, it was pointed out that the legislation would move on a parallel track to current negotiations to come to some sort of agreement between a friends group and the city. Council member Laurel Hauser asked for time for the ad hoc committee to do its job before seeking legislation…

While much of the discussion of late has focused on the state constitution and the public trust doctrine related to public and private land, many believe the impasse is over opposition to a proposed waterfront hotel. The judge who stopped the city from selling land to the hotel’s developer indicated that he wanted a decision on the ordinary high water mark before signing off on the matter. The legislation, if it gets to that, would do just that.

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