Day 1 of Hotel Trial Focuses on Maps and High Water Mark

Testimony taken during the first day of a two-day trial in Door County Circuit Court focused on maps and the high water mark relative to waterfront land in Sturgeon Bay intended for a new hotel. A group calling itself “The Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront” brought the legal action against the City of Sturgeon Bay to stop the city from selling the parcel to developer Bob Papke who wants to build his “Hotel Lindgren” on the site. The group says a portion of the parcel is on land that was originally lake bottom. As such, it belongs to all of the citizens and selling it would violate “the public trust doctrine” of the state constitution. During Thursday’s proceedings, the group’s legal counsel called witnesses to indicate where the original high water mark was located. Hence the use of several maps to reinforce the point. The city has contended that the high water mark it is working under was provided by the Department of Natural Resources. Waupaca County Circuit Judge Raymond Huber is presiding at the trial. A second day of testimony is anticipated for Friday before Judge Huber takes the matter under advisement. Some legal experts have said that it could take several weeks before a decision is handed down.

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