DNR Rescinds High Water Mark in Sturgeon Bay

If you thought things were already confusing on Sturgeon Bay’s west side waterfront, think again. The city was under the impression that the Department of Natural Resources had settled on an ordinary high water mark for the waterfront lot referred to as “Parcel 92.” That was the case until Tuesday when the DNR rescinded its pronouncement. What that means no one seems to know. A friends group was on record as opposing the DNR determination based on its interpretation of an 1835 map as inaccurate. The group submitted a court filing asking a judge to weigh in on the location of the line that delineates what is public and what is private land. It had previously opposed a waterfront hotel on the grounds that its location was in violation of the state constitution’s Public Trust Doctrine. A judge ruled that development could not move forward until the ordinary high water mark was determined. The city still hopes to develop a portion of the property acquired for development purposes and the DNR ruling would have allowed for that. Now it’s uncertain what the next step in the process will be.

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