Federal Lawsuit Over Hotel Development Dismissed

A lawsuit filed in federal court which sought to prohibit the City of Sturgeon Bay from selling property on the city’s west side waterfront to a hotel developer has been dismissed. In making his ruling, Judge William Griesbach indicated that, because the dispute has to do with state laws, it should be adjudicated in a state court. The city had asked for the dismissal and a determination that the federal court would not entertain additional aspects of the case. Six individuals, calling themselves “The Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront,” filed the federal lawsuit in September, contending that land intended for the proposed “Lindgren Hotel” had been filled in over the years, was public land, and it’s sale was, therefore, a violation of the “Public Trust Doctrine” of the Wisconsin constitution. While the judge’s decision takes the matter out of federal court, it appears that more litigation is possible. Some of the principals in the federal lawsuit have indicated that the next step in the process will be in state court where a determination will be made as to the public’s rights to filled lake bed in Sturgeon Bay.

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