Judge Rules Against Sale of Property for Waterfront Hotel

The City of Sturgeon Bay’s effort to develop property on its west side waterfront was hit with another delay Friday when a judge ruled against the plan to sell a waterfront property to a developer seeking to build a hotel. It had been speculated that a decision might not be available from Waupaca County Circuit Judge Raymond Huber for weeks, if not months, but the judge announced his decision Friday afternoon after hearing testimony from witnesses supporting the city, followed by closing arguments. In handing down his decision orally, Judge Huber granted the injunction sought by the plaintiffs, the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront, indicating that, in the case of one parcel, property referred to as parcel 100, the land could not be sold lakeside, north of the ordinary high water mark. In the case of other, parcel 92, an ordinary high water mark had to be established by the DNR before any sale could happen. A written order is expected to be drawn up and could be available within ten days. The friends group had contended that the way the hotel was configured on the property in question, it would be built on land that had been filled in over the years, land that could not be sold because it was owned by the public and its sale would violate the public trust doctrine of the state constitution. The city has several options on the table that will be evaluated in the days ahead.

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