Waterfront Resolution Likely Up to DNR

It’s back to square one in the effort to reach a settlement in the impasse over a segment of Sturgeon Bay’s west side waterfront. Despite the fact that the city council, on a four to three vote, approved the settlement agreement with a friends group that sued the city over the placement of ordinary high water mark, the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority’s decision to reject the agreement has made the settlement agreement, hammered out by an ad hoc committee, “invalid.” Since the city and the Waterfront Redevelopment Authority were litigants in the suit, all parties had to okay the settlement agreement. The ball now moves to the DNR’s court and a declaratory hearing that is supposed to lead to a decision on the high water mark, the boundary that separates a parcel from public or private status. And, because a judge has ruled that no land can be sold until the ordinary high water mark is determined, he will also have to sign off on the decision. Another option still on the table is taking the matter to Madison for legislative action. Speaking of the DNR, word has it that a representative of the state agency will meet with attorneys for the litigants to set a time for the hearing. It also appears that the DNR intends to issue a decision on the high water mark in a timely fashion.

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