City Puts Marijuana Questions on April Ballot

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council became the latest Wisconsin municipality to take a marijuana question to voters.

At its Jan. 2 meeting, the council voted to add two advisory questions to the April ballot, asking voters whether they support the legalization of recreational marijuana and medical marijuana. The referendum would have no binding legal effect.

Alderman Seth Wiederanders took the idea to the council. Mayor Thad Birmingham questioned why the city is discussing a matter that is a federal law. Supporters of the question say that whatever the result, it sends a message to local and state representatives about where constituents stand on the issue.

“Visit Fort Collins, Colo., and see what has happened there,” cautioned alderman David Ward, though he didn’t explain what he was referring to. Alderman David Hayes struck a similar cautionary tone.

“They sense that there is a different feel in Denver,” Hayes said. “More people on the street that aren’t totally there.”

Alderwoman Barbara Allmann said she worried that there isn’t enough research on which to base a decision, but Wiederanders disputed that. “There is a ton of research out there,” he said.

City Approves Pre-annexation Plan for Undeveloped Nasewaupee Parcel

The council also voted 6-1 to approve a pre-annexation plan for a vacant parcel bordering the Target property in Nasewaupee. DuQuaine Development is planning a multiphase housing development on the property that would require connecting to city sewer and water.

Alderwoman Kelly Catarozoli argued vehemently against the plan, saying it would continue the city’s trend of sprawling development, but Community Development Manager Marty Olejniczak said the property is a prime example of good infill development.

“It has convenient access to highway, two schools within walking distance, a grocery store next door,” he said. “It’s surrounded by development on all sides.”

Olejniczak said there are no other lots in the city that would be big enough and zoned properly for a development such as the one proposed by DuQuaine. Catarozoli was the only council member to oppose the plan.

Accessory Dwellings Approved

The council took another small step toward addressing the city’s lack of affordable housing by giving initial approval to a Plan Commission recommendation to allow accessory dwelling units in certain residential areas of the city.

The change would allow accessory dwelling units, such as an apartment above a garage, in areas zoned Residential-1. The units must be owner-occupied properties and would have to go through the conditional use process to allow for input from neighboring property owners.