Commentary: Cap Wulf Addresses the Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront

By Cap Wulf

For the “Friends” group that is working hard to undermine the city’s efforts to redevelop a critical portion of Sturgeon Bay’s westside waterfront, I have some important questions.

Why were you not interested or concerned when the city purchased the blighted former Door County Cooperative property for the express purpose and intention of eventually selling it back to private developers?

Where were you when the city chose a consulting firm to create a development concept that would complete and complement the waterfront plans that had been adapted and approved decades ago?

Why did you not attend any of the numerous Waterfront Redevelopment Authority (WRA) meetings that were held over a three-year period that were open to the public and at which the WRA, city staff and consultants worked through development options and eventually adapted a plan that was approved by the city?

Why did you not help to solicit Door County businesses to rent space in the initially proposed Four Seasons Market that the city and DCEDC were unable to fill, if in fact that is the kind of development you prefer?

Why were there never any objections to a hotel that had been repeatedly illustrated in planning and media publications in about the same location as the currently proposed hotel?

Why did you not raise questions or objections about where the original high water mark (OHWM) may have been when the city first purchased the property?

Why did you not object to the Co-op buildings that had long been on the same property that you are now misrepresenting as if it had always been public property that you somehow claim to be protecting?

Why would you not logically file a lawsuit against the DNR which established the location of the OHWM that the city then abided by and altered their development plans accordingly?

Are you afraid to challenge the DNR and are therefore filing frivolous lawsuits against the city that you know will be thrown out, but that you hope will sufficiently delay development until investors give up and go away?

If you succeed in delaying the development process long enough to successfully scuttle the city’s efforts, will you then take responsibility to individually produce and pay back the necessary funds to reimburse the taxpayers of Sturgeon Bay for all of the expenses involved in purchasing the property, paying for planning consultants, razing blighted buildings, environmental testing, city staff time, legal costs, etc. that would not be produced without the new property taxes generated by the proposed development?

Will you hold yourselves liable to cover the citizen’s exposure to these costs including the money that was spent improving Maple Street that was also to be paid for with TIF revenues that will not otherwise be produced if your actions successfully kill the redevelopment?

Can you honestly claim to be representing and protecting the public’s rights to undesignated public trust land that had already been privately developed and that the city purchased for the sole purpose of redeveloping and creating more public access?

Can you legitimately represent a position that your undisclosed vision or plan for this property would provide and fund a more attractive and inviting public space with complimentary amenities than what has been planned by the city?

Are your non-substantive complaints and delay tactics not betraying the best interests of our community in an effort to impose your own personal preferences that would ultimately diminish access and deprive citizens and visitors of numerous desirable public waterfront opportunities?

The answers to these questions should be obvious to most. With your transparent motives clearly apparent, those who represent the “friends” group must drop your senseless lawsuit immediately or be held liable by the city and citizens of Sturgeon Bay for all of the unfundable costs and expenses that will be unjustly dumped into the laps of city taxpayers due to your reckless and baseless actions.


Cap WulfSince 1981, Cap Wulf has been the owner of Wulf Bros., Inc.  He worked for Green Bay Redevelopment Authority and Door County Planning Department prior to that. He was the first chairman of Sturgeon Bay’s Waterfront Redevelopment Authority from 1989 – 92 when it was formed. He also served on Sturgeon Bay’s Common Council from 2001 to 2007. He currently serves on the city’s Waterfront Redevelopment Authority, Door County Maritime Museum and the Raibrook Foundation Boards. 

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