Letter to the Editor: Where’s the Common Sense?

I am sure I’m not the only one frustrated about the battle over the proposed downtown westside Sturgeon Bay waterfront hotel complex!

The issue is whether or not the government owns and can sell a strip of land between an 1835 high-water survey line and the actual waterfront.

The sparring parties were told to “negotiate” a compromise line.

Geez. A high-water line is not a matter of negotiation, it’s a matter of survey by competent authority. Secondly, since 1835, the high-water line has been altered by fill in Sturgeon Bay, and probably every other city of any size on the Great Lakes. In Sturgeon Bay, does the government really own Utopia Circle and the SB Yacht Club – both built on fill? The entire downtown waterfront, using the 1835 line, is probably government owned, too. No?

A 2017 high-water survey would reflect reality. I’m thinking the line would probably be at the exact edge of our current shore, as we are pretty much at an all-time high right now. Let’s not forget, a high-water line marks the boundary of navigable water. Let’s face it, the Door County Maritime Museum is not in navigable water.

Sturgeon Bay did a fine job concerning the Stone Harbor hotel complex and grounds, which includes a beautiful public boardwalk, public restrooms, and public water access.

The obstructionism concerning this similar project, based on the never-before-cited-nor-enforced 1835 high-water argument, is nuts. Whatever happened to common sense?


Tom Felhofer

Union, Wis.

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