Year in Review: What We’ll Watch in 2016


In addition to the presidential election in November, local elections in April will bring some new faces to county and municipal governance. Four Door County board supervisors are bowing out, so there will be changes there. The Sturgeon Bay Common Council race should be interesting, with a number of freshman candidates hanging their hats on the Westside Waterfront Redevelopment plan. Voters in Brussels, Gardner and Union will be asked to vote on a $2.8 million referendum to upgrade the Brussels-Union-Gardner Fire Department facility in Brussels. That is more than $1 million less than the fall 2014 referendum that failed.

Road Construction

Road construction continues in Sister Bay this summer, but the big construction project that has everyone guessing about the consequences are the roundabouts scheduled for Sturgeon Bay. Stay tuned!

The EPA and Wisconsin Waters

In October, Midwest Environmental Advocates filed a petition for corrective action with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of 16 Wisconsin citizens “to bring Wisconsin back into compliance with the Clean Water Act” due to “Longstanding water problems from poor implementation and enforcement of the landmark federal law.” Kewaunee CARES members Bill Iwen and Lynn and Nancy Utesch, and Door County-based Dean Hoegger of the Clean Water Action Council of Northeast Wisconsin were among the 16 petitioners.

Door County Brewing Company

The brewery received permission from the county to build an approximately 11,000 square foot brewery at the corner of County EE and F in Baileys Harbor that will be capable of producing 25,000 barrels (or 775,000 gallons) of beer annually.

Shoreland Zoning

Door County will be adding its name to those of other counties that have asked for the repeal of shoreland zoning changes that were inserted last summer into the state’s biennial budget as a “property rights” bill. Door and other counties object to the one-size-fits-all changes inserted into the bill, as well as the removal of local control on many issues. While most think repeal is not likely, a compromise bill is in the works.

County Buildings

Door County is likely to make a decision on two major building projects – EMS headquarters in Sturgeon Bay and an expanded senior center. The original thought was to continue the relationship with Ministry Door County Medical Center and lease land from them, but the county commissioned a feasibility study to determine whether the EMS headquarters and senior center could go into the vacant former county highway building on 14th St. The county is also expected to make a decision in the near future on where to build a mid-Door ambulance station. Carlsville and Jacksonport have been identified as likely locations.

Town of Jacksonport

The town created a Plan Commission in 2015 that has opened the door to an identity crisis the town suffers from. Some would like to see a unified downtown with sidewalks and attractions to make people stop rather than drive through to more robust destinations, while others want Jacksonport to remain a quiet place that tourists pass through on their way to noisier locations. The town’s Park Committee has also raised some eyebrows with plans for the park that seem too far-reaching for the little community.

Wet Ephraim?

Will 2016 be the year Ephraim voters reject the 19th century Temperance movement affiliations that prevent the sale of alcohol in the village? There are rumblings. Stay tuned!

Article Comments