Door County Daily News).
Citizen action in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin has halted a controversial waterfront development project in northeastern Wisconsin, (Welter, Green Bay Press Gazette, Door County Pulse).
The Friends of the Sturgeon Bay Public Waterfront group prevailed in Door County Circuit Court in February and March 2017 after a judge affirmed Wisconsin's Public Trust Doctrine protects specific public water and shoreland against private interests' for-profit use in Door County Wisconsin.
The rulings effectively stopped the Sawyer Hotel project, and now the developer of the proposal, Republican Party donor Robert Papke, is suing the city of Sturgeon Bay following the recent legal and political set-backs, (Welter, Green Bay Press Gazette, Door County Pulse).
In a new development, citizen clean-water activists say they fear legislative Republicans may be contemplating an extraordinary, end-around maneuver that would ultimately clear the way for the proposed hotel operation, in a corruption of an official state administrative deliberation, and a legal negotiation now in progress.
Some say Republicans may attempt to use the legislature to financially aid the Republican donor, Papke, and in the process potentially degrade the Public Trust Doctrine in Wisconsin that exists precisely to protect public waters against threats to the heath and accessibility of water, (Green Bay Press Gazette).
"Papke is desperate and pissed," said a local clean water activist, who is a member of a generations-long family in Door County, and fears financial and political retaliation by private developers and Republicans.
A 2017 Republican appointee to the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, the politically connected Papke is suspected of pushing Republican legislators to slip into the 2017-2019 budget language that would facilitate the operation of this specific controversial waterfront development, while at the same time pursuing legal action against Sturgeon Bay.
Papke claims he is pulling the project, (Door County Pulse).