The fight over a stretch of sidewalk you may have used in Egg Harbor is not over quite yet.
The Village of Egg Harbor announced last week it filed a petition with the Wisconsin Supreme Court seeking the review of a recent Court of Appeals decision between them and Sojenhommer, LLC regarding a disputed sidewalk. The case dates back to 2019 after the village condemned close to 400 square feet of property along County Highway G in order to make road and pedestrian improvements.
Sojenhommer LLC, which operates Shipwrecked Brewpub, sued the village the following year, arguing that the property could not be condemned to establish or extend a recreational trail. The village believes the sidewalk is not a recreational trail but rather a road safety feature since pedestrians in the past had to use the road in order to walk around that area of the village. After the village won its case in Door County Circuit Court, Sojenhommer, LLC appealed and received a positive judgment from the Court of Appeals in March. The village believes the ruling establishes a new precedent and could potentially all Wisconsin municipalities from utilizing their condemnation power to provide sidewalks in certain situations.
Village of Egg Harbor President John Heller said via a statement that “A complete street is designed to enable safe use by all people regardless of their age or ability and regardless of whether they are traveling as a driver or a pedestrian. The ultimate outcome of this case will have a major impact on Wisconsin municipalities’ ability to urbanize, make safety-related improvements, and/or reconstruct their roads. It will also impact the everso-important availability of grant funding which often requires the installation of a sidewalk. The Court of Appeals’ decision, if left unchallenged, will deter sidewalk construction and safety improvements on future streets in our State. This will undoubtedly have a negative impact on the health, safety, and welfare of the general public.”
The Wisconsin Supreme Court has not given an indication of whether it will take the case or not.