State law signed on eminent domain proceedings

“Editor’s note: This story is part of a series recapping the top stories of 2017. Read the other top stories here.

It’s been a long fight for Bay City resident David Meixner, and he is tired. But he refuses to give up in the battle to save what he says is his land from eminent domain proceedings.

Meixner and his attorney, Bill Mavity, feel the village no longer has a leg to stand on in its pursuit of acquiring Meixner’s land to develop a 1.1-mile walking trail along an inlet of the Mississippi River, along the northern shores of Lake Pepin, through Meixner’s land and onto a peninsula. In April 2015, village board officials voted 3-2 to develop the walking trail.

On Sept. 21, 2017, Gov. Scott Walker signed the 2017-2018 state budget bill into law as Act 59.

According to a summary of state budget items written by Assistant Director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities Curt Witynski, the budget bill contains a policy item that limits municipal powers.

“It prohibits local governments from using eminent domain to acquire land for bike and pedestrian paths … “ Witynski wrote.

Wisconsin Statute sec. 32.015 “prohibits municipalities from acquiring property by condemnation to establish or extend a recreational trail; a bicycle way, a bicycle lane, or a pedestrian way.””

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Source: Nigbor, Sarah. River Towns 29 December 2017.