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the view (blocked) from the road (after & before)


(After & Before)
The Local Correspondent

You have to see it to believe it. Which is what this news item from NBCoop today is all about.

Many of us (residents and tourists alike) traveling south down Highway 42. see it all too often and are sick of the sight. What’s been pushed, ‘billboard-ed” in our face. What we’re forced to look at, when we know what once was there: another, potential, million-dollar view of the county. Now, alas, gone the way of condo craziness, developer’s desire: “Me first! Screw you! And Door County.”

It’s an old story. This is my 40th anniversary of living in the county and in all those years I’ve been watching it slowly picked apart. Gobbled up. “Disappeared.” Of course there’s no stopping it–except for certain individuals and organizations like the Door County Land Trust, with hearts and heads in the right place. Everything gets worse, as some sage once said. It does. Yes it does.

I addressed this issue before, almost two years ago, January, 2008 (see, “Blei/At Large”, check Archives, open “An Offering”). The view of Sister Bay I was defending (proposing…pleading for preservation) has by now been erased—replaced by the in-your-face reality in the accompanying photo—the continued “March of the Condos” across the Door landscape. Merrily We Roll Along. Well, maybe not so merrily in these economic times. And while many of them remain empty, I don’t see any of these selfish structures removed, the view restored ‘for the greater good.”

I could go into a long essay, a rabble-rousing rant—but what’s the use? I’ve devoted a considerable amount of my Door County writing to the issue. Even had some fun at it, and modicum of minor celebrity. But what’s the use? The condos keep marching toward the shoreline, the McMansions continue to secure, eat-up the rural interior (and wave banners “Don’t Tread on Me”). And a few of us are pleased with our view and four-car garage; some of us are pissed-off, remembering the way we were; and most of us don’t have time or care to think about it too much. It’s hard enough to pay the bills, find work.

I don’t know what Sister Bay/Liberty Grove was thinking when they allowed this to happen to the old Liberty Park Lodge and that beautiful shoreline. I don’t know the hieroglyphics of zoning or the skullduggery of local politics. But this seems to me a huge mistake. Another sad commentary on greed over the common good, the common view. CAUTION: There’s another foundation to the right of the present obstruction, which should pretty much shut the door in the face of everybody but the condo people..

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

I’ve written only 483 of them.

Here’s the picture:


  1. steve fortney

    the picture is rabble rousing enough.


  2. George Bisbee

    I share your sadness. The Charlevoix, Michigan harbor, Round Lake, was as picturesque as any harbor in the world until 1959. Then the invasion. The Brits felt the same way in 1066 when the Normans arrived. The Norman who arrived in Charlevoix 993 years later was the first to put up a cedar-shaked monstrosity in your face off of Belvedere Avenue. The city fathers should have renamed the avenue because it no longer was belvedere (italian for “beautiful to see”). And to think the city father’s slogan for Charlevoix was “Charlevoix the Beautiful.” Today, the harbor is nearly ringed with two and three story condos so you have to ring somebody’s doorbell and be invited in to see the water. Sad indeed.

  3. R, V, Finch

    Hey, don’t you realize a pretty view pays no property taxes? Consider the additional revenue, while providing few services. You know, these places are most often owned by part-time residents or senior citizens…. so no schooling cost is involved. It’s money in our pockets!
    The Local Planning Committee

  4. Howard Sherpe

    Those two pictures pretty much say it all, Norb. What a shame. That same scenario is happening everywhere. More buildings go up, more nature and views destroyed. Thanks for being that voice still crying in the wilderness, while there is still some wilderness left. Too bad more people don’t stop, look, and listen.

  5. Lars

    The Blame Game with this one belongs to the Town of Liberty Grove as the Town had plenty of chances to purchase this property and just ignored it……very sad!

  6. Robert M. Zoschke

    The Oneida Nation Indians, laughing as they count their casino dollars, are also laughing at the egomaniacal self-gratification that drove the social-ladder-climbing-striving developer to build those STILL UNSOLD MONSTROSITIES that destroyed the natural view.

  7. Stephen Kastner

    The property tax argument is not valid until and unless we all start to see our property taxes drop… Mine keep going up as the natural environment continues to diminish.

  8. Mary Ann Grzych

    I’m sorry to see what is happening up there in Door County. At the rate the lake views are disappearing, there will soon be no reason for me to drive six hours to get there. I can stay home, save gas and amble through one of the local condo communities in the Palos Heights, Orland Park, Illinois area. I’ll see the same thing.
    I share your angst at being helpless to stop it.

  9. Mike Koehler

    Norb, to paraphrase Forest Gump, “Sometimes theres just not enough dynamite.” Not that I propose blowing shit up. Not averse to it either. Door County hase fallen prey to the golden rule. Those with the gold make the rules. We can’t educate them, eradicate them, all we can do is outlast ’em.

  10. Bridget Buff

    Awesome….powerful article and photos Dad! You are the voice of Door County. I am proud of you as usual.

  11. David Rack

    Garage door architecture vs. the sunset! Monotonous grey vs the color. Money in our pockets said it with the bluntest capitalistic standard! Take their money to build more straight roads and new government buildings? but at least “save our view too” or pray for the lake to raise and a nasty winter. Either way, keep fighting the fight.

  12. Jude hey

    There’s not a person I know who doesn’t drive past this with a lament and a curse competing to be heard. And venom in our veins. How could they …………………..?
    Thank mr. anoye. ing. (does he have enough money yet???)

  13. David Dix

    Thank Gott Al Johnson’s goat-roofed restaurant is on the other side of the road. Unt thanks for the Ridges in Bailey’s Harbor. And a few other things…..

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