City of Eau Claire seeks dismissal of Town of Washington lawsuit

The City of Eau Claire said the lawsuit over an annexation order doesn’t meet statutory requirements.
Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 11:07 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The City of Eau Claire is responding to a lawsuit filed by the Town of Washington that said an annexation proposal by the city isn’t legal.

According to documents filed Wednesday in Eau Claire County Circuit Court, the city’s attorney, Douglas Hoffer, said that Wisconsin statutes don’t allow townships to get in the way of a unanimous petition of private property owners who want to annex or nullify an approved city or village annexation ordinance.

“Generally under Wisconsin law, government land that is not developable or usable isn’t counted for these types of annexations, and we think that’s what applies here,” Hoffer said in July when the lawsuit was filed. “We’re confident that the City of Eau Claire complied with Wisconsin statutory requirements for these types of annexations.”

In the court documents, the city said the Town of Washington’s complaint doesn’t meet statutory requirements and the city would file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

A unanimous petition means that everyone owning the land agreed to the annexation into the City of Eau Claire, which the Eau Claire City Council voted to do with a 9-2 vote in June. The land would be used for a potential new housing development near Lowes Creek Road.

The Town of Washington argued that since the proposed annexation is land owned in Eau Claire County, the petition isn’t valid without the County signing on to it.

In the City of Eau Claire’s court filing, the city asked for the complaint to be dismissed and for a judgement of court costs. The City had 20 days to respond to the lawsuit after it was filed in July.

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