Hoekstra v. City of Bayfield
Posted October 31, 2011
In Hoekstra v. City of Bayfield, Western District of Wisconsin Case Number 11-CV-650, two married couples who own bed and breakfasts within the City of Bayfield in northern Wisconsin have filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Bayfield's new and highly restrictive ordinance regulating who can own and operate B&B's.
State law requires only that the owners of B&B's be in attendance whenever guests are present. The Bayfield ordinance goes much further, requiring that owners live in Bayfield at least 6 months out of the year, register to vote in Bayfield, and list their Bayfield address on their driver's license. The owners argue that this discriminates unlawfully against anybody who does not live permanently within the city limits of Bayfield, including people who live in the next town over, people who live across the border in Minnesota, and even people who might live down south most of the year and run a Bayfield B&B for the few warm summer months.
The owners also raise complaints that the members of the city's planning commission and common council violated ethical duties in passing this ordinance and revoking other owners' B&B permits, because a majority of the members of both bodies own competing lodging establishments - other bed and breakfasts and small hotels - in Bayfield. State and local law prohibits government officials from using their office to achieve a personal business advantage.