2015 - 2016 LEGISLATURE
December 7, 2015 - Introduced by Representatives Jarchow, Allen, Craig, Czaja,
Knodl, Nygren, Petersen and Tauchen, cosponsored by Senators Lasee,
LeMahieu and Nass. Referred to Committee on Housing and Real Estate.
1An Act to renumber
706.22 (2) (a) 1., 706.22 (2) (a) 2. and 706.22 (2) (a) 3.; to
2renumber and amend
70.32 (2) (c) 4., 70.32 (4), 706.22 (2) (b) and 706.22 (3); 3to amend
59.69 (4) (intro.), 59.69 (4) (j), 59.69 (5) (f), 59.692 (1k) (a) 2., 59.692 4
(1k) (a) 4., 59.692 (1k) (b), 60.23 (33), 60.61 (2) (a) 6., 60.61 (4) (f), 62.23 (7) (am), 5
62.23 (7) (d) 4., 66.1001 (4) (f), 66.10015 (title), 66.10015 (1) (a), 66.10015 (1) (b), 6
66.10015 (1) (d), 66.10015 (2) (b), 66.10015 (2) (d), 236.45 (2) (am) (intro.), 7
706.22 (title), 706.22 (2) (title) and 706.22 (2) (a) (intro.); and
(1h), 59.692 (1k) (a) 6., 59.692 (1p), 59.692 (7), 66.10015 (1) (as), 66.10015 (1) 9
(bs), 66.10015 (3), 70.32 (2) (c) 4. b., 70.32 (4) (b), 227.445, 700.28, 706.22 (2) (a) 10
2m., 706.22 (2) (a) 3m., 706.22 (2) (b) 2., 706.22 (3) (b) and 895.463 of the 11
statutes; relating to: government actions affecting rights to real property; the
1regulation of shoreland zoning; the substitution of hearing examiners in
2contested cases; and the property tax treatment of unoccupied property.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill makes various changes to the regulation of property rights and
shoreland zoning and allows for the substitution of hearing examiners in contested
Restrictions on sale, purchase, development, or occupancy of real property
This bill does all of the following:
1. Prohibits a local governmental unit from requiring a person to take certain
actions with respect to real property, or pay a related fee, before purchasing, taking
title to, or occupying the property.
2. Provides that a local governmental unit may require a real property owner
to take certain actions with respect to property that are not related to purchasing or
occupying the property.
3. Invalidates any ordinance, resolution, or policy currently in effect that is
inconsistent with the prohibitions in the bill.
4. Provides that the prohibitions in the bill, and related prohibitions under
current law, do not affect the ability of a local governmental unit to enforce any state
or federal requirement.
5. Specifically prohibits a county from enacting a development moratorium.
6. Prohibits a city, village, town, or county (political subdivision) from
prohibiting or unreasonably restricting a real property owner from selling or
transferring title to any interest in the real property.
Individual notice requirements
This bill requires a political subdivision to provide written notice to a
landowner that potential action by the political subdivision may affect the allowable
use of the landowner's property. The bill also requires counties and towns to provide
such notice if a proposed zoning ordinance will affect the size or density requirements
of a landowner's property. In addition, the bill eliminates a political subdivision's
authority under current law to impose a fee for providing notice.
This bill requires a political subdivision to deny or approve a permit for activity
related to a specific and identifiable land development based on regulations and
ordinances in effect at the time that the permit application was submitted for
approval. Also, if a project requires an approval from a state agency and a political
subdivision, the existing requirements applicable at the time of filing the first
application, whether filed with the state agency or political subdivision, are
applicable to all subsequent approvals required for the project. The bill also provides
that any deadline set by the political subdivision for approving a permit application
must be extended so that it coincides with the period in which other related
applications are being decided on, including the duration of any proceedings
contesting the approval of such applications.
Under current law, a county must enact a shoreland zoning ordinance for all
shorelands in its unincorporated area and the ordinance must meet shoreland
zoning standards established by DNR by rule. Current law defines shorelands to be
the area within a certain distance from the OHWM of a navigable water. Current
law requires a county to establish a shoreland setback area, which is an area within
a certain distance of the OHWM in which the construction or placement of structures
is limited or prohibited. Under this bill, if a professional land surveyor, in measuring
a setback from an OHWM of a navigable water, relies on a map, plat, or survey that
incorporates or approximates the OHWM, the setback measured is the setback with
respect to a structure constructed on that property if the map, plat, or survey relied
upon is prepared by a professional land surveyor and DNR has not identified the
OHWM on its Internet site at the time the setback is measured.
Current law generally prohibits the enactment of a county shoreland zoning
ordinance that prohibits or regulates the maintenance, repair, replacement,
restoration, rebuilding, or remodeling of all or any part of a nonconforming structure
if that activity does not expand the structure's footprint, and a county shoreland
zoning ordinance that requires any approval or imposes any fee or mitigation
requirement for, or otherwise prohibits or regulates, the vertical expansion of a
nonconforming structure. This bill expands these prohibitions to a structure of which
any part is legally located in the shoreland setback area only by operation of a
Under the bill, neither DNR nor a county shoreland zoning ordinance may
prohibit the owner of a boathouse with a flat roof from using the roof as a deck if the
roof has no side walls or screens or from having or installing a railing around the roof
that is consistent with Department of Safety and Professional Services standards.
This bill provides that a shoreland zoning standard or ordinance may not
prohibit placement of a device or system that retains runoff in a shoreland setback
The bill also provides that the construction or maintenance of property or
equipment used for the transmission, delivery, or furnishing of natural gas, heat,
light, or power and owned by a public utility or cooperative association organized for
the purpose of producing or furnishing heat, light, or power to its members only is
considered to satisfy shoreland zoning laws and a county's shoreland zoning
ordinance if DNR has issued all required navigable water, water and sewage, and
pollution discharge permits or approvals authorizing the construction or
maintenance or, if no such permits or approvals are required, if the construction and
maintenance is conducted in a manner that employs best management practices to
infiltrate or otherwise control storm water runoff from that infrastructure.
Resolution of challenge to zoning restrictions
This bill requires a court to resolve any ambiguity in a matter involving a
zoning ordinance or shoreland zoning ordinance in favor of the free use of private
Supermajority vote to down zone a property
The bill allows a political subdivision to enact a down zoning ordinance only if
the ordinance is approved by at least two-thirds of the members of its governing
body. The bill defines a down zoning ordinance as an ordinance that affects an area
of land by rezoning it to a usage that is less dense than its previous usage.
Property tax treatment of undeveloped land
This bill defines, for property tax purposes, "undeveloped land" to include land
that is platted and zoned for residential, commercial, or manufacturing use until
such time that a permit is issued for constructing a building or other structure on the
land. The bill provides that such land be assessed at its unimproved value. Other
undeveloped land under current law is assessed at 50 percent of its full value.
Contested case hearings
Under this bill, a person who has applied for a contract, permit, or other
approval that is the subject of a contested case hearing for which the Division of
Hearings and Appeals in the Department of Administration has assigned a hearing
examiner may file one written request per hearing for a substitution of a new hearing
examiner. If the request is timely and in proper form, the matter must be transferred
to a new hearing examiner.
For further information see the state and local fiscal estimate, which will be
printed as an appendix to this bill.
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
59.69 (4) (intro.) of the statutes is amended to read:
59.69 (4) Extent of power.
(intro.) For the purpose of promoting the public 3
health, safety and general welfare the board may by ordinance effective within the 4
areas within such county outside the limits of incorporated villages and cities 5
establish districts of such number, shape and area, and adopt such regulations for 6
each such district as the board considers best suited to carry out the purposes of this 7
section. The board may establish mixed-use districts that contain any combination 8
of uses, such as industrial, commercial, public, or residential uses, in a compact
urban form. The board may not enact a development moratorium, as defined in s.
266.1002 (1) (b), under this section or by acting under ch. 236.
The powers granted 3
by this section shall be exercised through an ordinance which may, subject to sub. 4
(4e), determine, establish, regulate and restrict:
59.69 (4) (j) of the statutes is amended to read:
(j) The Subject to s. 66.10015 (3), the
density and distribution of 7
59.69 (5) (f) of the statutes is amended to read:
(f) The county zoning agency shall maintain a list of persons who
10submit a written request to receive notice of any proposed ordinance or amendment
11that affects the allowable use of the property owned by the person.
If the county 12
zoning agency completes a draft of a proposed zoning ordinance under par. (a) or if 13
the agency receives a petition under par. (e) 2., the agency shall send a notice, which 14
contains a copy or summary
of the proposed ordinance or petition, to each person on
whose property, the allowable use or size or density requirements
of which, 16
may be affected by the proposed ordinance or amendment. The notice shall be by 17
mail or in any reasonable form that is agreed to by the person and the agency. The
18agency may charge each person on the list who receives a notice a fee that does not
19exceed the approximate cost of providing the notice to the person.
An ordinance or 20
amendment that is subject to this paragraph may take effect even if the agency fails 21
to send the notice that is required by this paragraph.
59.692 (1h) of the statutes is created to read:
If a professional land surveyor licensed under ch. 443, in 24
measuring a setback from an ordinary high-water mark of a navigable water as 25
required by an ordinance enacted under this section, relies on a map, plat, or survey
that incorporates or approximates the ordinary high-water mark in accordance with 2
s. 236.025, the setback measured is the setback with respect to a structure 3
constructed on that property if all of the following apply: