See also ch. Trans 57
, Wis. adm. code.
Airport and spaceport protection.
It is declared to be in the public interest that the navigable airspace over the state and the aerial approaches to any airport or spaceport be maintained in a condition best suited for the safe operation of aircraft or spacecraft and to that end the bulk, height, location and use of any building or structure, or any other object, and the use of land, may be regulated, or any building, structure or other object may be removed. It is the legislative intent that this section shall not supersede s. 59.69 (4)
, but that it shall be supplemental to such section.
(1) Procedure to obtain protection privileges.
The aerial approaches to any airport or spaceport owned and operated by corporations organized to provide aeronautic or astronautic facilities to the general public may be protected in the following manner: The owner of the airport or spaceport shall prepare and record with the register of deeds plans and specifications showing the land affected, the owner of each parcel or interest therein, whether public or private, the regulations to be imposed on each parcel and the structures, buildings or other objects to be removed. The owner or managing body of the airport or spaceport may negotiate and acquire from the owners of the various parcels or interest therein, whether public or private, by deeds the protection privileges shown by the plans and specifications. Referring in the deed to the plans and specifications, and briefly describing the plans and specifications, shall be considered sufficient legal description to convey the protection privileges set forth in the plans and specifications in the property of the grantor. In case the owner of the airport or spaceport is unable to obtain by negotiation the desired protection privileges, he or she may acquire the protection privileges by eminent domain in the manner set forth in ch. 32
, except as to lands and buildings of railway companies that are necessary to, or are used in connection with the operation of the railway. In case the protection privileges sought extend into more than one county the plans and specifications shall be recorded with the register of deeds of each county. In case any parcel of land lies in more than one county, eminent domain proceedings may be instituted in the circuit court of any county in which the parcel is situated, provided a certified copy of the final judgment with a description of the property involved is recorded with the register of deeds of all counties in which the parcel of land or interest therein lies.
(2) Notice; claim for damages.
In case of any airport landing field or landing and take-off strip, or spaceport or spacecraft launch or landing area, owned by any city, village, town, or county or any union of them, the commission or other body in charge of the operation and control of the airport, landing field or landing and take-off strip, or spaceport or spacecraft launch or landing area, may prepare and record without charge with the register of deeds plans and specifications showing the protection privileges sought as described in sub. (1)
. The commission or other body in charge shall send by registered mail with return receipt to each owner at his or her last-known address a notice stating that the plans and specifications have been recorded with the register of deeds' office, stating the county, time of recording, the record number, and a brief description of the parcel of land or interest therein affected. If the address of the owner cannot be ascertained or the registered letter is returned unclaimed, notice shall be sent by registered mail to the person in possession of the premises. If no person is in possession, then the notice shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the land involved and published as a class 3 notice, under ch. 985
, in the area affected. The right of the owner to claim for damages for the protection regulations imposed in the plans and specifications, or the removal of obstructions shall be forever barred, unless the owner files a claim for damages with the commission or other body in charge within 6 months from the receipt of the notice from the commission, or other body in charge, or the posting and last publication. The claim shall be verified and shall state the amount of damages claimed. The commission or other body in charge may pay the damages, if it has available funds, and the payment shall operate as a conveyance. If no claims for payment are filed or if payment is made, the commission or other body in charge shall file an affidavit for each parcel involved setting forth the rights acquired which shall be recorded by the register of deeds without charge and when so recorded has the same effect as any recorded instrument. If any owner is a minor or is adjudicated incompetent, the notice may be sent by registered mail to the owner's guardian, if he or she has one, and if there is none the circuit court of the county in which the land, or a larger part, is located shall upon application of the commission or other body in charge appoint a guardian to receive the notice, and to protect the rights of the owner. Any funds payable to the owner shall be cared for in the manner provided in ch. 54
. If the commission or other body in charge determines that the damages claimed are excessive, it shall so report to the governing body that established the airport, landing field or landing and take-off strip, or spaceport or spacecraft launch or landing area, in question and with its consent may acquire in the name of the governmental body the protection privilege desired in the manner set forth in sub. (1)
or it may deposit with the county clerk an award and notify the owner of the land involved in the method specified in this subsection. The landowner may accept the award without prejudice to his or her right to claim and contest for a greater sum. The landowner may, within a period of 6 months after notice of the award, proceed as provided in ch. 32
to have the damages appraised.
(3) Exercise of power and authority.
The power and authority to protect airports or spaceports conferred in subs. (1)
may be exercised from time to time; amended plans and specifications may be recorded in the register of deeds' office, and new protection privileges acquired from time to time in the methods provided by this section.
The duty to prevent encroachments by growth of trees or other vegetation, or otherwise, upon the protection privileges acquired by any airport, landing field, landing and take-off strip, or spaceport or spacecraft launch or landing area, shall be upon the owner or owners of the parcel of land affected by the protection privilege only in cases where the owner or owners have received compensation for the protection privilege. Any such encroachment is declared to be a private nuisance and may be abated in the manner prescribed in ch. 823
. In cases where no compensation has been paid for the protection privilege, encroachments shall be removed by the owner or the authority in charge of the airport, landing field, or landing and take-off strip, or spaceport or spacecraft launch or landing area, and shall be, in case of a publicly owned airport, landing field or landing and take-off strip, or spaceport or spacecraft launch or landing area, a city, village, town or county charge as the case may be. In removing such encroachments, the owner or authority in charge of the airport, landing field or landing and take-off strip, or spaceport or spacecraft launch or landing area, in question, may go upon the land and remove the encroachment without being liable for damages in so doing.
(5) Encroachments a private nuisance.
It shall be unlawful for any one to build, create, cause to be built or created, any object, plant, or cause to be planted, any tree or trees or other vegetation, which shall encroach upon any acquired protection privilege. In addition to the penalty set forth in s. 114.27
, such encroachment is declared to be a private nuisance and may be removed in the manner prescribed in ch. 823
(6) Permit for erection of high structures required.
No person shall erect anywhere in this state, including within a spaceport or spacecraft launch or landing area, any building, structure, tower or any other object the height of which exceeds the limitations set forth in sub. (7)
without first filing an application and procuring a permit from the secretary of transportation.
(7) Power to control erection of high structures.
For the purposes of sub. (6)
the power and authority to control the erection of buildings, structures, towers and other objects by the secretary of transportation shall be limited to those objects that would either extend to a height of more than 500 feet above the ground or surface of the water within one mile of the location of the object, or above a height determined by the ratio of one foot vertical to 40 feet horizontal measured from the nearest boundary of the nearest public airport or spaceport within the state; however, this power and authority shall not extend to objects of less than 150 feet in height above the ground or water level at the location of the object or to objects located within areas zoned under s. 114.136
or to objects located within areas zoned under s. 62.23 (7)
where the zoning ordinance enacted under said subsection controls the height of structures.
See also ch. Trans 56
, Wis. adm. code.
(8) Rules, regulations, standards and criteria.
In carrying out sub. (6)
the secretary of transportation may perform such acts, issue and amend such orders and make, promulgate and amend and enforce such reasonable rules, regulations and procedures and establish such minimum standards and criteria governing erection of buildings, structures, towers and hazards in the interest of the safe operation of aircraft and spacecraft as it deems necessary in the public interest and safety.
(9) Conflicting authority.
Wherein conflicting jurisdiction arises over the control of the erection of a building, structure, tower or hazard between the secretary of transportation and any political subdivision of the state, the secretary of transportation may overrule rules and regulations adopted by any political subdivision under the laws of this state after a public hearing wherein all parties thereto have been given an opportunity to be heard. The secretary may refer such matters to the division of hearings and appeals which shall hear and decide the matter after notice and hearing.
(10) Violations and penalties.
Each day that any person violates any of the provisions of subs. (6)
may be considered as a separate violation in determining penalties under s. 114.27
History: 1971 c. 41
; Sup. Ct. Order, 67 Wis. 2d 585, 774 (1975); 1977 c. 29
; 1979 c. 32
; 1981 c. 347
; 1993 a. 16
; 1995 a. 201
; 2005 a. 335
; 2007 a. 97
The 500 feet in sub. (7) is to be measured from the lowest point within one mile from the base of the tower. The commission [now secretary of transportation] may hold a hearing on whether to issue a permit for a tower even though an application is not made or is withdrawn. State v. Chippewa Cable Co. 48 Wis. 2d 341
, 180 N.W.2d 714
The jurisdiction of the secretary of transportation with respect to control over the erection of high structures is limited by the provisions contained in sub. (7) to those structures that either extend to a height of more than 500 feet above the ground or surface of the water within one mile of the location of the object, or a height determined by the ratio of one foot vertical to 40 feet horizontal measured from the nearest boundary of the nearest public airport in the state. If a local zoning ordinance, rule or regulation permits the erection of structures, which exceed these heights, a conflict of jurisdiction would arise and the secretary could invoke sub. (9) to resolve the conflict. 62 Atty. Gen. 232.
Airport and spaceport approach protection. 114.136(1)(a)(a)
Any county, city, village or town that is the owner of a site for an airport or spaceport which has been approved for such purpose by the appropriate agencies of the state and the federal government may protect the aerial approaches to such site by ordinance regulating, restricting and determining the use, location, height, number of stories and size of buildings and structures and objects of natural growth in the vicinity of such site and may divide the territory to be protected into several areas and impose different regulations and restrictions with respect to each area. The provisions of such ordinance shall be effective whether the site and the lands affected by such ordinance are located within or without the limits of such county, city, village or town, and whether or not such buildings, structures and objects of natural growth are in existence on the effective date of the ordinance. Such regulations, restrictions and determinations are declared to be for the purpose of promoting the public safety, welfare and convenience, and may be adopted, enforced and administered without the consent of any other governing body. Any ordinance adopted under this section may be amended from time to time in the same manner as is provided for the adoption of the original ordinance in sub. (2)
. The authority granted in this section shall be independent and exclusive of any other authority granted in the statutes.
When an airport or spaceport site is owned jointly by 2 or more units of government, such ordinance may be adopted by joint action of the governing bodies of such units. In such case, such governing bodies shall meet jointly to select a joint commission consisting of one member from each governing body selected by that governing body and, if there be 2, the members so selected shall elect a third member. Such joint commission shall elect a chairperson and a secretary, and shall have authority to formulate a tentative ordinance and hold public hearings as provided in sub. (2)
. At least 15 days written notice of the meeting to select a joint commission shall be given to each governing body by filing a copy of such written notice with the clerk thereof. Such notice may be given on the initiative of one such governing body or jointly by more than one. The governing bodies that attend such meeting may proceed jointly. If one attends, or if only one favors an ordinance, it may proceed alone without appointing a commission, but no ordinance applicable to a jointly owned airport or spaceport shall be adopted by a governing body acting alone unless it has given notice of meeting to select a joint commission as provided by this subsection, and such ordinance shall be as effective as if adopted by the joint bodies.
As an alternative to the procedure for the appointment of members of the joint commission provided in par. (b)
, the governing bodies of the units of government which jointly own an airport or spaceport site may by separate resolution of each governing body designate an existing subunit of any one of the governing bodies to act as the joint commission. In such case, the designated subunit shall elect a chairperson and secretary, formulate a tentative ordinance and hold public hearings as provided in sub. (2)
. No tentative ordinance formulated under this paragraph is effective unless it is adopted by all of the governing bodies of the units of government which jointly own the airport or spaceport site.
An ordinance adopted under par. (b)
may be amended in the same manner as is provided for the adoption of the original ordinance in par. (b)
(2) Formulation of ordinance, public hearing. 114.136(2)(a)(a)
Except as provided by sub. (1) (b)
, a committee of the governing body of the county, city, village, or town that owns the airport or spaceport site shall formulate a tentative ordinance under sub. (1)
and hold a public hearing or hearings thereon in some public place within the county, city, village, or town. Notice of the hearings shall be given by publication of a class 3 notice, under ch. 985
, in the area affected by the proposed ordinance.
The regulations, restrictions and determinations shall include, among other things, provisions for the limitation of the height of buildings, structures and objects of natural growth located not more than 3 miles from the boundaries of the airport site or located not more than 5 miles from the boundaries of the spaceport site. Such regulations, restrictions and determinations shall specify the maximum permissible height of buildings, structures and objects of natural growth and may specify such maximum permissible height as a ratio between the permissible maximum height of the building, structure or object of natural growth above the level of the airport or spaceport site and its distance from the nearest point on the boundary of the airport or spaceport site.
For the purposes of this section, buildings, structures and objects of natural growth shall not be restricted to a height above the level of the airport site which is less than one-thirtieth of its distance from the boundary of the airport site in the case of class I and II airports as classified by the civil aeronautics administration of the United States department of commerce and one-fiftieth of its distance from the boundary of the airport in the case of class III and larger airports as classified by said administration. Provided, however, that a building, structure, or object of natural growth within 3 miles of the airport site may be restricted to a height of 150 feet above the airport level, which is defined as the lowest point planned on any runway.
Should a greater restriction be deemed necessary for the proper protection of any part of the area affected, such greater restriction shall be secured by purchase or by the exercise of the right of eminent domain in the manner provided by ch. 32
The height restrictions shall not apply to legal fences or to farm crops which are cut at least once each year.
(3) Nonconforming uses.
The lawful use of land, buildings and structures existing at the time of the adoption or amendment of any ordinance under the authority of this section may be continued, although such use does not conform with the provisions of the ordinance. The expansion or enlargement of a nonconforming use shall be in conformity with the ordinance. The governing body of the owner of the airport or spaceport site may remove such nonconforming use or acquire the necessary air right over the same by purchase or exercise of the right of eminent domain in the manner provided by ch. 32
Any ordinance enacted under this section shall provide for a board of appeals. If the county, city, village or town which is the owner of the airport or spaceport has enacted a zoning ordinance under provision of law other than this section, the board of adjustment or board of appeals set up by that ordinance shall also function as the board of appeals under the ordinance enacted under this section.
If there is no such board of appeals or board of adjustment, any regulations adopted under this section shall provide for a board of appeals. Where the airport or spaceport is owned jointly, the ordinance shall provide for a joint board of appeals. Such board shall be constituted and have all the powers, duties and functions as provided in s. 62.23 (7) (e)
, but not more than 2 members of such board shall be owners or occupants of the area affected by the ordinance.
The governing body of the county, city, village or town owning the airport or spaceport site may provide for the enforcement of any ordinance or regulations enacted pursuant to this section. Such enforcement may be by a system of permits or any other appropriate method. The governing body enacting the ordinance may provide for the punishment of a violation of the ordinance by fine or imprisonment, or both.
This section is a limited grant of power to carry out a valid state police power to promote public safety along airport approaches. It does not violate the "one man, one vote" principle. Schmidt v. City of Kenosha, 214 Wis. 2d 527
, 571 N.W.2d 892
(Ct. App. 1997), 96-2380
The authority to regulate use and location of structures within the vicinity of airports is broad enough to encompass a restriction limiting individual residential units to a minimum of one acre. The restriction does not violate equal protection. Northwest Properties v. Outagamie County, 223 Wis. 2d 483
, 589 N.W.2d 683
(Ct. App. 1998), 97-3653
Equipment, control of airport; expense; regulations. 114.14(1)(1)
The governing body of a city, village, town or county which has established an airport or landing field, or landing and take-off strip, and acquired, leased or set apart real property for such purpose may construct, improve, equip, maintain and operate the same, or may vest jurisdiction for the construction, improvement, equipment, maintenance and operation thereof in any suitable officer, board or body of such city, village, town or county. The expenses of such construction, improvement, equipment, maintenance and operation shall be a city, village, town or county charge as the case may be. The governing body of a city, village, town or county may adopt regulations, and establish fees or charges for the use of such airport or landing field, or may authorize an officer, board or body of such village, city, town or county having jurisdiction to adopt such regulations and establish such fees or charges, subject however to the approval of such governing body before they shall take effect.
The governing body of a city, village, town or county which has established an airport may vest jurisdiction for the construction, improvement, equipment, maintenance and operation of the airport in an airport commission. The governing body of such a city, village, town or county may determine the number of commissioners on the commission. The commissioners shall be persons especially interested in aeronautics. In the case of a county, the commissioners shall be appointed by the chairperson of the county board, subject to the approval of the county board; in the case of cities, villages and towns by the mayors or city managers, village presidents and town chairpersons, respectively.
The terms of the commissioners shall be determined by the governing body.
The commissioners' compensation and allowance for expenses shall be fixed by the governing body.
The airport commission shall elect one member chairperson and one secretary who shall keep an accurate record of all its proceedings and transactions and report those proceedings and transactions to the governing body.
The commission shall have complete and exclusive control and management over the airport for which it has been appointed.
All moneys appropriated for the construction, improvement, equipment, maintenance or operation of an airport, managed as provided by this subsection, or earned by the airport or made available for its construction, improvement, equipment, maintenance or operation in any manner whatsoever, shall be deposited with the treasurer of the city, village, town or county where it shall be kept in a special fund and paid out only on order of the airport commission, drawn and signed by the secretary and countersigned by the chairperson.
In case of union airports owned by 2 or more governmental units, each governmental unit shall appoint an equal number of commissioners to serve for terms that are determined by each of the governmental units that appoint the respective commissioners. The moneys available for union airports shall be kept in the manner provided in this subsection in the treasury of one of the governmental units selected by the commission, and paid out in like manner.
Except as provided in par. (b)
, in carrying out its duties the airport commission may do any of the following:
Employ a manager, who may be a member of the commission, and fix the manager's compensation.
Employ and fix the compensation of employees other than a manager that the commission considers necessary.
Make contracts or other arrangements that the commission considers necessary for the construction, improvement, equipment, maintenance or operation of the airport.
Contract with private parties for a term not to exceed 10 years for the operation of the airport, including all necessary arrangements for the improvement, equipment and successful operation of the airport.
The exercise of authority by the airport commission under par. (a)
shall be subject to all of the following conditions:
The public may in no case be deprived of equal and uniform use of the airport.
No act, contract, lease or any activity of the airport commission shall be or become a binding contract on any government unit unless expressly authorized, and then only to the extent so expressly authorized.
No member of the commission may vote on the question of his or her selection as manager nor on any question as to his or her compensation.
Under sub. (3) (b) 1., arbitrarily excluding members of the public, whether private or commercial, from the use of an airport constitutes depriving the public of equal and uniform use of airports. Precluding taxis without airport permits from providing prearranged services, when limousines were not required to have permits to provide the same service, conflicts with sub. (3) (b) 1. and was an invalid exercise of county authority. County of Milwaukee v. Williams, 2007 WI 69
, 301 Wis. 2d 134
, 732 N.W.2d 770
This section does not provide a private right of action. Miller Aviation v. Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors, 273 F.3d 722
Appropriation, taxation for airports.
The local authorities of a city, village, town or county to which this chapter is applicable having power to appropriate money therein may annually appropriate and cause to be raised by taxation in such city, village, town or county, a sum sufficient to carry out the provisions of this chapter.
Union airports and spaceports.
All powers conferred upon any county, city, village or town by ss. 114.11
, relating to the acquisition, establishment, construction, ownership, control, lease, equipment, improvement, maintenance, operation and regulation of airports or landing fields, or spaceports or spacecraft launch or landing areas, may be exercised by any 2 or more municipalities in the establishment, acquisition, equipment and operation of joint airports or landing fields, or spaceports or spacecraft launch or landing areas. The governing body of any county, city, village or town participating in the ownership or operation of a joint airport or spaceport as provided in this section may by resolution withdraw from such joint operation or control and may relinquish its interest in the airport or spaceport.
History: 2005 a. 335
Pilots; federal license or permit.
It shall be unlawful for any person to pilot within this state any civil aircraft, unless such person is the holder of a currently effective pilot's license or student's permit issued by the government of the United States; but this restriction shall not apply to any person operating any aircraft licensed by a foreign country with which the United States has a reciprocal agreement covering the operation of such licensed aircraft.
Mechanic's license, issue, presentation.
Any person repairing, adjusting, inspecting or overhauling aircraft or aircraft engines within this state shall be in possession of a mechanic's license issued to the person by the federal government, which must be presented for inspection upon demand of any passenger, peace officer of this state, or any official, manager or person in charge of any airport or landing field in this state.
History: 1971 c. 192
; 1993 a. 492
Aircraft; airworthiness; federal license.
It shall be unlawful for any person to operate, pilot or navigate, or cause or authorize to be operated, piloted or navigated within this state any civil aircraft, unless such aircraft has a currently effective license issued by the government of the United States or has been duly identified by the government of the United States but this restriction shall not apply to aircraft licensed by a foreign country with which the United States has a reciprocal agreement covering the operations of such licensed aircraft, or to a nonpassenger-carrying flight solely for inspection or test purposes authorized by the United States to be made without such license.
Display of licenses.
The certificate of the license or permit respectively required of a pilot or a student shall be kept in the personal possession of the licensee or permittee when the licensee or permittee is operating an aircraft within this state. The certificate of the license required for an aircraft shall be carried in the aircraft at all times and shall be conspicuously posted therein in clear view of passengers. Such certificate of pilot's license, student's permit or aircraft license shall be presented for inspection upon the demand of any passenger, any peace officer of this state, any authorized official, or any official, manager or person in charge of any airport in this state upon which it shall land, or upon the reasonable request of any other person. In any criminal prosecution under any of the provisions of this chapter, a defendant who relies upon a license or permit of any kind shall have the burden of proving that he or she is properly licensed or is the possessor of a proper license or permit. The fact of nonissuance of such license or permit may be evidenced by a certificate signed by the official having power of issuance, or the official's deputy, under seal of office, stating that the official or deputy has made diligent search in the records of the official's office and that from the records it appears that no such license or permit was issued.
History: 1993 a. 492
Ultralight identification. 114.195(1)
In this section, "ultralight aircraft" means an aircraft which meets all of the following requirements:
Is used or intended to be used for manned operation in the air by a single occupant.
Is used or intended to be used for recreation or sport purposes only.
Does not have any U.S. or foreign air-worthiness certificate.
If unpowered weighs less than 155 pounds or if powered weighs less than 254 pounds empty weight excluding floats and safety devices which are intended for use in catastrophic situation, has a fuel capacity not exceeding 5 gallons, is not capable of more than 55 knots calibrated air speed at full power in level flight and has a power-off stall-speed which does not exceed 24 knots calibrated air speed.
No person may operate an ultralight aircraft within this state unless the aircraft displays an identification number assigned by an organization, approved by the department, which issues identification numbers for ultralight aircraft. The department shall maintain a list of organizations which qualify under this subsection. Any industry registration program approved by the federal aviation administration shall be approved by the department.
Any person violating sub. (2)
shall be required to forfeit not more than $500.
History: 1983 a. 151
Aircraft registration. 114.20(1)(a)(a)
Except as provided under sub. (2)
, all aircraft based in this state shall be registered by the owner of the aircraft with the department annually on or before November 1 or, for aircraft with a maximum gross weight of not more than 3,000 pounds that are not subject to sub. (10)
, biennially on or before the first November 1. Annual registration fees shall be determined in accordance with sub. (9)
. Biennial registration fees shall be determined in accordance with sub. (9m)
Aircraft determined by the department to be based in this state shall be subject to the annual or biennial registration fees under sub. (9)
. Aircraft which are determined to be not based in this state shall be exempt from the annual or biennial registration fees.
An aircraft is presumed to be based in this state if it is kept in the state for a period of 30 consecutive days or for a cumulative period of 60 days in any calendar year. An aircraft is not based in this state if it is brought into the state solely for the purpose of repair, maintenance or restoration.
(2) Exceptions to registration requirements.
The registration requirements under sub. (1)
do not apply to aircraft based in this state that are: