2005 - 2006 LEGISLATURE
January 27, 2005 - Introduced by Representatives Mursau, Friske, Ainsworth,
Albers, Gard, Gronemus, Gunderson, Hahn, McCormick, Montgomery,
Musser, Ott, Owens and
Vos, cosponsored by Senator Zien. Referred to
Committee on Forestry.
1An Act to renumber and amend
60.61 (2) (a); to amend
59.69 (4) (a) and 62.23 2
(7) (b); and to create
823.075 of the statutes; relating to: actions against
3forestry operations and granting rule-making authority.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
Under current law, if a business, property, or action of a person creates a public
nuisance, the party damaged by that nuisance can bring an action for the damages
caused by the nuisance or to abate the nuisance. A county or municipality may bring
an action to abate a public nuisance, such as a place where a controlled substance
is illegally distributed, sold, or manufactured. A "nuisance" is generally defined as
an action that annoys or disturbs a person in possession of his or her property and
makes the use or occupation of that property physically uncomfortable. Currently,
nuisances include places where illegal gambling occurs, dilapidated buildings, drug
houses, and criminal gang houses.
This bill provides that a forestry operation may not be declared a nuisance if the
forestry operation conforms to generally accepted forestry management practices.
Under the bill, forestry operations include removal of vegetation or dead trees, noise
from forestry equipment, and use of chemicals that are normally used in forestry
operations. In addition, the bill provides that a forestry operation that conforms to
generally accepted forestry management practices is not a nuisance as a result of any
of the following:
1. Change in ownership or size of a forest.
2. Interruption of forestry operations.
3. Enrollment of part or all of the forest in governmental forestry programs.
4. Adoption of new forestry technology.
The bill also allows a person who is alleged to commit the nuisance to receive
his or her costs, including attorney fees, if he or she prevails in the action alleging
Under current law, cities, villages, towns that are authorized to exercise village
powers, certain other towns, or counties (political subdivisions) are authorized to
enact zoning ordinances that regulate and restrict the height, number of stories, and
size of buildings and other structures, the percentage of lot that may be occupied, the
size of yards and other open spaces, the density of population, the location and use
of buildings, structures, and land for various purposes, and the areas within which
activities such as agriculture, forestry, and mining may be conducted.
Under this bill, no political subdivision may enact a zoning ordinance that
prohibits forestry operations that are in accordance with generally accepted forestry
The people of the state of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do
enact as follows:
AB59, s. 1
59.69 (4) (a) of the statutes is amended to read:
(a) The areas within which agriculture, forestry, industry, mining, 3
trades, business and recreation may be conducted, except that no ordinance enacted
4under this subsection may prohibit forestry operations that are in accordance with
5generally accepted forestry management practices, as defined under s. 823.075 (1)
AB59, s. 2
60.61 (2) (a) of the statutes is renumbered 60.61 (2) (a) (intro.) and 8
amended to read:
(a) (intro.) Regulate, restrict and determine
: the all of the following:
areas within which agriculture, forestry, mining and recreation may be 11
conducted; the, except that no ordinance enacted under this subsection may prohibit
12forestry operations that are in accordance with generally accepted forestry
13management practices, as defined under s. 823.075 (1) (d).
location of roads, schools, trades and industries; the.
location, height, bulk, number of stories and size of buildings and other 2
percentage of a lot which may be occupied
size of yards, courts and other open spaces
density and distribution of population; the.
location of buildings designed for specified uses; the.
trades, industries or purposes that may be engaged in or subject to 8
regulation; and the.
uses for which buildings may not be erected or altered.
AB59, s. 3
62.23 (7) (b) of the statutes is amended to read:
For any and all of said purposes the council may divide 12
the city into districts of such number, shape, and area as may be deemed best suited 13
to carry out the purposes of this section; and within such districts it may regulate and 14
restrict the erection, construction, reconstruction, alteration or use of buildings, 15
structures or land. All such regulations shall be uniform for each class or kind of 16
buildings and for the use of land throughout each district, but the regulations in one 17
district may differ from those in other districts. No ordinance enacted or regulation
18adopted under this subsection may prohibit forestry operations that are in
19accordance with generally accepted forestry management practices, as defined
20under s. 823.075 (1) (d).
The council may with the consent of the owners establish 21
special districts, to be called planned development districts, with regulations in each, 22
which in addition to those provided in par. (c), will over a period of time tend to 23
promote the maximum benefit from coordinated area site planning, diversified 24
location of structures and mixed compatible uses. Such regulations shall provide for 25
a safe and efficient system for pedestrian and vehicular traffic, attractive recreation
and landscaped open spaces, economic design and location of public and private 2
utilities and community facilities and insure adequate standards of construction and 3
planning. Such regulations may also provide for the development of the land in such 4
districts with one or more principal structures and related accessory uses, and in 5
such districts the regulations need not be uniform.
AB59, s. 4
823.075 of the statutes is created to read:
7823.075 Actions against forestry operations. (1)
In this section:
(a) "Department" means the department of natural resources.
(b) "Forest" means a parcel of land in which at least 80 percent of the parcel is 10
producing or is capable of producing at least 20 cubic feet of merchantable timber, 11
as defined in s. 77.81 (3), per acre per year.
(c) "Forestry operation" means any activity related to the harvesting, 13
reforestation, and other forest management activities, including thinning, pest 14
control, fertilization, and wildlife management.
(d) "Generally accepted forestry management practices" means forestry 16
management practices that promote sound management of a forest, as determined 17
by the department by rule.
A forestry operation is not a nuisance if the forestry operation alleged to be 19
a nuisance conforms to generally accepted forestry management practices.
A forestry operation that conforms to generally accepted forestry 21
management practices is not a nuisance as a result of any of the following:
(a) A change in ownership or size of a forest.
(b) Cessation or interruption of forestry operations.
(c) Enrollment of all or part of the forest in governmental forestry or 25
(d) Adoption of new forestry technology.
In any action in which a forestry operation is alleged to be a nuisance, if the 3
party who was alleged to commit the nuisance prevails, the court may award that 4
party the actual and necessary costs incurred in the action and, notwithstanding s. 5
814.04 (1), reasonable attorney fees.