2015 - 2016 LEGISLATURE
October 9, 2015 - Introduced by Senators Bewley,
Miller, Vinehout, Lassa, Risser,
Ringhand, Erpenbach, Wirch and C. Larson, cosponsored by Representatives
Hebl, Meyers, Milroy, C. Taylor, Shankland, Subeck, Hesselbein, Riemer,
Sinicki, Mason, Sargent, Spreitzer, Pope, Considine, Goyke, Ohnstad,
Zamarripa, Berceau, Stuck, Kolste and Kahl. Referred to Committee on
Natural Resources and Energy.
1An Act to repeal
59.692 (1) (e), 59.692 (1d), 59.692 (1f), 59.692 (1k) and 59.692 2
(5m); to renumber
59.692 (1c); to amend
59.692 (1) (bn), 59.692 (4) (b), 61.353 3
(3) (intro.) and 62.233 (3) (intro.); to repeal and recreate
59.692 (2m) and 4
281.31 (2m); and to create
59.692 (1t), 61.353 (3) (cm), 61.353 (3) (dm), 62.233 5
(3) (cm) and 62.233 (3) (dm) of the statutes; relating to: standards and
6ordinances regulating shoreland zoning.
Analysis by the Legislative Reference Bureau
This bill eliminates the changes to the laws regulating shoreland zoning that
were made under the 2015-17 biennial budget act, 2015 Wisconsin Act 55
Current law requires a county to enact shoreland zoning ordinances for all
shorelands in its unincorporated area and requires those ordinances to meet
shoreland zoning standards established by the Department of Natural Resources
(DNR) by rule. Current law generally defines a shoreland to be an area within a
specified distance from the edge of a navigable water.
Act 55 made various changes to the laws regulating shoreland zoning including
1. Prohibiting a county shoreland zoning ordinance from regulating a matter
more restrictively than the matter is regulated by a shoreland zoning standard
promulgated by DNR.
2. Prohibiting a shoreland zoning ordinance from requiring a person to
establish a vegetative buffer zone on previously developed land or expand an existing
3. Requiring a shoreland zoning ordinance to allow a vegetative buffer zone to
contain a viewing corridor of at least 35 feet wide for every 100 feet of shoreline
frontage and to allow the corridor to run contiguously for the entire maximum
4. Prohibiting DNR from establishing shoreland zoning standards and
prohibiting counties from enacting shoreland zoning ordinances that regulate
certain outdoor lighting, that regulate certain construction activities with respect to
nonconforming structures, and that impose certain standards for impervious
5. Allowing certain maintenance and repair of nonconforming structures in
shorelands that are accessory structures such as garages, sheds, sidewalks, and
6. Generally requiring city and village shoreland zoning ordinances that apply
to certain shorelands that were annexed or incorporated by the city or village to be
consistent with the requirements and limitations applicable to county shoreland
7. Prohibits DNR from appealing a decision of a county to grant or deny a
variance to a law regulating county shoreland zoning.
This bill eliminates the changes to the law made by Act 55 so that the law is
consistent with pre-Act 55 law.
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:
(bn) "Shoreland setback area" means an area in a shoreland that is 4
within a certain distance of the ordinary high-water mark in which the construction 5
or placement of buildings or
structures has been limited or prohibited under an 6
ordinance enacted under this section.
59.692 (1t) of the statutes is created to read:
(a) Restrictions that are applicable to damaged or destroyed 11
nonconforming structures and that are contained in an ordinance enacted under this 12
section may not prohibit the restoration of a nonconforming structure if the structure 13
will be restored to the size, subject to par. (b), location and use that it had 14
immediately before the damage or destruction occurred or impose any limits on the 15
costs of the repair, reconstruction or improvement if all of the following apply:
1. The nonconforming structure was damaged or destroyed after October 14, 17
2. The damage or destruction was caused by violent wind, vandalism, fire, 19
flood, ice, snow, mold, or infestation.
(b) An ordinance enacted under this section to which par. (a) applies shall allow 21
for the size of a structure to be larger than the size it was immediately before the 22
damage or destruction if necessary for the structure to comply with applicable state 23
or federal requirements.
(a) In this subsection:
1. "Development regulations" means the part of a shoreland zoning ordinance 3
enacted under this section that applies to elements including setback, height, lot 4
coverage, and side yard.
2. "Nonconforming structure" means a dwelling or other building that existed 6
lawfully before the current zoning ordinance was enacted or amended, but that does 7
not conform with one or more of the development regulations in the current 8
shoreland zoning ordinance.
(b) A county may not enact, and a county, city, or village may not enforce, a 10
provision in a county shoreland zoning ordinance that does any of the following:
1. Regulates the location, maintenance, expansion, replacement, repair, or 12
relocation of a nonconforming structure if that provision is more restrictive than the 13
shoreland zoning standards for nonconforming structures promulgated by the 14
department under this section.
2. Regulates the construction of a structure or building on a substandard lot 16
if that provision is more restrictive than the shoreland zoning standards for 17
substandard lots promulgated by the department under this section.
(b) Variances and appeals regarding shorelands within a county are 21
for the board of adjustment for that county under s. 59.694, and the procedures of 22
that section apply. Notwithstanding s. 59.694 (4), the department may not appeal
23a decision of the county to grant or deny a variance under this section but may, upon
24the request of a county board of adjustment, issue an opinion on whether a variance
25should be granted or denied.
(intro.) A village ordinance enacted under this section shall accord
6and be consistent with the requirements and limitations under s. 59.692 (1d), (1f),
7and (1k) and shall
include at least all of the following provisions:
61.353 (3) (cm) of the statutes is created to read:
(cm) 1. A provision requiring a person who owns shoreland property 10
that contains vegetation to maintain that vegetation in a vegetative buffer zone 11
along the entire shoreline of the property and extending 35 feet inland from the 12
ordinary high-water mark of the navigable water, except as provided in subd. 2.
2. If the vegetation in a vegetative buffer zone contains invasive species or dead 14
or diseased vegetation, the owner of the shoreland property may remove the 15
vegetation, except that if the owner removes all of the vegetation in the vegetative 16
buffer zone, the owner shall establish a vegetative buffer zone with new vegetation.
61.353 (3) (dm) of the statutes is created to read:
(dm) A provision allowing a person who is required to maintain or 19
establish a vegetative buffer zone under par. (cm) to remove all of the vegetation in 20
a part of that zone in order to establish a viewing or access corridor that is no greater 21
than 30 feet wide for every 100 feet of shoreline frontage and that extends no more 22
than 35 feet inland from the ordinary high-water mark.