A determination under par. (i)
shall be made after a hearing before the common council or village or town board. The municipality shall provide at least 30 days' notice to the licensed adult family home or the community living arrangement that such a hearing will be held. At the hearing, the licensed adult family home or the community living arrangement may be represented by counsel and may present evidence and call and examine witnesses and cross-examine other witnesses called. The common council or village or town board may call witnesses and may issue subpoenas. All witnesses shall be sworn by the common council, town board or village board. The common council or village or town board shall take notes of the testimony and shall mark and preserve all exhibits. The common council or village or town board may, and upon request of the licensed adult family home or the community living arrangement shall, cause the proceedings to be taken by a stenographer or by a recording device, the expense thereof to be paid by the municipality. Within 20 days after the hearing, the common council or village or town board shall mail or deliver to the licensed adult family home or the community living arrangement its written determination stating the reasons therefor. The determination shall be a final determination.
History: 1971 c. 40
; 1971 c. 86
; 1973 c. 274
; 1977 c. 205
; 1979 c. 233
; 1979 c. 323
; 1981 c. 341
; 1983 a. 192
s. 303 (1)
; 1983 a. 410
; 1983 a. 532
; 1985 a. 29
; 1987 a. 161
; 1989 a. 80
; 1991 a. 255
; 1993 a. 16
; 1995 a. 27
ss. 9130 (4)
, 9126 (19)
; 1995 a. 201
; Stats. 1995 s. 59.69; 1995 a. 225
; 1995 a. 227
; 1997 a. 3
; 1999 a. 9
; 2001 a. 16
; 2003 a. 214
; 2005 a. 26
; 2007 a. 11
; 2007 a. 20
, 9121 (6) (a)
; 2009 a. 28
; 2011 a. 32
; 2013 a. 20
; 2013 a. 165
; 2015 a. 55
; 2017 a. 67
NOTE: 2003 Wis. Act 214
, which affected this section, contains extensive explanatory notes.
A zoning ordinance may distinguish between foster homes and therapeutic homes for the care of children. Browndale International v. Board of Adjustment, 60 Wis. 2d 182
, 208 N.W.2d 121
A plaintiff is not required to exhaust administrative remedies when his or her claim is that a zoning ordinance is unconstitutional, but may ask for a declaratory judgment. An ordinance classifying land as agricultural when it is unfit for agriculture is unreasonable and amounts to a taking of the land without compensation. Kmiec v. Town of Spider Lake, 60 Wis. 2d 640
, 211 N.W.2d 471
A property owner does not acquire a “vested interest" in the continuance of a nonconforming use, and such status will be denied if the specific use was casual and occasional, or if the use was merely accessory or incidental to the principal use. Walworth County v. Hartwell, 62 Wis. 2d 57
, 214 N.W.2d 288
Under s. 59.97 [now s. 59.69] (5) (c), a county zoning ordinance becomes effective in a town upon approval of the text by the town board and the filing of the approving resolution with the town clerk and not when it merely adopts a zoning map. Racine County v. Alby, 65 Wis. 2d 574
, 223 N.W.2d 438
Zoning ordinances, being in derogation of common law, are to be construed in favor of the free use of private property. Cohen v. Dane County Board of Adjustment, 74 Wis. 2d 87
, 246 N.W.2d 112
A municipality is not required to show irreparable injury before obtaining an injunction under s. 59.97 [now s. 59.69] (11). County of Columbia v. Bylewski, 94 Wis. 2d 153
, 288 N.W.2d 129
Under s. 59.97 [now s. 59.69] (9) a county may rezone county-owned land contrary to town zoning laws and without town approval. Town of Ringle v. County of Marathon, 104 Wis. 2d 297
, 311 N.W.2d 595
The primary authority to enact, repeal, and amend a zoning ordinance is at the county, not town, level. The county is responsible for any liabilities that may arise from adoption. No liability arises to a town from the town's approval of a county ordinance enacted following the repeal of a prior effective ordinance. M & I Marshall Bank v. Town of Somers, 141 Wis. 2d 271
, 414 N.W.2d 824
When it is claimed that zoning resulted in a taking of land without compensation, there is no compensable taking unless the regulation resulted in a diminution of value so great that it amounts to a confiscation. M & I Marshall Bank v. Town of Somers, 141 Wis. 2d 271
, 414 N.W.2d 824
For purposes of determining a nonconforming use for a quarry site, all land that contains the mineral and is integral to the operation is included, although a particular portion may not be under actual excavation. Smart v. Dane County Board of Adjustment, 177 Wis. 2d 445
, 501 N.W.2d 782
The power to regulate nonconforming uses includes the power to limit the extension or expansion of the use if it results in a change in the character of the use. Waukesha County v. Pewaukee Marina, Inc. 187 Wis. 2d 18
, 522 N.W.2d 536
(Ct. App. 1994).
When a zoning ordinance is changed, a builder may have a vested right, enforceable by mandamus, to build under the previously existing ordinance if the builder has submitted, prior to the change, an application for a permit in strict and complete conformance with the ordinance then in effect. Lake Bluff Housing Partners v. South Milwaukee, 197 Wis. 2d 157
, 540 N.W.2d 189
Unless the zoning ordinance provides otherwise, a court should measure the sufficiency of a conditional use application at the time that notice of the final public hearing is first given. Weber v. Town of Saukville, 209 Wis. 2d 214
, 562 N.W.2d 412
A permit issued for a use prohibited by a zoning ordinance is illegal per se. A conditional use permit only allows a property owner to put the property to a use that is expressly permitted as long as conditions have been met. A use begun under an illegal permit cannot be a prior nonconforming use. Foresight, Inc. v. Babl, 211 Wis. 2d 599
, 565 N.W.2d 279
(Ct. App. 1997), 96-1964
A nonconforming use, regardless of its duration, may be prohibited or restricted if it also constitutes a public nuisance or is harmful to public health, safety, or welfare. Town of Delafield v. Sharpley, 212 Wis. 2d 332
, 568 N.W.2d 779
(Ct. App. 1997), 96-2458
A county executive's power to veto ordinances and resolutions extends to rezoning petitions that are in essence proposed amendments to the county zoning ordinance. The veto is subject to limited judicial review. Schmeling v. Phelps, 212 Wis. 2d 898
, 569 N.W.2d 784
(Ct. App. 1997), 96-2661
Sub. (11) does not eliminate the traditional equitable power of a circuit court. It is within the power of the court to deny a county's request for injunctive relief when a zoning ordinance violation is proven. The court should take evidence and weigh equitable considerations including that of the state's citizens. Forest County v. Goode, 219 Wis. 2d 654
, 579 N.W.2d 715
Construction in violation of zoning regulations, even when authorized by a voluntarily issued permit, is unlawful. However, in rare cases, there may be compelling equitable reasons when a requested order of abatement should not be issued. Lake Bluff Housing Partners v. City of South Milwaukee, 222 Wis. 2d 222
, 588 N.W.2d 45
(Ct. App. 1998), 97-1339
A conditional use permit did not impose a condition that the conditional use not be conducted outside the permitted area. It was improper to revoke the permit based on that use. An enforcement action in relation to the parcel where the use was not permitted was an appropriate remedy. Bettendorf v. St. Croix County Board of Adjustment, 224 Wis. 2d 735
, 591 N.W.2d 916
(Ct. App.1999), 98-2327
Once a municipality has shown an illegal change in use to a nonconforming use, the municipality is entitled to terminate the entire nonconforming use. The decision is not within the discretion of the court reviewing the order. Village of Menomonee Falls v. Preuss, 225 Wis. 2d 746
, 593 N.W.2d 496
(Ct. App. 1999), 98-0384
To violate substantive due process guarantees, a zoning decision must involve more than simple errors in law or an improper exercise of discretion; it must shock the conscience. The city's violation of a purported agreement regarding zoning was not a violation. A court cannot compel a political body to adhere to an agreement regrading zoning if that body has legitimate reasons for breaching. Eternalist Foundation, Inc. v. City of Platteville, 225 Wis. 2d 759
, 593 N.W.2d 84
(Ct. App. 1999), 98-1944
While the DNR has the authority to regulate the operation of game farms, its authority does not negate the power to enforce zoning ordinances against game farms. Both are applicable. Willow Creek Ranch v. Town of Shelby, 2000 WI 56
, 235 Wis. 2d 409
, 611 N.W.2d 693
Financial investment is a factor to consider when determining whether a zoning violation must be abated, but it does not outweigh all other equitable factors to be considered. Lake Bluff Housing Partners v. City of South Milwaukee, 2001 WI App 150
, 246 Wis. 2d 785
, 632 N.W.2d 485
A change in method or quantity of production of a nonconforming use is not a new use when the original character of the use remains the same. The incorporation of modern technology into the business of the operator of a nonconforming use is allowed. Racine County v. Cape, 2002 WI App 19
, 250 Wis. 2d 44
, 639 N.W.2d 782
While a mere increase in the volume, intensity, or frequency of a nonconforming use is not sufficient to invalidate it, if the increase in volume, intensity, or frequency of use is coupled with some identifiable change or extension, the enlargement will invalidate a legal nonconforming use. A proposed elimination of cabins and the expansion from 21 to 44 RV sites was an identifiable change in a campground and extension of the use for which it had been licensed. Lessard v. Burnett County Board of Adjustment, 2002 WI App 186
, 256 Wis. 2d 821
, 649 N.W.2d 728
A conditional use permit (CUP) is not a contract. A CUP is issued under an ordinance. A municipality has discretion to issue a permit and the right to seek enforcement of it. Noncompliance with the terms of a CUP is tantamount to noncompliance with the ordinance. Town of Cedarburg v. Shewczyk, 2003 WI App 10
, 259 Wis. 2d 818
, 656 N.W.2d 491
Spot zoning grants privileges to a single lot or area that are not granted or extended to other land in the same use district. Spot zoning is not per se illegal but, absent any showing that a refusal to rezone will in effect confiscate the property by depriving all beneficial use thereof should only be indulged in when it is in the public interest and not solely for the benefit of the property owner who requests the rezoning. Step Now Citizens Group v. Town of Utica, 2003 WI App 109
, 264 Wis. 2d 662
, 663 N.W.2d 833
The failure to comply with an ordinance's notice requirements, when all statutory notice requirements were met, did not defeat the purpose of the ordinance's notice provision. Step Now Citizens Group v. Town of Utica, 2003 WI App 109
, 264 Wis. 2d 662
, 663 N.W.2d 833
a landowner may contest whether he or she is in violation of the zoning ordinance and, if so, can further contest on equitable grounds the enforcement of a sanction for the violation. Town of Delafield v. Winkelman, 2004 WI 17
, 269 Wis. 2d 109
, 675 N.W.2d 470
A municipality cannot be estopped from seeking to enforce a zoning ordinance, but a circuit court has authority to exercise its discretion in deciding whether to grant enforcement. Upon the determination of an ordinance violation, the proper procedure for a circuit court is to grant an injunction enforcing the ordinance, except when it is presented with compelling equitable reasons to deny it. Village of Hobart v. Brown County, 2005 WI 78
, 281 Wis. 2d 628
, 698 N.W.2d 83
An existing conditional use permit (CUP) is not a vested property right and the revocation of the permit is not an unconstitutional taking. A CUP merely represents a species of zoning designations. Because landowners have no property interest in zoning designations applicable to their properties, a CUP is not property and no taking occurs by virtue of a revocation. Rainbow Springs Golf Company, Inc. v. Town of Mukwonago, 2005 WI App 163
, 284 Wis. 2d 519
, 702 N.W.2d 40
Zoning that restricts land so that the landowner has no permitted use as of right must bear a substantial relation to the health, safety, morals, or general welfare of the public in order to withstand constitutional scrutiny. Town of Rhine v. Bizzell, 2008 WI 76
, 311 Wis. 2d 1
, 751 N.W.2d 780
Having a vested interest in the continuance of a use is fundamental to protection of a nonconforming use. There can be no vested interest if the use is not actually and actively occurring at the time the ordinance amendment takes effect. However, it does not follow that any use that is actually occurring on the effective date of the amendment is sufficient to give the owner a vested interest in its continued use. To have a vested interest in the continuation of a use requires that if the continuance of the use were to be prohibited, substantial rights would be adversely affected, which will ordinarily mean that there has been a substantial investment in the use. The longevity of a use and the degree of development of a use are subsumed in an analysis of what investments an owner has made, rather than separate factors to be considered. Town of Cross Plains v. Kitt's “Field of Dreams" Korner, Inc. 2009 WI App 142
, 321 Wis. 2d 671
, 775 N.W.2d 283
There must be reasonable reliance on the existing law in order to acquire a vested interest in a nonconforming use. Reasonable reliance on the existing law was not present when the owners knew the existing law was soon to change at the time the use was begun. Town of Cross Plains v. Kitt's “Field of Dreams" Korner, Inc. 2009 WI App 142
, 321 Wis. 2d 671
, 775 N.W.2d 283
The town board's recommendation on a form that was signed by the town board and clerk and dated but not certified as a resolution by the town clerk did not effectively satisfy the statutory elements of a certified copy of a resolution under sub. (5) (e) 3. Although the legislature intended the town board to serve as a political check on the otherwise unfettered discretion of the county board in wielding its legislative zoning power, it prescribed a specific procedure by which towns perform that function. Johnson v. Washburn County, 2010 WI App 50
, 324 Wis. 2d 366
, 781 N.W.2d 706
When a village eliminated the selling of cars as a conditional use in general business districts a previously granted conditional use permit (CUP) was voided, the property owner was left with a legal nonconforming use to sell cars, and the village could not enforce the strictures of the CUP against the property owner. Therefore, the owner could continue to sell cars in accordance with the historical use of the property, but if the use were to go beyond the historical use of the property, the village could seek to eliminate the property's status as a legal nonconforming use. Hussein v. Village of Germantown Board of Zoning Appeals, 2011 WI App 96
, 334 Wis. 2d 764
, 800 N.W.2d 551
A county has the authority under both subs. (1) and (4) and s. 59.70 (22) to enact ordinances regulating billboards and other similar structures. When a town approves a county zoning ordinance under sub. (5) (c) that includes a billboard ordinance, the town's billboard ordinance adopted under s. 60.23 (29) does not preempt a county's authority to regulate billboards in that town. Adams Outdoor Advertising, L.P. v. County of Dane, 2012 WI App 28
, 340 Wis. 2d 175
, 811 N.W.2d 421
A municipality has the flexibility to regulate land use through zoning up until the point when a developer obtains a building permit. Once a building permit has been obtained, a developer may make expenditures in reliance on a zoning classification. Wisconsin follows the bright-line building permit rule that a property owner's rights do not vest until the developer has submitted an application for a building permit that conforms to the zoning or building code requirements in effect at the time of application. McKee Family I, LLC v. City of Fitchburg, 2017 WI 34
, 366 Wis. 2d 329
, 873 N.W.2d 99
The building permit rule is a bright-line rule vesting the right to use property consistent with current zoning at the time a building permit application that strictly conforms to all applicable zoning regulations is filed. The rule extends to all land specifically identified in a building permit application as part of the project. Golden Sands Dairy LLC v. Town of Saratoga, 2018 WI 61
, 381 Wis. 2d 704
, 913 N.W.2d 118
The fact that a county is within a regional planning commission does not affect county zoning power. 61 Atty. Gen. 220.
The authority of a county to regulate mobile homes under this section and other zoning questions are discussed. 62 Atty. Gen. 292.
Zoning ordinances utilizing definitions of “family" to restrict the number of unrelated persons who may live in a single family dwelling are of questionable constitutionality. 63 Atty. Gen. 34.
Under s. 59.97 [now s. 59.69] (5) (c), town board approval of a comprehensive county zoning ordinance must extend to the ordinance in its entirety and may not extend only to parts of the ordinance. 63 Atty. Gen. 199.
A county that has enacted a countywide comprehensive zoning ordinance under this section may not authorize the withdrawal of town approval of the ordinance or exclude any town from the ordinance. 67 Atty. Gen. 197.
The office of county planning and zoning commission member is incompatible with the position of executive director of the county housing authority. 81 Atty. Gen. 90
An amendment to a county zoning ordinance adding a new zoning district does not necessarily constitute a comprehensive revision requiring town board approval of the entire ordinance under s. 59.97 [now s. 59.69] (5) (d). 81 Atty. Gen. 98
A county's power under sub. (4) is broad enough to encompass regulation of the storage of junked, unused, unlicensed, or abandoned motor vehicles on private property. Because sub. (10) protects “trade or industry," a county zoning ordinance could prohibit an existing non-commercial, nonconforming use or a use that is “casual and occasional." OAG 2-00
A county's minimum lot size zoning ordinance applies to parcels created by a court through division in a partition or probate action, even if such division would be exempted from a municipality's subdivision authority under s. 236.45 (2) (am) 1. OAG 1-14
A county is not prohibited from imposing elements of its general zoning ordinance in the shorelands in a town even if the town has not adopted the county's general zoning ordinance under sub. (5) (c), so long as those elements are consistent with s. 59.692. OAG 1-19
Architectural Appearances Ordinances and the 1st Amendment. Rice. 76 MLR 439 (1992).
Required notice on certain approvals. 59.691(2)(a)(a)
Except as provided in par. (b)
, a county that issues a building permit or other approval for construction activity, shall give the applicant a written notice as specified in subs. (3)
at the time the building permit is issued.
A county is not required to give the notice under par. (a)
at the time that it issues a building permit if the county issues the building permit on a standard building permit form prescribed by the department of safety and professional services.
A county is not required to give the notice under par. (a)
at the time that it issues a building permit or other approval if the building permit or other approval is for construction activity that does not involve any land disturbing activity including removing protective ground cover or vegetation, or excavating, filling, covering, or grading land.
Each notice shall contain the following language: “YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR COMPLYING WITH STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS CONCERNING CONSTRUCTION NEAR OR ON WETLANDS, LAKES, AND STREAMS. WETLANDS THAT ARE NOT ASSOCIATED WITH OPEN WATER CAN BE DIFFICULT TO IDENTIFY. FAILURE TO COMPLY MAY RESULT IN REMOVAL OR MODIFICATION OF CONSTRUCTION THAT VIOLATES THE LAW OR OTHER PENALTIES OR COSTS. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES WETLANDS IDENTIFICATION WEB PAGE OR CONTACT A DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES SERVICE CENTER."
The notice required in sub. (2) (a)
shall contain the electronic website address that gives the recipient of the notice direct contact with that website.
A county in issuing a notice under this section shall require that the applicant for the building permit sign a statement acknowledging that the person has received the notice.
Zoning of shorelands on navigable waters. 59.692(1)(a)
“Department" means the department of natural resources.
“Shorelands" means the area within the following distances from the ordinary high-water mark of navigable waters, as defined under s. 281.31 (2) (d)
One thousand feet from a lake, pond or flowage. If the navigable water is a glacial pothole lake, this distance shall be measured from the high-water mark of the lake.
Three hundred feet from a river or stream or to the landward side of the floodplain, whichever distance is greater.
“Shoreland setback area" means an area in a shoreland that is within a certain distance of the ordinary high-water mark in which the construction or placement of structures has been limited or prohibited under an ordinance enacted under this section.
“Shoreland zoning standard" means a standard for ordinances enacted under this section that is promulgated as a rule by the department.
“Structure" means a principal structure or any accessory structure including a garage, shed, boathouse, sidewalk, stairway, walkway, patio, deck, retaining wall, porch, or fire pit.
To effect the purposes of s. 281.31
and to promote the public health, safety and general welfare, each county shall zone by ordinance all shorelands in its unincorporated area. This ordinance may be enacted separately from ordinances enacted under s. 59.69
An ordinance enacted under this section may not regulate a matter more restrictively than the matter is regulated by a shoreland zoning standard.
does not prohibit a county from enacting a shoreland zoning ordinance that regulates a matter that is not regulated by a shoreland zoning standard.
A county shoreland zoning ordinance may not require a person to do any of the following:
Establish a vegetative buffer zone on previously developed land.
A county shoreland zoning ordinance may require a person to maintain a vegetative buffer zone that exists on July 14, 2015, if the ordinance also does all of the following:
Allows the buffer zone to contain a viewing corridor that is at least 35 feet wide for every 100 feet of shoreline frontage.
Allows a viewing corridor to run contiguously for the entire maximum width established under subd. 1.
If a professional land surveyor licensed under ch. 443
, in measuring a setback from an ordinary high-water mark of a navigable water as 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 s. 236.025
, the setback measured is the setback with respect to a structure constructed on that property if all of the following apply:
The map, plat, or survey is prepared by a professional land surveyor, licensed under ch. 443
, after April 28, 2016. The same professional land surveyor may prepare the map, plat, or survey and measure the setback.