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Albert Marmero
Albert Marmero,
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 197
Experience:  Partner at Long, Marmero, & Associates, LLP
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Can a county ignore WI act 170 and enforce the 50% rule on a

Customer Question

Can a county ignore WI act 170 and enforce the 50% rule on a nonconforming structure that is being repaired?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Albert Marmero replied 1 year ago.

With the passage of 2011 Wisconsin Act 170, the state legislature made several significant changes to Wisconsin’s zoning laws with respect to nonconforming structures. The provisions in the new law went into effect on April 17, 2012. Many of the changes affect shoreland zoning, and some affect zoning in general.

With respect to shoreland and general zoning, probably the most significant change is that local (county, city, village or town) zoning ordinances “may not prohibit, or limit based on cost, the repair, maintenance, renovation, or remodeling of a nonconforming structure.” It was fairly common for zoning ordinances to limit repair, maintenance, renovation, and remodeling based on a 50% rule which had been the statutory rule until the enactment of the new law. Any such provision is now unenforceable.

Note that this does not say that no limits may be placed on the repair, maintenance, renovation, or remodeling of nonconforming structures. Only that such limits may not be based on cost.

Finally, the new law did not affect floodplain zoning, so presumably limits on repair, maintenance, renovation, or remodeling in floodplains based on cost remain valid.

I hope this is helpful. If so, please provide a rating so I receive credit for responding to you. Also, feel free to ask follow up questions. Thanks

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