Archive for November, 2012

County’s Interpretation of Its Own Ordinance is Presumptively Correct

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

In another case of “you can’t fight city hall,” the Feursteins wanted to move a shed closer to a lake shore, but the zoning ordinance setback did not permit it because it would be too close to the rear lot line.  Feuerstein v. Sawyer County Board of Appeals.

Although this case had some confusing facts and a very odd shaped lot, in essence it came down to whether the County’s interpretation of what was a “rear lot line” or the Feuerstein’s interpretation would win out.  In cases of interpretation of ordinances, the general rule is that a municipality’s reasonable interpretation of its own ordinance is presumptively correct.  Of course, presumptions can be overcome, but they have to be overcome with sufficient reasons.  Simply pointing out that there might be another way to interpret an ordinance will probably not win you a court case if the municipality’s interpretation is reasonable.  In this case, looking at the map of the property, the County’s interpretation certainly is plausible on its face, and the Court upheld the County’s decision.  Click on the link above to read the case and see a map of the somewhat goofy lot lines