Archive for August, 2013

Update on New Cell and Broadcast Tower Law

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Does your city, village or town have a cell tower ordinance? Probably not anymore.

As part of 2013 Act 20, the “Budget Bill”, a new state law that preempts local regulation of cell phone towers went into effect in July 1. 2013.  Although the new law allows local regulation under a number of circumstances, it also limits local regulation in some critical areas such as height limits, setbacks, and location of towers.  Note: If your ordinance is in violation of almost any aspect of the new law, your ordinance is void and unenforceable, per § 66.0404(2)(i).  You can read the new statutory section in the Budget Bill by searching for “66.0404” within the 603 page document.

The bottom line is that if your municipality wants to have any regulatory authority with respect to cell towers, they should review and very likely amend their current ordinance.

Residency Requirements Limited By Budget Bill

Monday, August 5th, 2013

It is a common complaint that state budgets contain quite a few changes to laws that an ordinary citizen might not think are exactly “budget” related, and Wisconsin’s new budget is no exception.  Wisconsin Statute Chapter 66 concerning general municipal government has been amended to severely limit the ability of municipalities to impose residency requirements.  The new rule is that residency requirements are prohibited unless there is a statutory exception.  The new law also prohibits a municipality with an existing residency requirement from enforcing that requirement.  The primary exception is that municipalities may require law enforcement, fire, or emergency personnel to live within 15 miles of the municipal border.  (State requirements regarding elected officials are not affected by this new law).  The new law can be found at § 66.0502 of the Wisconsin Statutes.  The entire budget bill is available here.