Shoreland Zoning Law Revised

As anyone who follows the news knows, Governor Walker recently signed the new budget.  And as anyone who follows politics knows, a number of items make it into the budget bill that, to the lay observer, seem to have nothing to do with the state budget.

The new budget, Section 1922 on pages 336 and 337, changed the law on shoreland zoning to limit a county’s regulatory power within shoreland zoning areas.  Some of the changes are:

  • Counties may not regulate a matter more restrictively than the DNR standards found in NR 115. Prior to this, counties could be more restrictive in a number of areas.
  • Counties may not require a person to establish a vegetative buffer zone in an area that was previously developed.
  • Allows a landowner to have a 35 foot wide viewing area in those areas where a vegetative buffer is required.
  • Expanded a landowner’s ability to repair and rebuild a nonconforming structure within the existing footprint of an existing nonconforming structure.

The new law also affects village and city shoreland zoning, but only in areas that were annexed after 1982 – (see Wis. Stats.  61.353 and 62.233).

The full budget act can be viewed from the state legislature website.

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