Rezoning Protest Petitions Under State Law Become a Thing of the Past as of January 1, 2019

As of January 1, 2019, rezoning protest petitions for cities will become a thing of the past, at least as required by the Wisconsin Statutes. 2017 Wisconsin Act 67 eliminated the statutory rezoning protest petition provisions. Read More… “Rezoning Protest Petitions Under State Law Become a Thing of the Past as of January 1, 2019″

Changes to Wisconsin’s Conditional Use Permits May Warrant Revisions To Zoning Ordinances

Without much fanfare or public attention, the Wisconsin legislature recently enacted 2017 Wisconsin Act 67.  One component of this legislation was to create and amend statutes pertaining to conditional use permits (CUPs) at the county, town and city levels.  Given the changes to Wisconsin law in this regard, which became effective November 28, 2017, it may necessitate local governments updating, or wholesale revising, their zoning ordinances.  Such revisions may be appropriate to: (1) ensure the ordinances comply with Wisconsin law; (2) try and retain, to the extent still possible, some discretion over the granting of CUPs; and (3) ensure that the conditional uses listed in the ordinance are still acceptable in light of the possibility of some loss of control and discretion as to where and when these may occur. Read More… “Changes to Wisconsin’s Conditional Use Permits May Warrant Revisions To Zoning Ordinances”

Wisconsin Supreme Court Prepares to Weigh Private Rights, Riparian Rights, and the Public Trust Doctrine

On September 20th, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Movrich v. Lobermeier, 372 Wis. 2d 724, 889, N.W.2d 454, 2016 WI App 90 (2016). This case puts at odds two revered values: the public trust doctrine and the right of alienation by private property owners. The Wisconsin Court of Appeals found that the public trust doctrine prevailed over the private property owner’s rights. Read More… “Wisconsin Supreme Court Prepares to Weigh Private Rights, Riparian Rights, and the Public Trust Doctrine”

Mortgage Servicers Beware of Possible Sanctions in Chapter 13 Bankruptcies

Residential mortgage servicers should take notice.  A recent case from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Vermont handed down what may be the first instance of punitive sanctions under Federal Bankruptcy Rule of Procedure 3002.1.  The Court levied a $375,000 sanction to a mortgage servicer for its failure to comply with Rule 3002.1’s notice requirements despite the court’s repeated instructions to do so.  This rule could spur similar cases for violations of Rule 3002.1, especially for repeat offenders. Read More… “Mortgage Servicers Beware of Possible Sanctions in Chapter 13 Bankruptcies”

Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Decision Of Local Body Denying Permit For Sand Mine

In a recent article on wisbar.org, the author analyzed the recent Wisconsin Supreme Court decision in which Mallery & Zimmerman attorneys Ron Stadler, Aaron Graf and Jon Sacks achieved an important victory for the client.  In AllEnergy, et. al. v. Trempealeau County Environment & Land Use Committee, the Wisconsin Supreme Court renewed its commitment to existing law on certiorari review, deference to local administrative bodies making such decisions and the substantial evidence test used in reviewing such administrative decisions.  Further, the Court rejected attempts to change Wisconsin law such as making an applicant entitled to a conditional use permit.  As the author notes, the decision was certainly a splintered one with Justice Abrahamson authoring the lead opinion and being joined by Justice Ann Walsh Bradley.  Justice Ziegler drafted a concurring opinion, which was joined by Chief Justice Roggensack, which agreed with the result but stated that she would have upheld the ELUC on narrower grounds without addressing the unnecessary constitutional issues.  Finally, Justice Kelly drafted the dissent and was joined by Justices Gableman and Rebecca Bradley.  In the dissent, Justice Kelly would have reversed the ELUC and remanded for additional hearing before the ELUC under new standards which Justice Kelly desired to adopt regarding certiorari review of conditional use permits.

The decision is not only interesting from the aspect of an important decision in the certiorari review and land use area, but it is also interesting to learn how the Justices, and especially the newer Justices, view such issues.  This could certainly foreshadow future decisions on similar issues before the Supreme Court.

The full article can be found here.

If you have any questions regarding this post, please contact its author, Aaron Graf, at agraf@mzmilw.com.

Residential Property Owner Entitled to Refund for Unlawful Business Improvement District Assessments

A recent Wisconsin Court of Appeals decision, DJK 59 LLC v. City of Milwaukee, No. 2015AP2046 (Nov. 22, 2016), entitles the owners of Juneau Village Towers, an exclusively residential apartment complex located in downtown Milwaukee, to a refund from the City of Milwaukee for previously paid Business Improvement District (“BID”) assessments. Juneau Village Towers falls within BID No. 21 and the owners paid over $470,000.00 in BID assessments between the years 2005 and 2012. The decision confirms that BID assessments cannot be assessed against property that is used exclusively for residential purposes. Read More… “Residential Property Owner Entitled to Refund for Unlawful Business Improvement District Assessments”

As the World Changes, It May Affect Your Easements

We all think of an easement as being “written in stone,” forever setting forth a right to use or access another’s property.  To some extent that is a correct view of easements.  A recent case before the Wisconsin Court of Appeals (In re: Garza, Nov. 19, 2015), however, shows that while the language of an easement does not change, the world does, and those changes may affect what is allowed under the easement.   Read More… “As the World Changes, It May Affect Your Easements”

Elimination of Municipal Code Compliance Requirements as a Condition of Transfer

As part of the 2015 budget bill, 2015 Wis. Act 55, the Wisconsin legislature created a new law, Section 706.22, that eliminates any code compliance requirements of municipalities as a condition to the transfer or refinancing of real property.  A municipality cannot require that an owner obtain an inspection, make certain improvements or repairs or take any other actions relating to the property complying with building codes or other property condition standards in connection with the sale, refinance or other transfer of title to the property.  Municipalities may still require any of the foregoing if they are not in connection with the sale, refinance or other transfer of title to the property.

While we believe this statute clearly applies to code compliance requirements in a number of municipalities, the notice requirements of other municipalities do not appear to be affected.  A municipal ordinance should continue to be valid under the new law so long as the ordinance only requires notice of a transfer of certain properties and does not relate to code compliance, require an inspection of the property or restrict an owner’s ability to sell or otherwise transfer title or refinance real estate.

We do foresee some future litigation over this statute to determine how far the new law reaches.  We will provide an update if any future litigation clarifies this statute.

If you have questions about this post, please contact its author, Michael Marx, at mmarx@mzmilw.com.