Chapter 17.08


17.08.010    Building permit.

17.08.020    Occupancy permits.

17.08.030    Repealed.

17.08.040    Legal nonconforming uses.

17.08.050    Prior permit.

17.08.060    Discretionary approvals and special exceptions.

17.08.065    Statutory notice to property owners.

17.08.070    Changes and amendments.

17.08.080    Enforcement.

17.08.090    Violation—Penalty.

17.08.010 Building permit.

A.    Required. No building or other structure shall be erected, structurally altered or moved from one location to another in the city unless a building permit shall first be secured from the building inspector certifying that such building complies with the provisions of this title and with the building code.

B.    Application. An application for a building permit shall be made in conformity with the requirements of the building code and shall include, for the purpose of proper enforcement of the regulations of this title, the following data:

1.    An accurate plat or survey of the lot, in triplicate, drawn to a reasonable scale and properly dimensioned showing the following:

a.    The boundaries of the lot,

b.    The location of any existing structures on the lot,

c.    The location of the proposed building or buildings on the lot,

d.    The location of the center line and the existing or established grade of the abutting street or streets,

e.    The proposed floor elevation of the building or buildings to be erected,

f.    The high water line of any stream or lake on which such lot abuts,

g.    The elevation on all corners of the lot at the center of each abutting street and at the first floor level of all buildings on abutting lots; if any abutting street grade exceeds three percent, the center line street grade elevations at both ends and in the middle of each lot abutting the lot in question and such street must also be shown;

2.    A plan of the proposed sewerage disposal system which, if not connected to an approved municipal sewerage system, shall be certified by the plumbing inspector to the effect that satisfactory sewerage disposal is possible for the proposed use on such lot and the results of any percolation tests required by any governmental law, ordinance or regulation applicable to sewerage systems, including those tests required by the regulations of the State Department of Health and Social Services;

3.    Satisfactory evidence that a safe and adequate supply of water is to be provided and the location of any well for that purpose on the property. (Prior code § 17.04)

17.08.020 Occupancy permits.

A.    Residential. No residential land shall be used or occupied and no dwelling or structure shall be erected or altered, in whole or in part, except for agricultural purposes, until an occupancy permit is obtained from the building inspector stating that the use, occupancy, dwelling or structure complies with the city ordinances, state laws and the provisions of this title. No change of use, alteration or extension of such land, dwelling or structure shall be made without a revised occupancy permit obtained from the building inspector certifying that such change of use, alteration or extension complies with such ordinances, laws, and code provisions. This subsection shall not prevent the continuance of a legal nonconforming use unless such use constitutes a public nuisance or a threat to the safety of life or property.

B.    Commercial and Industrial. No person shall engage in any business activity in any building, structure or upon any premises without obtaining from the building inspector an occupancy permit certifying that the use, occupancy, building and structure complies with the city ordinances, state laws and this title. The occupancy permit shall be posted in a conspicuous place on the building, structure or premises and shall not be removed without permission of the building inspector. Upon the cessation of business activities by the holder of a business occupancy permit or his vacating of the premises, he shall notify the building inspector. A business occupancy permit shall not be transferrable and shall be valid only for the business, person, building, premises or structure named therein. All persons operating existing businesses and doing business as of the date of the adoption of this section, April 10, 1975, shall obtain an occupancy permit within ninety (90) days. This subsection shall apply to home occupations and professional offices in a residential district.

C.    Applications.

1.    Occupancy permits for new buildings or structures shall be applied for with the application for a building permit. All other occupancy permits shall be applied for prior to the commencement of the use, change of use, alteration, extension, tenancy or occupancy of the building, structure or land. Occupancy permits shall be good for an indeterminate term, valid until terminated by action of the plan commission after a public hearing, for a violation of the terms thereof, notice of such hearing to be given to the holder at least ten days prior thereto. Nonresidential occupancy permits shall also be terminated by the cessation of business activities or vacating of premises by the holder thereof.

2.    The fee for residential occupancy permits shall be set forth in Section 15.04.780(20) of this code.

3.    Applications shall be on forms provided by the building inspector.

4.    Applications for home occupations and professional offices and for commercial and industrial uses shall be referred initially to the building inspector. He shall process all such applications except those he determines are of a unique or unusual nature, which he shall refer to the plan commission. Issuance of the permits shall be contingent upon a determination that the occupancy and use complies with city ordinances, state laws, this chapter and the location, and plan and method of operation approved by the plan commission.

D.    Floodplain. No buildings in the floodplain shall be occupied until the applicant submits to the building inspector a certification by a registered professional engineer or land surveyor that the finished fill and building floor elevations, floodproofing measures and other flood protection measures comply with this title.

E.    Wetlands. No use requiring a wetland permit, pursuant to Section 17.92.100(B), shall occur until an occupancy permit is obtained from the zoning administrator stating that the use, structure or occupancy complies with the requirements of Chapter 17.92. No change of use or alteration, or extension of use, structure or occupancy shall be made without a revised occupancy permit from the zoning administrator certifying that such change of use, alteration or extension complies with the provisions of Chapter 17.92.

F.    Temporary Occupancy Permit. A temporary occupancy permit may be issued for not to exceed six months, pending completion of alterations to the land, dwelling, building or structure. Such permit may be limited to part of the premises. Such permit may be issued by the building inspector or the plan commission under such restrictions and provisions as are necessary to obtain compliance with the ordinances, laws and code provisions herein described and to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Violation of any such restrictions and provisions shall be cause for revocation by the plan commission. (Amended during 1/21/16 update; Ord. 1919-03 § 3 (part), 2003; prior code § 17.05)

17.08.030 Developers’ agreements.

Repealed by Ord. 2866-24. (Ord. 2076-06 § 1, 2006; Ord. 1919-03 §§ 2 (part), 3 (part), 2003; Ord. 1912-03 §§ 1 (part), 2 (part), 2003; Ord. 1725 § 2 (part), 2000; prior code § 17.055)

17.08.040 Legal nonconforming uses.

A.    Existing Use Permitted. The existing lawful use of a building or premises on August 1, 1961, or the date of any amendment hereto may be continued although such use does not conform with the provisions of this chapter for the district in which it is located, but such nonconforming use shall not be expanded.

B.    Change in Uses. If no structural alterations are made, a nonconforming use of a building may, upon prior approval of the plan commission, be changed to another nonconforming use of the same or a more restricted classification. Whenever a nonconforming use has been changed to a more restricted nonconforming use or a conforming use, such use shall not thereafter be changed to a less restricted use.

C.    Discontinuance of Use. If the use of a building or premises which does not conform to the use regulations of the district in which it is located is discontinued for a period of twelve (12) consecutive months, any future use of the building or premises shall conform to the setback, frontage, height, bulk, density and other regulations for the district in which it is located, except in the case where such nonconforming use is for agricultural purposes.

D.    Restoration. When a building which is a nonconforming use is damaged to the extent of more than fifty (50) percent of its current fair market value, it shall not be restored except in conformity with the regulations of the district in which it is located. The total structural repairs or alterations to a building which does not conform to the use regulations of the district in which it is located shall not, during its life, exceed fifty (50) percent of the fair market value of the building unless permanently changed to a conforming use.

E.    Special Exceptions for Certain Nonconforming Uses. Subject to Section 17.08.060, a special exception may be granted to an existing legal nonconforming use by the council upon petition of the owner where such use is determined to be not adverse to the public health, safety and welfare; would not conflict with the spirit or intent of this title or would not be otherwise detrimental to the community and particularly the surrounding neighborhood. Such special exception status shall be granted only after recommendation of the plan commission following a public hearing. The procedure for petition and hearing shall be as prescribed for a zoning change. A petition for a special exception shall be filed with the department of community development along with proof of payment of the fee and costs specified in Section 3.28.010(E). (Ord. 1993-04 §§ 1, 2, 2004; Ord. 1919-03 § 3 (part), 2003; Ord. 1912-03 § 2 (part), 2003; Ord. 1725 § 2 (part), 2000; prior code § 17.19)

17.08.050 Prior permit.

A.    Construction Permitted. Nothing herein contained shall require any change in the plans, construction, size or designated use of any building or part thereof for which a building permit has been issued before August 1, 1961, and the construction of which shall have been substantially started within six months from the date of such permit and diligently carried on.

B.    Subsequently Nonconforming. Any such use which does not conform to the use regulations of the district in which it is located shall, however, subsequently be considered a legal nonconforming use. (Prior code § 17.20)

17.08.060 Discretionary approvals and special exceptions.

A.    Approval Required. Where certain uses and situations are of such special nature or their effect is so dependent upon actual contemporary circumstances as to make impractical the absolute predetermination of permissibility or the listing of specific standards which could be automatically applied in each case to determine permissibility, provision has been made in this section for the determination of such cases by an appropriate body such as the plan commission, the council or the board of zoning appeals. In such cases, the uses enumerated may be permitted if the appropriate body determines that there is compliance with the standards or conditions, if any, set forth as modified or expanded by this section. A petition for a special exception shall be filed with the department of community development along with proof of payment of the fee and costs specified in Section 3.28.010(E). No application fee shall be required for special exception petitions for single- or two-family residential uses that do not include a home occupation or other nonresidential use, but payment of the actual costs of publication, as determined by the city clerk, shall be required.

B.    Basis of Approval. An application for a discretionary approval or a special exception may be granted by the body or bodies hereinafter designated if such grant, except insofar as elsewhere herein expressly provided, shall not:

1.    Violate the spirit or general intent of this title;

2.    Be contrary to the public health, safety or general welfare;

3.    Be hazardous, harmful, noxious, offensive or a nuisance by reason of noise, dust, smoke, odor or other similar factor;

4.    For any other reason, cause a substantial adverse effect on the property values and general desirability of the neighborhood;

5.    Violate the building location, height and area regulations of the district in which the proposed use is located, except as may be elsewhere expressly provided.

The approving body may grant the application for a special exception for a nonconforming use upon express conditions, including the period of time in which all or part of the use may be permitted which it may deem necessary to assure compliance with the foregoing standards. Where this title elsewhere requires that the approving body consider the location, building, site plan and plan of operation of the proposed use, the applicant shall submit details concerning compliance with those standards so as to permit the approving body to be able to determine the compatibility of the proposed use with the area; the suitability of architectural and landscape treatment; the provision for parking, traffic circulation, drainage, sewage disposal and for such planting screen as may be reasonably necessary to protect the surrounding area and for operational control devices where necessary to eliminate noise, dust, odor or smoke.

C.    Determination in Writing. The conditions of approval or reasons for disapproval shall be stated in writing by the determining body and made a permanent part of the minutes of such body.

D.    Approval of Plan Commission-May Be Overruled by Council-When Made Final. Whenever the plan commission makes a determination, pursuant to this section, resulting in the approval of any use, or the approval of the location or plan of operation of any use or in the grant of any use permit, this approval or grant may be overruled or modified at the next regular meeting of the council following this approval or grant by a majority vote of all the members-elect of the council. If so overruled, this approval or grant shall not become effective and no such approval or grant shall become final or effective for any purpose, or vest any rights in any person prior to conclusion of the next regular meeting of the council. If the council fails to overrule or modify this approval or grant at this meeting or fails to take any action regarding the same at this meeting, this approval or grant shall be final and effective thereafter. (Ord. 1919-03 § 3 (part), 2003; Ord. 1912-03 § 2 (part), 2003; Ord. 1725 § 2 (part), 2000; prior code § 17.21)

17.08.065 Statutory notice to property owners.

Sections 62.23(7)(d)4 and 66.1001(4)(f), Wisconsin Statutes, as they are from time to time amended, are hereby adopted by reference. As required by Sections 62.23(7)(d)4 and 66.1001(4)(f), Wisconsin Statutes, the City shall maintain a list of property owners who wish to be notified when the City considers a change to zoning or the comprehensive plan that affects their property. The City Clerk shall maintain the list and send the notices as required. The City shall publish an annual notice informing the public about the list. The City will utilize the notice provisions set forth in Section 17.08.070 for rezoning to comply with the statutorily required notices related to changes of zoning or the comprehensive plan that affect their property to the list members. (Ord. 2021-021604 § 1, 2021)

17.08.070 Changes and amendments.

A.    Authority. As provided in the statutes, the Council may, from time to time, create, amend, supplement, or change the boundaries of districts or the provisions of this title upon its own initiative or by petition of the property owner. The Plan Commission may initiate such actions based upon a report from the Department of Community Development or City Attorney without the need for a legislative referral to be initiated.

B.    Property Owner Initiated Procedure.

1.    Except for the Common Council or Plan Commission, prior to filing a zoning district or regulation change request, the requester shall meet with the Community Development Department to review the compatibility of the proposed request with the City’s current comprehensive plan, particularly, but not limited to, the land use map(s) and any associated documents, such as neighborhood plans, as listed in the comprehensive plan.

2.    Filing Requests.

a.    Requests for any zoning districts or regulations change submitted in paper and digital form by any person other than the Council or the Plan Commission shall be prepared on the form provided by the City and filed with the Community Development Department.

b.    Data Required. The requester shall supply the following:

i.    A map drawn to a scale of not less than 100 feet to the inch showing the land in question, its location, the length and direction of each boundary thereof;

ii.    A written explanation of how the proposed rezoning complies with the City’s comprehensive plan, including a general description of how the intended land use is in compliance with the comprehensive plan and citation to the comprehensive plan, neighborhood plan or other document incorporated into the comprehensive plan; and

iii.    Any further information which the Community Development Department would advise the applicant provide the Plan Commission to facilitate the Plan Commission and the Department providing a report to the Council and any alterations to the application to make it comply with the City’s comprehensive plan.

c.    Fees. No application is complete until the fee specified in Section 3.28.010(F) is paid and all required documents are submitted. The actual cost of publishing the required statutory notices will be billed to the requester by the Clerk’s office and shall be paid within 30 days of the billing date.

3.    Referral. Applications should be submitted at least 35 calendar days prior to a Plan Commission meeting to be considered eligible for that meeting’s agenda.

C.    Hearing.

1.    No change shall be made in the zoning districts or regulations without a public hearing being held before the Council which, if the Council elects, may be held jointly with the Plan Commission.

2.    Hearing Notices.

a.    Notice of the zoning change to be considered at a public hearing shall be published and sent as required by State law.

b.    Whenever the proposed change will affect the zoning district classification of any property or the property owner qualifies for notification under Section 17.08.065, the City Clerk shall mail written notice at least 10 days before the hearing to all owners of the subject property and of lands lying within 300 feet within the City of the property proposed to be changed. Whenever a proposed change to the comprehensive plan and the property owner qualifies for notification under Section 17.08.065, the City Clerk shall mail written notice at least 30 days before the hearing.

c.    Failure to send notices for zoning changes under subsection (C)(2)(b) of this section shall not affect the validity of an ordinance. (Ord. 2798-22 § 1, 2022; Ord. 2021-021604 § 2, 2021)

17.08.080 Enforcement.

A.    Administrator Designated. The Administrator is designated as the enforcement officer for the provisions of this title under the direction of the council.

B.    Duties. In the enforcement of this title, the Administrator shall perform the following duties:

1.    Issue the necessary building and occupancy permits provided the provisions of this chapter and the building code have been complied with;

2.    Keep an accurate record of all permits, numbered in the order of issuance in a record book provided by the city for this purpose.

C.    Authority. In the enforcement of this title, the Administrator may:

1.    At any reasonable time and for any proper purpose enter upon any public or private premises and make inspection thereof;

2.    Upon reasonable cause or question as to proper compliance, revoke any building or occupancy permit and issue cease and desist orders requiring the cessation of any building, moving, alteration or use which is in violation of the provisions of this chapter, such revocation to be in effect until reinstated by the Administrator or the board of zoning appeals;

3.    In the name of the city, commence any legal proceedings necessary to enforce the provisions of this title or the building code including the collection of forfeitures provided for herein. (Ord. 2790-22 § 2, 2022; prior code § 17.43)

17.08.090 Violation—Penalty.

A.    Forfeiture. Any person who shall violate any part of this title or any order, rule or regulation made hereunder shall be subject to a penalty as provided in Chapter 1.12.

B.    Enforcement by Injunction. Compliance with the provisions of this title may also be enforced by injunctional order at the suit of the city or one or more owners of real estate situated within an area affected by the regulations of this title.

C.    Declared Nuisances. Any building erected, structurally altered or placed on a lot or any use carried on in violation of the provisions of this title is declared to be a nuisance per se and the city may apply to any court of competent jurisdiction to restrain or abate such nuisance. (Prior code § 17.44)