Wisconsin Legislature Approves Several of NAIOP-WI’s Legislative Priorities
By Tom Larson
This week, three of NAIOP-WI’s legislative priorities moved through both houses of the Wisconsin legislature and are now on the desk of Governor Walker waiting to be signed into law. Each of these bills attempts to improve the regulatory environment for commercial development by streamlining the development process, providing greater certainty to permit applicants, or creating additional incentives for economic development.
The bills are as follows:
SB 183 (Shoreland zoning after annexation) – Authorizes cities and villages to apply their own shoreland zoning standards to newly annexed and incorporated property in shoreland areas if these shoreland zoning standards include minimum setback (50 feet) and vegetative maintenance requirements.
Specifically, SB 183 authorizes cities and villages to apply their own zoning regulations in all shoreland areas that have been annexed since 1982 and incorporated since 1994 if those regulations meet the following minimum requirements:
50-foot setback – A minimum 50-foot setback from navigable waters is required unless:
An existing development pattern on adjacent lots exists – If immediately adjacent lots are developed and the principal structures are built closer than 50 feet to the water, the municipality may reduce the setback to the average setback of the principal structures on the immediately adjacent lots, but no closer than 35 feet.
The waterbody is manmade and isolated – If the waterway is manmade (drainage ditch, retention pond, etc.) and not connected to a natural waterway that is navigable, then the 50-foot setback doesn’t apply.
Vegetative buffer – A vegetative buffer 35 feet from the water must be maintained along the shoreland property. Within the vegetative buffer, the property owner may remove:
View-access corridor – Vegetation and trees to create a view access corridor that can be no greater than 30 feet wide for every 100 feet of frontage.
Dead or diseased vegetation – In all areas within the vegetative buffer but outside the view access corridor, the property owner must maintain the natural vegetative cover, but may remove dead or diseased vegetation.
SB 314 (Vested rights) – Clarifies current law and firmly establishes a property owner’s vested rights by statute by stating that changes to any local ordinances and regulations cannot be applied to permit applications after the date the application has been submitted to the local government.
To encourage greater economic development, SB 314 creates a more equitable and predictable permit process for developers and property owners by:
Prohibiting local communities from changing local regulations affecting a proposed development after an application for the proposed development has been received by the local municipality, unless the permit applicant and the municipality agree otherwise,
If the development project is subject to multiple approvals by one or more municipalities, only the regulations in effect at the time the permit application for the first approval is file can be applied to the project,
Requiring the municipality to notify and inform the permit applicant within 10 working days as to whether the application is complete and whether additional information is necessary, and
Providing that the permit application shall not expire less than 60 days after it is first submitted for approval.
SSAB 4 (Historic rehabilitation tax credit) – Increases the state income and franchise tax credit for qualified rehabilitation expenditures from 10 percent to 20 percent.
To revitalize older neighborhoods and encourage the rehabilitation of historic structures, SSAB 4 authorizes a person to claim an income and franchise tax credit for 20 percent of the qualified rehabilitation expenses, as defined under the federal Internal Revenue Code, for certified historic structures on property located in Wisconsin, if:
- the cost of the person’s qualified rehabilitation expenditures is at least $50,000, and
- the rehabilitated property is placed in service after December 31, 2012
In addition, SSAB 4 allows a person to claim a credit equal to 20 percent of the qualified rehabilitation expenses for qualified rehabilitated buildings located in Wisconsin. The credit is similar to the federal credit for rehabilitating a building that was first placed in service before 1936, except that the federal credit is 10 percent of the qualified rehabilitation expenses.