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Wisconsin Supreme Court’s October Oral Arguments

The Wisconsin Supreme Court kicked off oral arguments in October with two cases of particular importance to the regulated community: Anderson v. Town of Newbold and Christus Lutheran Church of Appleton v. DOT.

Anderson v. Town of Newbold (2018AP547) challenges a town’s use of subdivision authority to limit shoreline property rights. Wisconsin law limits the authority to create shoreline zoning ordinances to counties, meaning towns generally cannot create them. In this case, a riparian landowner proposed to divide his shoreline frontage property on Lake Mildred into two parcels, but the Town of Newbold denied his request, stating it conflicted with a town subdivision ordinance requiring a minimum width for property bordering the lake. Anderson sued the town on the grounds that the subdivision ordinance was really a disguised, illegal zoning ordinance.

The Court of Appeals sided with the town, stating “the absence of clear legislative intent” reconciling the two conflicting provisions, the court would not declare the ordinance illegal.

You can listen to the oral arguments before the Supreme Court here.

Meanwhile, Christus Lutheran Church of Appleton v. DOT (2018AP001114) involves the appraisal of property taken by eminent domain. The case asks  whether the Department of Transportation must obtain a new appraisal in jurisdictional offers where it believes it should provide additional compensation beyond the bounds of the initial appraisal amount offered.

The Court of Appeals held that when the Department of Transportation (DOT) independently decides to include additional items of compensation in a jurisdictional offer for property condemnation, DOT must obtain a new appraisal supporting the new items in the offer.

You can listen to the oral arguments before the Supreme Court here.