Local Governments Respond to Removal of Community-Based Decision Making

The Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Towns Association, and League of Wisconsin Municipalities issued the following statement in response to the release of a legislative proposal called the “Homeowner Bill of Rights (HBOR):”

The HBOR (LRB-2630/1) eliminates years of work by local communities in establishing the balance between property owners and communities when it comes to local land use decisions.  Under current law, local zoning boards, comprised of local elected and appointed officials, weigh the pros and cons of a particular land use proposal and determine whether a proposed use conforms to what the community would find acceptable.  This is no different than the typical legislative process in a representative democracy.  

Under the HBOR, flexibility currently provided local zoning agencies used to determine if a particular use is in the best interests of public health, safety and welfare is eliminated.  And this comes right on the heels of the Wisconsin Supreme Court upholding this flexibility as not only the long-standing law of the land in Wisconsin, but also in most other jurisdictions.  Wisconsin has long cherished the role of local government in safeguarding the interests of its citizens.  People that make decisions that impact a community should answer to their community – not to Madison.

Local governments are strongly opposed to LRB 2630/1 and will work with members of the Wisconsin State Legislature to ensure communities continue to have a voice in their local land use decisions.

For additional information, contact Mark D. O’Connell, Wisconsin Counties Association, 608.663.7188; Jerry Deschane, League of Wisconsin Municipalities, 608.267.2380; Mike Koles, Wisconsin Towns Association, 715.526.3157.