Wisconsin lake property owners… good news about piers!

April 2, 2008
Straight from the Wisconsin REALTORS Asssoiation press release is some excellent news for Wisconsin lake property owners…………..
This issue has been on the table for a long time and a bill was finally signed
April 1, 2008                                                   Contact: Tom Larson
IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       (608) 212-0066
REALTORS Praise New Pier Protection Law
Group Credits Governor and Bipartisan Legislative Leaders
Madison — Wisconsin waterfront property owners can rejoice after new legislation to protect existing piers was signed into law today, according to the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA). 
Assembly Bill 297 establishes grandfathering standards for existing piers and will provide permanent protection from future regulations to approximately 99% of the existing piers.  The new law exempts from new regulations (or "grandfathers") all piers up to 8-feet wide and loading platforms or "decks" (located at the end of the pier) that are 200 square feet or less.  The law also grandfathers decks between 200 and 300 square feet, as long as they are no wider than 10 feet. 
"This new law is very important to waterfront property owners and will provide certainty as to which piers are legal, and which are not," said Mike Spranger, WRA Chairman.  Spranger also thanked Governor Doyle and legislative leaders of both political parties for passage of the bill saying, "The new law strikes a good balance between the rights of property owners and the rights of the public to use and enjoy our waterways."  
Assembly Bill 297 was the work product of a broad coalition of key stakeholders including the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Wisconsin REALTORS® Association, the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, the Wisconsin Builders Association, and the Wisconsin Association of Lakes.  It passed both houses in the legislature with unanimous support. 
While some existing piers will not be grandfathered, the law makes the process easier and more equitable for obtaining the necessary permits to keep these piers in place.   "This new permitting process recognizes that many of these piers have been in place for decades and it would be unfair to make waterfront property owners rip them out," said Bill Malkasian, President, Wisconsin REALTORS® Association. 
While a pier adds monetary value to waterfront property because it provides access to the water for boating and recreation, there can also be a significant emotional attachment for some property owners.  "A pier is the place where many families have spent countless hours swimming, fishing and spending time together," said Spranger.  "Piers are emblematic of summer-time fun in Wisconsin."      
And here’s hoping that summer will really arrive one day so we can use those piers!

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