Town of Rhine v. Bizzell

751 N.W.2d 780 (2008)

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Town of Rhine v. Bizzell

Wisconsin Supreme Court
751 N.W.2d 780 (2008)

Facts

The Manitowoc Area Off Highway Vehicle Club, Inc. (the club) (plaintiff) owned 77.2 acres of land in the Town of Rhine (the town) (defendant). The land’s zoning classification was B-2. The town’s zoning ordinance stated that land zoned as B-2 had no permitted or as-of-right uses. However, a landowner could apply for a conditional-use permit, sometimes referred to as a special-use permit, to use B-2 land for six identified commercial manufacturing or processing uses. These possible conditional uses included ones like manufacturing, disposing of garbage, and processing quarry rocks and mining ore. Initially, the club did not apply for a conditional-use permit of any sort for its land. The club’s members used the land for hunting and for riding all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). The town notified the club that it was required to apply for a conditional-use permit for the property. The club applied for a conditional-use permit to use the land for recreational purposes, but the application was denied. The town’s police department then issued nuisance citations to club members for riding ATVs on the club’s land. The club challenged the citations, arguing that the zoning ordinance was unconstitutional on its face because it did not give owners of property zoned as B-2 any permitted uses as of right. The town argued that the ordinance was constitutional because it allowed for certain property uses under conditional-use permits. The municipal court found for the club. The circuit court also found for the club, ruling that the B-2 zoning ordinance was unconstitutional. The court of appeals certified the matter to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ziegler, J.)

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