Posts In Zoning Legal

Home Buying for Unmarried Couples
Posted by Eliason Realty of the North, LLC on November 26, 2013 in Zoning Legal
Home Buying for Unmarried Couples

by  of KCM on November 21, 2013

Today we are excited to have Mark Scheets return as our guest blogger.  Mark is a writer for Total Mortgage Services, and often writes about homebuying and refinancing.

Throughout the home buying process there can be various hurdles to jump over to make sure everything goes smoothly.  In today’s culture, we are finding more often unmarried couples are purchasing their first homes together.  Although this sounds like a great plan, there are precautions that need to be taken in order to make sure the process is done right.  Doing your research beforehand can alleviate any headaches. From a financial sense it is more difficult to break the co-ownership of a house, than it is to get a divorce, if things turn sour.

When making the decision to purchase a home with your significant other, you and partner must know that just like with marriage, a property agreement is a legal contract. One of the more important aspects of purchasing a home together is knowing how the investment will be split.  In many cases, one partner may initially invest more money into the home than the other.  This may cause issues in the future if things don’t work out due to the fact that legally one person may end up owning more of the house than the other.

Plan Now

If the relationship were to end, a dividing of the assets needs to take place.  Although everyone in a relationship hopes for the best, preparing for the worst-case scenario will alleviate any hassle in the future. The best way to protect yourself is to come to an agreement as soon as possible while you both are still happy.  If there were to be any future issues, it could get real ugly resolving things if steps were not taken care of from the start.

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Tagged with joint tenancy joint tenants unmarried buyers
Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules on DNR Authority Over Waterfront Property Rights
Posted by John and Diane Misina on September 11, 2013 in Zoning Legal

September 2013

Digital Edition:  Real Estate Magazine
Boundary Lines: Wisconsin Supreme Court Re-establishes Bright Line Between Private and Public Rights

By: Tom Larson

In Rock-Koshkonong Lake District v. Department of Natural Resources, 2013 WI 74, the Wisconsin Supreme Court issued an important ruling for waterfront property owners in Wisconsin. The ruling provides property owners with greater certainty regarding the regulatory limits of the Public Trust Doctrine, which is often used to define the boundary between where the rights of property owners begin and the rights of the public end. Moreover, the ruling limits the authority of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to lower lake water levels without considering the economic impact on waterfront property owners and businesses.


The case involved a dispute about water levels on Lake Koshkonong, which is a shallow lake formed by a dam on the Rock River near Janesville. The dam, which was originally constructed in the 1850s, fell into disrepair and had difficulty maintaining consistent water levels. In 2002, the dam was repaired and the DNR lowered the water levels by approximately one foot to better protect wetlands located beneath the dam. The DNR maintained that it had the authority to reduce water levels in the lake under the Wisconsin Constitution’s Public Trust Doctrine, which provides that the waters of the state are held in trust by the state for the benefit of all. (The Public Trust Doctrine has been interpreted to mean that the state owns the navigable waters of the state and the land under navigable lakes as determined by the ordinary high water mark (OHWM)). As a result of the lowered water levels, the shorelines began to increase significantly, making it more difficult to access piers and use the lake for boating purposes due to the shallow water.

In 2003, a group of waterfront property owners and businesses petitioned the DNR to raise the water levels of Lake Koshkonong.

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Tagged with wra lake koshkonong economic impact rock county court ohwm public trust doctrine wi dnr wisconsin supreme court
The Truth About the 3.8% Tax Going Into Effect
Posted by John and Diane Misina on October 15, 2012 in Zoning Legal
The Truth About the 3.8% Tax Going Into Effect

-- information provided from the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association (WRA)

Now that the Supreme Court has upheld the health care legislation, all of its major provisions remain in effect, including the new tax that was designed to affect upper income taxpayers. The 3.8% tax is imposed ONLY on those with more than $200,000 of Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) ($250,000 on a joint return). The tax applies to investment income, defined as interest, dividends, capital gains and net rents. These items are all included in an individual's AGI. A formula will determine what portion, if any, of these types of investment income would be subject to the tax.

The tax is NOT a transfer tax on real estate sales and similar transactions.

Not long after the tax was enacted, erroneous and misleading documents went viral on the Internet and created a great deal of misunderstanding and made the tax into something far more draconian than the actual provisions.

The new tax does NOT eliminate the benefits of the $250,000/$500,000 exclusion on the sale of a principal residence. Thus, ONLY that portion of a gain above those thresholds is included in AGI and could be subject to the tax.  

Eliason Realty of the North, Inc. encourages you to contact your accountant to fulyl understand how this tax may or may not apply in your specific situation.  

The amount of tax will vary from individual to individual because the elements that comprise AGI differ from taxpayer to taxpayer. Please visit these links for additional in-depth information: (A video) (FAQs) (informational brochure)

Also see the article at


-shared from the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association by
 Eliason Realty of the North, Inc.
Vilas County Wisconsin Real Estate Brokers 

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Tagged with wra obamacare tax real estate tax 3 8 tax
New Pier Grandfathering Legislation Signed Into Law (report by WRA)
Posted by Diane Misina on May 3, 2012 in Zoning Legal
New Pier Grandfathering Legislation Signed Into Law (report by WRA)New Pier Grandfathering Legislation Signed Into Law By: Tom Larson

On April 2, 2012, Governor Walker signed into law 2011 Wisconsin Act 167, legislation that grandfathers almost all existing piers. In addition, the new law eliminates the pier registration requirement and creates new standards for piers placed on or after April 17, 2012. Finally, the new law guarantees that waterfront property owners have a right to place a pier, even if the property is located in areas that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) considers to be environmentally significant.


In 2007, Wisconsin lawmakers enacted a law that attempted to grandfather 99 percent of the existing piers from DNR permitting requirements. (2007 Wisconsin Act 204.) To be eligible for grandfathering, a pier was required to meet the following standards:

The pier must have been originally placed prior to February 6, 2004. The width of the pier could be no wider than eight feet. A loading platform or deck was allowed as long as it is located at the lakeward end of the pier and the platform had a surface area no greater than either (a) 200 square feet, which may be any width, or (b) 300 square feet, if the deck/platform is no wider than 10 feet.

In addition, the pier must have been registered with the DNR by April 1, 2011. The registration deadline was later changed to April 1, 2012.

However, both the DNR and lawmakers discovered that many more piers than originally anticipated would not qualify for grandfathering. In addition, very few piers that did qualify for grandfathering were registered with the DNR.
Accordingly, lawmakers decided that it would be best to resolve the pier grandfathering issue once and for all by grandfathering all existing piers.

Grandfathering of Existing Piers

Under the new law, all existing piers placed before April 17, 2012 are grandfathered unless:

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Tagged with dnr legislation pier wra
WI Act 170 - Property Rights Protections - published April 16, 2012
Posted by Diane Misina on April 14, 2012 in Zoning Legal

Senate Bill 472 passed both houses and was enacted April 2, 2012, and published April 16, 2012. 

The resulting legislation, Wisconsin ACT 170, provides significant protections for real estate owners in Vilas County and across Northern Wisconsin.  The new law addresses certain shoreland zoning standards and ordinances thta regulate the repair and expansion of nonconforming structures.  Among other protections, the law prohibits rules that call for the removal of a non-conforming building, premises, structure or fixture by an amortization ordinance.  (amortization ordinances call for a nonconforming structure to exist, but only for a period of time). 

"An ordinance enacted under this section may not prohibit, or limit based on cost, the repair, maintenance, renovation, or remodeling of a nonconforming structure." 

There are a number of other limits that are placed on local governments and hsoreland zoning to protect property owners.  We urge you to click and read the law which is 2.5 pages long here:


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Tagged with property rights sb 472 wi act 170 act 170 substandard lot nonconforming
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