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Chapter 20. Shorelands-Wetlands

Sec. 20-61. Shoreland-wetland zoning district.

(1) Shoreland-wetland zoning maps. The following maps are hereby adopted and made a part of this chapter and are on file in the office of the city clerk:

  1. Wisconsin Wetland Inventory Maps stamped "final revised" on December 22, 1992.
  2. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Federal Insurance Administration, Flood Hazard Boundary Maps.

(2) District boundaries. Boundaries of the shoreland-wetland zoning district shall be as follows:

  1. The shoreland-wetland zoning district includes all wetlands in the city which are five acres or more and are shown on the final wetland inventory map that has been adopted and made a part of this chapter and which are: within 300 feet of the ordinary high-water mark of navigable rivers or streams, or to the landward side of the floodplain, whichever distance is greater. Rivers and streams shall be presumed to be navigable if they are designated as either continuous or intermittent waterways on the United States Geological Survey quadrangle maps or other zoning base which have been incorporated by reference and made a part of this chapter. Floodplain zoning maps adopted at subsection (1)(a) of this section shall be used to determine the extent of floodplain areas.
  2. Determinations of navigability and ordinary high-water mark location shall initially be made by the zoning administrator. When questions arise, the zoning administrator shall contact the appropriate district office of the department for final determination of navigability or ordinary high-water mark.
  3. When an apparent discrepancy exists between the shoreland-wetland district boundary shown on the official zoning maps and actual field conditions at the time the maps were adopted, the zoning administrator shall contact the appropriate district office of the department to determine if the shoreland-wetland district boundary as mapped is in error. If department staff concur with the zoning administrator that a particular area was incorrectly mapped as a wetland, the zoning administrator shall have the authority to immediately grant or deny a zoning permit in accordance with the regulations applicable to the correct zoning district. In order to correct wetland mapping errors or acknowledge exempted wetlands designated in subsection (1) of this section, the zoning administrator shall be responsible for initiating a map amendment within a reasonable period.
  4. Filled wetlands. Wetlands which are filled prior to September 29, 1988, the date on which the city received final wetland inventory maps, in a manner which affects their wetland characteristics to the extent that the area can no longer be defined as wetland, are not subject to this chapter.

(3) Permitted uses. The following uses are permitted subject to the provisions of chs. 30 and 31 Wis. Stats. and the provisions of other local, state and federal laws, if applicable:

  1. (a) Activities and uses which do not require the issuance of a zoning permit, provided that no wetland alteration occurs:
    1. Hiking, fishing, trapping, hunting, swimming, snowmobiling and boating;
    2. The harvesting of wild crops, such as marsh hay, ferns, moss, wild rice, berries, tree fruits and tree seeds, in a manner that is not injurious to the natural reproduction of such crops;
    3. The practice of silviculture, including the planting, thinning and harvesting of timber;
    4. The pasturing of livestock; and
    5. The cultivation of agricultural crops.
  2. Uses which do not require the issuance of a zoning permit and which may involve wetland alterations only to the extent specifically provided as follows:
    1. The practice of silviculture, including limited temporary water level stabilization measures which are necessary to alleviate abnormally wet or dry conditions that would have an adverse impact on the conduct of silvicultural activities if not corrected;
    2. The maintenance and repair of existing drainage systems to restore preexisting levels of drainage, including the minimum amount of filling necessary to dispose of dredged spoil, provided that the filling is otherwise permissible and that dredged spoil is placed on existing spoil banks where possible;
    3. The construction and maintenance of fences for the pasturing of livestock, including limited excavating and filling necessary for such construction or maintenance;
    4. The construction and maintenance of walkways, observation decks and trail bridges built on pilings, including limited excavating and filling necessary for such construction or maintenance;
    5. The installation and maintenance of sealed tiles for the purpose of draining lands outside the shoreland-wetland zoning district provided that such installation or maintenance is done in a manner designed to minimize adverse impacts upon the natural functions of the shoreland-wetland listed in section 20-05(4) of this chapter; and
    6. The maintenance, repair, replacement and reconstruction of existing highways and bridges, including limited excavating and filling necessary for such maintenance, repair, replacement or reconstruction.

(4) Conditional uses. Conditional uses are uses which are allowed upon the issuance of a conditional use permit and which may include wetland alterations only to the extent specifically provided as follows:

  1. The construction and maintenance of roads which are necessary for the continuity of the municipal street system, the provision of essential utility and emergency services or to provide access to uses permitted under subsection (3) of this section, provided that:
    1. The road cannot, as a practical matter, be located outside the wetland;
    2. The road is designed and constructed to minimize adverse impacts upon the natural functions of the wetland listed in section 20-05(4) of this chapter;
    3. The road is designed and constructed with the minimum cross sectional area practical to serve the intended use;
    4. Road construction activities are carried out in the immediate area of the roadbed only; and
    5. Any wetland alteration must be necessary for the construction or maintenance of the road.
  2. The construction and maintenance of nonresidential buildings provided that:
    1. The building is used solely in conjunction with a use permitted in the shorelandwetland district or for the raising of waterfowl, minnows or other wetland or aquatic animals;
    2. The building cannot, as a practical matter, be located outside the wetland;
    3. The building does not exceed 500 square feet in floor area; and
    4. Only limited filling and excavating necessary to provide structural support for the building is allowed.
  3. The establishment and development of public and private parks and recreation areas; outdoor education areas; historic, natural and scientific areas; game refuges and closed areas; fish and wildlife habitat improvement projects; game bird and animal farms; and wildlife preserves, provided that:
    1. Any private development allowed under this subsection shall be used exclusively for the permitted purpose;
    2. Only limited filling and excavating necessary for the development of the construction of park shelters or similar structures is allowed;
    3. The construction and maintenance of roads necessary for the uses permitted under this subsection are allowed only where such construction and maintenance meets the criteria of subsection (4)(a) of this section; and
    4. Wetland alterations in game refuges and closed areas, fish and wildlife habitat improvement projects, game bird and animal farms and wildlife preserves shall be for the purpose of improving wildlife habitat or to otherwise enhance wetland values.
  4. The construction and maintenance of electric and telephone transmission lines, water and gas distribution lines and sewage collection lines and related facilities and the construction and maintenance of railroad lines provided that:
    1. The utility transmission and distribution facilities and railroad lines cannot, as a practical matter, be located outside the wetland;
    2. Only limited filling or excavating necessary for such construction or maintenance is allowed; and
    3. Such construction or maintenance is done in a manner designed to minimize adverse impacts upon the natural functions of the wetland listed in section 20-05(4) of this chapter.

(5) Prohibited uses. Any use not listed in subsections (3) and (4) of this section is prohibited, unless the wetland or a portion of the wetland has been rezoned by amendment of this chapter in accordance with section 20-05 of this chapter.

(Code 1982, 27.01(3))