Summer on Wisconsin’s Waterfronts Just Got Better

Pier on Lake Wausau

Summer on the waterfront in Wisconsin can be quite enjoyable. Waterfront owners now have something more to cheer about; aside from the lovely view from their pier.  Since April when Wisconsin modified the rights of waterfront owners.  The new law grandfathers in almost all existing piers and guarantees that waterfront property owners have the right to place a pier even in areas the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has deemed to be “environmentally significant.”

Existing Piers
Under the new law all existing piers are grandfathered in as long as the pier meets the guidelines below:

  • 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.

Moreover, the new law allows the waterfront owner to relocate or reconfigure the pier as long as the pier is not enlarged.

New Piers
A new pier can now be placed without getting a permit if the following requirements are met:

  • Width: No more than six feet wide.
  • Length: No longer than what is necessary to moor your boat or use a boat lift, or 3-foot water depth, whichever is greater.
  • Number of boats: Two boat slips/lifts for the first 50 feet of water frontage of your property, plus one more boat slip/lift for each additional 50 feet of frontage.
  • Number of personal watercraft: Two personal watercraft for the first 50 feet of water frontage of your property, plus one more personal watercraft for each additional 50 feet of frontage.
  • Loading platforms: A loading platform/deck with a surface area no greater than 200 square feet.

If a waterfront property owner wants to place a pier that exceeds these standards, a permit must be obtained from the DNR.

New Piers in Environmentally Significant Areas
Piers can now be built in areas that are considered by the DNR to be environmentally significant. While you still have to obtain a general permit for building the pier, the DNR can no longer prohibit the construction of a pier. However, the DNR may impose condition on the location, design, construction, and installation of such piers.

Wet Boathouses
You may now maintain your existing boathouse if it was constructed prior to 1979. You may use unlimited resources to maintain the boathouse. However, the boathouse can not be expanded.

When looking at purchasing waterfront property it will be important to discuss with your realtor whether the current property owner has received notice from the DNR that the pier is detrimental to the public interest and if the pier interferes with the rights of other waterfront owners.

Source: “New Pier Grandfathering Legislation Signed Into Law,” The Wisconsin Realtors Association Real Estate Magazine (May 2012).

Cleaning Up Your Yard in Madison, Important to Your Real Estate Investment

So the weather is great, everyone is a bit happier and without a winter coat (FINALLY!!)! Another highlight, the Madison real estate market is picking up.All the signs are pointing to the start of the spring/summer season. With this season, comes the yard clean ups that are so very important in protecting your Madison real estate investment, your home!

Performing your yard clean up is important for all homeowners, but especially important if you are trying to sell your Madison home. I would encourage all Madison homeowners to take advantage of the Spring Leaf and Garden Waste Collection that is being provided by the city of Madison. It will continue until May 2 and pick up times are dependent upon your Madison property address. Take a look at Madison’s site for more details.

If you happen to miss the pick ups or have a need to drop off the waste yourself you can do that as well. There are 3 locations available to Madison city homeowners;
• EAST: 4602 Sycamore Ave.
• SOUTH: 1501 W. Badger Rd.
• WEST: 402 South Point Rd. (Brush will not be accepted)

All three locations accept the following;
• Leaves,
• Grass clippings,
• Garden debris,
• Flowers and other plant waste. The sites will also accept
• Shrub trimmings shorter that 18″. Tree and shrub trimmings longer than 18″ are considered brush. Brush is accepted at the 1501 W. Badger Rd. and 4602 Sycamore Ave. sites only. Do not bring brush to 402 South Point Rd.

Good Luck and Enjoy the Warm weather while performing your Madison yard clean up! And for all the home sellers in the Madison real estate market right now, don’t forget the importance of curb appeal!

The grass is always greener!

Isn’t it funny how as homeowners and local residents living in a community for years upon years, we often never realize all that our community has to offer. We look at other areas, like coastal resorts, historic settings, or even other state parks, and think we would love to explore them. Yet we often forget that when living in Madison we have some of the most interesting activities and areas to explore right in our backyard. I am always searching on-line and in our local Madison publications so that I can stay on top of all the local events and activities in our community. I think it is important as a realtor to be a community expert especially when working with prospective Madison buyers. This week, while doing my research, I came across a really neat activity that combines two of my favorite things. Films and music!
Yesterday began the start of the 10th annual Wisconsin Film Festival. It will run through this Sunday, April 6th. There will be many local Madison establishments involved in the film festival for movie showings, release parties, and receptions. The movies are shown at 10 different Madison theaters all within walking distance to one another downtown. Entering and exiting the movies you will find areas to sit and enjoy the music of some of the movies. You can also go to one of the many parties to see live music including some great local Madison talent. So if you are looking for some fun this weekend or interested in seeing a great side of Madison, check out the Wisconsin Film Festival this weekend.