Annexation FAQ 1
Is there a process for de-annexing property from a municipality?
Yes, though it is rarely done. There are actually two procedures set forth in the statutes for detaching territory from a city or village and attaching it to a town. The two procedures are set out in Wis. Stat. secs. 62.075 and 66.0227.
Section 62.075, which is made applicable to villages by sec. 61.74, provides a procedure whereby agricultural land contiguous to a municipality’s border may be detached from the municipality. Land is eligible for detachment under sec. 62.075 if it consists of 200 acres or more, has been within the municipality for at least 20 years, and during all that time has been used exclusively for agricultural purposes. Sec. 62.075(1). No owner is eligible to sign a petition for the detachment of agricultural land under this section unless he or she owns at least a 20-acre parcel. In addition, no land may be detached from a municipality unless the remaining territory of the municipality is left reasonably compact with regular boundaries. Also, no lands in which public improvements have been installed are eligible for detachment under this section. Sec. 62.075(2).
Under sec. 62.075 the owner or owners of all the territory proposed to be detached must file a petition for detachment with the clerk of circuit court. The court is required to set a hearing on the detachment. Sec. 62.075(3). Prior to the hearing the city, village, town and owners of land in the vicinity may file any objections they may have to the detachment with the court. The court may enter judgment detaching the land described in the petition and annexing it to the adjacent town if all the conditions and requirements set forth in sec. 62.075 have been complied with. Sec. 62.075(4).
Section 66.0227 also provides a procedure for detaching territory from municipalities. Under this section a petition must be filed with the municipal clerk by a majority of the owners of three-fourths of the taxable land in the area sought to be detached. The petition must be filed within 120 days after notice of intention to circulate a petition of detachment has been published in a newspaper having general circulation in the village. Sec. 66.0227(1). An ordinance detaching the territory may be enacted by a three-fourths vote of all the members of the municipal governing body within sixty days after the petition for detachment has been filed. The governing body of the town to which the territory will be annexed then has sixty days to adopt an ordinance by three-fourths vote of all its members accepting the terms of the ordinance passed by the municipality. If either the municipality or town board fails to adopt a detachment ordinance then the petition for detachment is considered rejected. Sec. 66.0227(2).The detaching municipality or attaching town may opt to hold a referendum on the question of detachment within thirty days of enacting a detachment ordinance. The municipality and/or town may also be required to hold a referendum if electors petition their governing body for a referendum election on the detachment question within thirty days after a detachment ordinance has been adopted. The referendum must be held not less than 70 nor more than 100 days after the filing of the petition or the enactment of the ordinance. If a referendum election is held, the detachment ordinances described above do not take effect and are not in force unless a majority of the municipal or town electors approve them. Sec. 66.0227(3).