Zoning FAQ 7

Are county buildings in cities and villages subject to city or village zoning ordinance limitations?

Section 13.48(13)(a), Wis. Stats. provides:

[E]very building, structure or facility that is constructed for the benefit of the state, any state agency, board, commission or department . . . shall be in compliance with all state laws, rules, codes and regulations but the construction is not subject to the ordinances or regulations of the municipality in which the construction takes place except zoning, including without limitation because of enumeration ordinances or regulations relating to materials used, permits, supervision of construction or installation, payment of permit fees, or other restrictions. [Emphasis added].

In past opinions (e.g., Zoning 432), the League has concluded that a county is an arm or agent of the state and sec. 13.48(13)(a), Stats., is therefore applicable to a county. The attorney general also concluded in a January 8, 1997 informal opinion to the Brown County Corporation Counsel, (OAG I-I-97) that local zoning ordinances apply to the construction of county jails or houses of correction.