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Area Variance

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//May 27, 2024//

Area Variance

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//May 27, 2024//

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WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: Laura Sutton v. Barron County Board of Adjustment

Case No.: 2023AP000786

Officials: Stark, P.J., Hruz and Gill, JJ.

Focus: Area Variance

The Barron County Board of Adjustment’s decision to deny Laura and Ryan Sutton’s request for an area variance was reversed by the circuit court, which found the Board had failed to apply the correct legal standard and that its decision was arbitrary. While the court affirmed the finding of the Board’s failure to apply the proper legal standard, it disagreed with the court’s decision to grant the variance request. Instead, the court should have remanded the matter to the Board for further proceedings. The Suttons sought a variance to construct a garage addition, arguing that compliance with setback requirements would create unnecessary hardship due to property limitations. The Board, however, focused on the existence of an alternative location for the addition, ultimately denying the variance. The court found that the Board failed to adequately consider the public interest and the purpose of the ordinance, as required by law. Therefore, the court reversed the Board’s decision but should have remanded it for reconsideration. The opinion emphasized the need for the Board to properly apply the legal standard and provide adequate reasoning for its decision, ultimately remanding the case for further proceedings consistent with the court’s opinion.

Affirmed in part, reversed in part and remanded.

Decided 05/21/24

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