Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Conveyance of land for highway purposes granted an easement, not fee title

A state appeals court has rejected the town’s argument that private landowners did not meet certain acreage requirements for development because the landowners’ predecessors-in-interest transferred fee title, not an easement, in land designated for a highway.

Appellate Court Opinion

Landowners with a 35 acre parcel were not permitted to build because of a zoning ordinance that requires 35 acres for a dwelling site.  If the parcel did not include land granted for a highway, it would be less than 35 acres.  The Court of Appeals held that the highway grant was an easement which did not reduce the size of the parcel.

Although the landowners won this round, is there not reason to question the sensibility of requiring 35 acres for a home site?  Most of us live on lots smaller than 35 acres.  A home with a well and a septic system is virtually self-contained with respect to its water and sewage.  The technical question should be how much land is needed given the soils and geology for a well and septic system to operate properly.  The answer is almost certainly far less than 35 acres in Wisconsin.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

How does Wisconsin law provide for splitting a property owned by several parties?

We have recreation real estate owned by 4 tenants in common. 3 of us are attempting to force the sale. 4th is demanding a physical split of the property. Will this be an alternative recognized by court?

Chapter 842 of the Wisconsin statutes are the statutory provisions relating to division of a tenancy in common through a "partition" action. The statutes provide a mechanism for dividing a property and for selling a property if it cannot be properly divided. There are provisions for appointment of a referree to advise the Court as to the proper way to proceed. So, in short, split of the property rather than sale of the entirety and split of the proceeds may or may not be ordered by the Court in a partition action depending upon the facts and circumstances of the case.

Attorney James N. Graham of Accession Law LLC http://accessionlaw.com is providing a general answer which does not establish an attorney/client relationship and which is not legal advice. Contact attorney James N. Graham in order to discuss the terms of retainer and the information needed in order to obtain a legal opinion, recommendation, or advice. The first inquiry for an attorney is to know only the parties involved in order to check for conflicts of interest with current or former clients.

James N. Graham
Accession Law LLC
6401 Odana Road
Madison, WI 53719