When a Dream Home Site Becomes a Nightmare

A client and his wife bought five acres of lakefront wilderness land for their Up North retirement home in 1998. The land was part of a residential subdivision approved by the county. The county and state issued a permit to install a septic system.

After holding and maintaining the property for 10 years, the client decided to sell the land. A buyer appeared and a sale agreement was signed. Closing on the transaction was only a few days away when ...

The realtor discovered the property was entirely inside a conservancy zone. That meant absolutely no development of the land could take place. And the resale value was less than 10 percent of the intended sale price.

How did the client get in this pickle? The county had approved the land for development in 1988 as a residential subdivision. The county and state had both approved the installation of a residential septic system in 2000. The client had interviewed several county and DNR officials prior to his purchase to confirm that his land was buildable. The client paid for two (2) property title searches — and knew of three other title searches that assured him there were no legal encumbrances on his property title.

The client was unaware of several facts:

  • The county had capriciously put a conservancy tag on his property in 1970.

  • The county did not keep minutes of that meeting and marked only one map, which is kept in an obscure county office.

  • Title insurance companies do not check for zoning. (Yes, that's true. Check the fine print regarding exemptions in your title policy!)

The client was despondent — until he came to the Bucher Law Group, LLC. His attorney quickly determined that litigation was not an option. Instead, an innovative petition to have most of the land re-zoned out of conservancy was carefully drafted and presented to the town and county boards. The boards had never seen this issue before. But they were impressed by the petition, which was granted without a dissenting vote.

Now ... would you possibly be interested in a stunningly beautiful five-acre parcel of wooded, lakeside property ... adjacent to a DNR flowage conservancy ... just 100 miles from Waukesha ... and ready for construction of your rural retreat? If so, contact the Bucher Law Group, LLC.