The livestock facility siting law does not require local governments to regulate the siting of individual livestock facilities. This is a local decision. If a local government chooses to continue to regulate or begin to regulate the siting of livestock operations, the law limits how they can do this.
A local government has three basics options if they wish to regulate livestock operations:
- Control land use through zoning districts
- Issue permits for individual facilities, or
- Rely on ordinances unaffected by the siting law.
Control Through Zoning Districts
Local governments may use zoning ordinances to create districts that prohibit livestock facilities as a land use. However, they must follow special rules if they exclude livestock facilities in an agricultural zoning district.
Issue Individual Siting Permits
Local governments may require an individual permit to site a livestock facility. Local governments choosing to issue individual permits may do so as a conditional use under a zoning ordinance or as a licensing permit. Requiring permits through a zoning ordinance offers the most land use control; however, licensing may be a good option in towns that do not have zoning or in counties with a mix of zoned and unzoned towns. Towns must have village powers in order to adopt a licensing ordinance. Ordinances that require a siting permit must follow the requirements of the Livestock Facility Siting Law and Rule (s. 93.90 and ATCP 51).
Rely on Unaffected Laws
Some ordinances are not affected by the siting law such as shoreland and floodplain zoning, while others may be affected in certain cases, such as manure storage ordinances. Local governments may impose more stringent standards for local permits to protect public heath and safety. In cases where a proposed more stringent siting standard exceeds the water quality requirements in the state performance standards (NR 151 or ATCP 50), state approval is necessary prior to adoption of the more stringent standard.
The Wisconsin Counties Association, Wisconsin Towns Association and the department worked together to develop a model zoning ordinance and a model licensing ordinance.
Beginning May 1, 2006, local governments are mandated to follow state standards and procedures when they require individual permits. The siting law can be incorporated into a local ordinance at any time; however existing ordinances had to formally incorporate state siting standards by November 1, 2006 to be enforceable.
For tracking purposes local governments must submit to DATCP a copy of any new or modified ordinances that regulate siting as well as copies of decisions to grant or deny a permit application. Copies of applications for local permits, as well as notice regarding decisions on the applications must also be submitted to the department.
Local Ordinances Incorporating Wisconsin’s Livestock Facility Siting Law - Interactive Map
Use this interactive web map to identify if a local government has a zoning or licensing ordinance that requires a siting permit to expand or build a new livestock facility. The permit threshold and a local contact are provided.
For more information about how the Livestock Facility Siting Law and Rule affect local governments, please go to the Fact Sheet and Information page.