MADISON (WKOW)--Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signed a bill Wednesday that allows towns to challenge the takeover, or annexation, of land in court.
The new law is the result of a legal battle between the Township of Merrimac and the Village of Merrimac over a two million dollar home on Lake Wisconsin.
It was built in the Township, but when officials pointed out several permit violations, the owner appealed to the Village, which then annexed the property.
The previous law prevented the town from taking the case to court; the new law allows towns to take legal action to take back the land, and the house.
MADISON (WKOW) -- Governor Doyle signed SB-172 Tuesday, amending Wisconsin's annexation law as a result of the Town of Merrimac v. Village of Merrimac case.
In August of 2008, the village and township were battling over the rights to a huge lake house.
It was built in the Township of Merrimac. When the town pointed out several permit violations, the owner appealed to the village -- which then annexed the property.
Village officials say what they did is perfectly legal.
Township officials say it's not about the property tax money. They say their decision to fight for David Gerry's $2 million home on Lake Wisconsin is all about principle.
The property is separated from the rest of the village by a 25 foot strip of land that falls in the township. The village attorney says that's close enough. At the time, the state statute said the town could not challenge these types of annexations.
In an annexation request, David Gerry asked to tap into the village's water and sewer system. But because he's not connected to the village, the plumbing and pipes would have to cross that 25 foot strip of land.
Town officials estimated that services would cost $35,000 and would be paid by the home owner.
Township officials pushed for legislators to give a municipality right to appeal.
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