Zoning Verification Letter and Issues


I am currently under contract with a park in Marathon City, WI.

The current zoning is MF-4, which allows for a special use permit for mobile home parks. Currently, the owner is applying annually for the permit. The town actually delayed it the past two years for outstanding maintenance issues (tenants complaining about park owned rented homes). To me, this seems more like a code enforcement thing.

However, the park was created in 1972, although it was more like 14 units - form the story I am getting. It has been added onto over the years. I am not sure what the zoning was at that time, or if there even has been along the way of the several expansions.

I talked with “they guy” from the town (its super small), and he was like “yes, we could non-renew at any point. However, the goal is not that. We withheld the conditional use permit twice in order to make the owner cleanup several homes” Regardless, them being able to shutdown the park a moments notice is insane.

Also, I asked if we were free to move in and out homes, which he said yes, as long as they meet the current setbacks. The current/actual pads do not meet the current zoning setbacks, and I don’t think they should.

I have went to a couple attorneys who were conflicted out. And the ones I have talked to, a bit on the shaky side.

In my opinion, I don’t want to be legal conforming. I want to be legal non-conforming. I want a letter that says that from the town and that I can move in new homes.

Any thoughts or advice.


I’d speak with the City Manager / Administrator about the situation and see if you get the right answer. Conditional use permits are a form of zoning and code enforcement, which I have not seen enforceable on a grandfathered property.

Unfortunately, this might come down to you providing the burden of proof that the land was an MHP prior to the zoning being in place, which will help your story about non-confirming. The burden of proof is always on the owner and not the government.

If you still get stonewalled then it’s time to speak to your attorney as the city zoning does not clarify how permitting is handled for non-conforming properties (required for everyone is not a reasonable policy). Find an attorney in a bigger city that specializes in the area if possible. These little towns have generalist attorneys and if they speak to your attorney specializing in the matter they will typically back down and sometimes update the zoning or code of enforcement as part of the lesson learned.

Keep us posted.