The Blueprint: DNR Holds Webinar to Provide Guidance on Recently Passed Wetland Law

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ALSO: Sign up Today to Host or Attend the Fundraiser for Gov. Walker on 7/18 • Member Review Also Needed for DNR Guidance Documents on Wetlands • From DSPS: Update on Electrical Code Effective Dates • From NAHB: Major Victory for NAHB and Builder in Clean Water Act Court Case


DNR Holds Webinar to Provide Guidance on Recently Passed Wetland Law

 Summary of Recently Passed Housing & Development Bill Now Available

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recently held a webinar to provide additional guidance on 2017 Wisconsin Act 183 which makes significant changes to the way state wetlands are regulated in Wisconsin.  Provision related to 2017 Wisconsin Act 183 went into effect on July 1, 2018.

"Exemptions apply to certain types of nonfederal and artificial wetlands, but it can be challenging to determine the type of wetland you're dealing with," said Robert Rosenberger, Watershed Management Deputy Program director.

Before placing fill material in nonfederal or artificial wetlands, Act 183 requires stakeholders to notify the DNR to confirm eligibility. One exemption is for "artificial wetlands," which are those that have no wetland or stream history prior to August 1, 1991 and have been modified by human activity that changed the landscape. There are many qualified professionals that can assist stakeholders in determining if a wetland is potentially an artificial wetland. DNR also offers a wetland identification service that can also assist with this determination. More information about the artificial wetland exemption can be found by searching the DNR website, dnr.wi.gov, for "wetland identification." 

The other exemption is for "nonfederal wetlands," which are those that are not subject to federal oversight. The Army Corps of Engineers is the only government entity that can determine if a wetland falls under federal jurisdiction. For this reason, the corps will be an integral partner to determining eligibility for nonfederal wetland exemptions.

Additional information on wetlands and for the link to the wetlands webinar (see box in upper right side with yellow header) click here.


Sign Up Today to Host or Attend the Fundraiser for Governor Walker 7/18

Time is running out to sign up as a member of the host committee or to attend the event WBA is having for Governor Scott Walker after our board of directors meeting on Wednesday, July 18.

We have host levels available at $5000, $2500, $1000, and $500, and we need your help today as a host to raise $20,000 or more for Governor Walker’s reelection effort.

Governor Walker’s campaign has indicated that any host committee member that commits to a $1000 or above host level will have an opportunity to have a professional picture taken at the start of the event with Governor Walker as a thank-you for your financial generosity.

The cost for general admission to the event is $100 per person.

Sponsorships or general admission attendance can be paid with a personal credit card via the Builders Direct Fund, or by check, invoicing, or credit card over the phone at (608) 242-5151, extension 16.

With Governor Walker’s leadership since 2011, the WBA has been able to achieve great things to make housing for Wisconsin families more affordable, and this is a great opportunity to help support him with an eye towards November 2018.

Even if you are not able to attend this event, we would ask you to consider a donation of any size to help Governor Walker’s reelection effort.

Again, any donation to Governor Walker can be made with one click using the WBA Builders Direct Fund conduit, using a personal credit card and simply adding “Contribution to Governor Scott Walker” in the “Special Instructions” section.

Please consider a donation today!


Member Review Also Needed for DNR Guidance Documents on Wetlands

In conjunction with 2017 Wisconsin Act 183, the DNR has also issued a draft guidance document to help implement this new law change.  Before this guidance goes into effect, the WBA is asking developers, builders, and associate members who consult on development issues to please take some time to review the draft document and provide comments to both the DNR and WBA (pro or con) on the guidance.  DNR will be taking comments on this guidance document until the close of business on July 20, 2018.

The DNR is also asking for comments on a new draft document to provide guidance on a revised statewide general permit (GP) “for wetland impacts up to 10,000 square feet in size for the purpose of building, reconstructing, or maintaining a recreational structure or facility.”  The GP was originally issued on July 19, 2013.  The DNR comment period for this guidance document will conclude at close of business on July 11, 2018.

For more information and to see the drafts of both guidance documents please click here and see the red box titled “Public comment opportunities”. 


From DSPS: Update on Electrical Code Effective Dates

Attention Electricians, Building Officials and Contractors

The Department of Safety and Professional Services (Department) - Division of Industry Services wishes to update you on the status of the SPS 316 Electrical Code Package (CR 16-093). The proposed code package has been adopted and published. The new SPS 316 can be viewed here

Here is a timeline of effective dates related to several parts of the code update:

  • August 1, 2018: 2017 NEC adopted for commercial structures. 
  • August 1, 2018: DSPS can begin accepting applications for registration as an electrical inspection agency. More information can be found here.
  • March 1, 2019: Only registered inspection agencies may provide plan review, permit issuance, or inspections. 
  • January 1, 2020: 2017 NEC adopted for one- and two- family dwellings. “One− and two− family dwellings” means any buildings that contain one or two dwelling units the construction of which commenced on or after December 1, 1978 per SPS 316.006(7). Effective August 1, 2018 the 2017 NEC will apply to any building that does not meet the definition of “one and two- family dwellings”.
  • January 1, 2020: statewide requirements for permits and inspections go into effect.

Important Note for Municipalities: Municipalities may exercise jurisdiction over the inspection of electrical wiring installations at farms, public buildings, places of employment, campgrounds, manufactured home communities, public marinas, piers, docks, or wharves and recreational vehicle parks provided the municipality complies with all of the following listed in SPS 316.011(1). Any municipality that wishes to exercise jurisdiction over the inspection of electrical wiring installations as described in SPS 316.011(1)(a) must register with the Department as an electrical inspection agency even if they are currently exercising jurisdiction as allowed under Subchapter V of SPS 316. In municipalities not exercising jurisdiction under SPS 316.011(1), the department shall provide permit and inspection services for the installation of electrical wiring on farms and in public buildings, places of employment, campgrounds, manufactured home communities, public marinas, piers, docks, or wharves and recreational vehicle parks.

Questions regarding the code update can be sent to DSPSSBElectrictech@wi.gov


From NAHB: Major Victory for NAHB and Builder in Clean Water Act Court Case

On June 26, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit sided with an NAHB member engaged in a decade-long legal battle in a case supported by NAHB’s Legal Action Fund – Orchard Hill Building Company v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The case concerned 13 acres of wetlands owned by Orchard Hill Building Company. Orchard Hill sought a jurisdictional determination as to whether it would need a Clean Water Act section 404 permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to develop these acres. The Corps found that the acres fell under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act.

Orchard Hill disagreed with the Corps’ determination and over a 10-year period fought through the Corps’ internal appeals process. During this time, Orchard Hill’s efforts were buoyed by several court cases.

Orchard Hill finally got its day in court when the U.S. Supreme Court found in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers v. Hawkes that jurisdictional determinations are judicially reviewable. Ultimately, the Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of Orchard Hill, holding that the Corps had failed to prove the wetlands at issue had a significant nexus to any truly navigable water.

NAHB aided Orchard Hill in two distinct ways: First, it provided Orchard Hill with a $10,000 Legal Action Fund grant in 2016. Second, NAHB was involved in every court case that kept Orchard Hill’s claims alive over their decade-long battle.

NAHB’s proactive Litigation and Amicus Brief program allows NAHB to bring lawsuits and submit amicus briefs on siginificant issues that impact NAHB members. Through this program, NAHB aided Orchard Hill by litigating in cases that clarified the bounds of the Clean Water Act, vacated a rule that curtailed the use of the “prior converted croplands” exemption from the wetlands permitting program, and required jurisdictional determinations to be judicially reviewable.

The NAHB Legal Action Committee’s Legal Action Fund is available to NAHB members and HBAs with litigation that implicates a national policy issue or a state or local problem that is common to the housing industry.

For more information about Orchard Hill’s victory, please contact Tom Ward. For more information about the Legal Action Fund, contact Lavon Roxbury.


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