Wis. Admin. Code Department of Transportation § Trans 233.08 - Setback requirements and restrictions

(1) Except as provided in this section or in s. Trans 233.11 or, with respect to connecting highways, as provided in s. 86.16(1), Stats., no person may erect, install or maintain any structure or improvement within a setback area determined under sub. (2) or (3).
(2)
(a) Except as provided in par. (b), the setback area is the area within 110 feet of the centerline of a state trunk highway or connecting highway or within 50 feet of the nearer right-of-way line of a state trunk highway or connecting highway, whichever is furthest from the centerline.
(b) If an applicable ordinance allows structures or improvements to be located closer to the right-of-way of a state trunk highway or connecting highway than is provided under par. (a), the setback area is the area between the right-of-way and the more restrictive of the following:
1. The distance allowed under the ordinance.
2. 42 feet from the nearer right-of-way line.
3. 100 feet from the centerline.
(c) At least once every 2 years, the department shall produce general reference maps that generally identify major intersections and the highways specified in subds. 1. to 5. The department may reduce or extend, by not more than 3 miles along the highway, the area subject to a setback established under par. (a) or (b) to establish logical continuity of a setback area or to terminate the setback area at a readily identifiable physical feature or legal boundary, including a highway or property boundary. Persons may seek special exceptions to the setback requirement applicable to these major intersections and highways, as provided in s. Trans 233.11(3). The setback area established under par. (a) or (b) applies only to major intersections and to highways identified as:
1. State trunk highways and connecting highways that are part of the national highway system and approved by the federal government in accordance with 23 USC 103(b) and 23 CFR 470.107(b).
2. State trunk highways and connecting highways that are functionally classified as principal arterials in accordance with procedure 4-1-15 of the department's facilities development manual dated July 2, 1979.
3. State trunk highways and connecting highways within incorporated areas, within an unincorporated area within 3 miles of the corporate limits of a first, second or third class city, or within an unincorporated area within 1½ miles of a fourth class city or a village.
4. State trunk highways and connecting highways with average daily traffic of 5,000 or more.
5. State trunk highways and connecting highways with current and forecasted congestion projected to be worse than level of service "C," as determined under s. Trans 210.05(1), within the following 20 years.

Note: The National Highway System (NHS) includes the Interstate System, Wisconsin's Corridors 2020 routes, and other important routes. Highways on the NHS base system were designated by the Secretary of USDOT and approved by Congress in the National Highway System Designation Act of 1995. NHS Intermodal Connector routes were added in 1998 with the enactment of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century. Modifications to the NHS must be approved by the Secretary of USDOT. Guidance criteria and procedures for the functional classification of highways are provided in (1) the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) publication 'Highway Functional Classification-Concepts, Criteria and Procedures" revised in March 1989, and (2) former ch. Trans 76. The federal publication is available on request from the FHWA, Office of Environment and Planning, HEP-10, 400 Seventh Street, SW., Washington, DC 20590. Former ch. Trans 76 is available from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, Division of Transportation Investment Management, Bureau of Planning. The results of the functional classification are mapped and submitted to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for approval and when approved serve as the official record for Federal-aid highways and one basis for designation of the National Highway System. In general, the highway functional classifications are rural or urban: Principal Arterials, Minor Arterials, Major Collectors, Minor Collectors, and Local Roads. The definition of "level of service" used for this paragraph is the same as in ss. Trans 210.03(4) and 210.05(1) for purposes of the MAJOR HIGHWAY PROJECT NUMERICAL EVALUATION PROCESS. In general, the "level of service" refers to the ability of the facility to satisfy both existing and future travel demand. Six levels of service are defined for each type of highway facility ranging from A to F, with level of service A representing the best operating conditions and level of service F the worst. Department engineers will use the procedures outlined in the general design consideration guidelines in Chapter 11 , Section 5 of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation's Facilities Development Manual to determine the level of highway service. Under the rule as effective February 1, 1999, s. Trans 233.08(1) provides 4 ways to erect something in a setback area (1) for utilities, follow the procedures set forth in the rule, (2) obtain a variance (now "special exception"), (3) for utilities, get local approval for utilities on or adjacent to connecting highways, or for utilities within the right of way of state trunk highways, get department approval (a mere "technical" exception), and (4) erect something that doesn't fall within the definition of "structure" or within the definition of "improvement." The provision below now adds a fifth "exception," (5) be 15 feet or more outside the right of way line of a defined and mapped set of highways.

(d) In addition to producing general reference maps at least once every 2 years that identify highways and intersections under par. (c), at least every 2 years the department shall also produce more detailed reference maps suitable for use in the geographic area of each district office.
(3) If any portion of a service road right-of-way lies within the setback area determined under sub. (2), the setback area shall be increased by the lesser of the following:
(a) The width of the service road right-of-way, if the entire service road right-of-way lies within the setback area. Any increase under this paragraph shall be measured from the boundary of the setback area determined under sub. (2).
(b) The distance by which the service road right-of-way lies within the setback area, if the entire service road right-of-way does not lie within the setback area. Any increase under this paragraph shall be measured from the nearer right-of-way line of the service road.

Note: For example, if a service road ROW extends 15 feet (measured perpendicularly to the setback) into the setback determined under sub. (2), and runs for a distance of 100 feet, the setback determined under sub. (2) shall be pushed 15 feet further from the centerline, running for a distance of 100 feet. See Graphic.

See Image

(3m)
(a) Notwithstanding sub. (1), a public utility may erect, install or maintain a utility facility within a setback area.
(b) If the department acquires land that is within a setback area for a state trunk highway, as provided by this chapter, and on which a utility facility is located, the department is not required to pay compensation or other damages relating to the utility facility, unless the utility facility is any of the following:
1. Erected or installed before the land division map is recorded.
2. Erected or installed on a recorded utility easement that was acquired prior to February 1, 1999.
3. Erected or installed after the land division map is recorded but with prior notice in writing, with a plan showing the nature and distance of the work from the nearest right-of-way line of the highway, to the department's appropriate district office within a normal time of 30 days, but no less than 5 days, before any routine, minor utility erection or installation work commences, nor less than 60 days, before any major utility erection or installation work commences, if any utility work is within the setback.

Note: For purposes of this section, "major utility erection or installation work" includes, but is not limited to, work involving transmission towers, communication towers, water towers, pumping stations, lift stations, regulator pits, remote switching cabinets, pipelines, electrical substations, wells, gas substations, antennae, satellite dishes, treatment facilities, electrical transmission lines and facilities of similar magnitude. "Routine minor utility erection or installation work" refers to single residential distribution facilities and similar inexpensive work of less magnitude. The concept behind the flexible, "normal time of 30 days" standard for utility submission of notice and plans to the department is to encourage and require at least 60 days notice from utilities for larger, complex or expensive installations, but not for routine, minor utility work that has traditionally involved only a few days notice for coordination and issuance of utility permits by the department for which a minimum of 5 days notice is mandatory. However, the normal time for submission and review is 30 days. This notice and plan requirement does not apply to maintenance work on existing utilities.

4. Erected or installed before the land division map is recorded but modified after that date in a manner that increases the cost to remove or relocate the utility facility. In such a case, the department shall pay compensation or other damages related to the utility facility as it existed on the date the land division map was recorded, except that if the modification was made with prior notice in writing, with a plan showing the nature and distance of the work from the nearest right-of-way line of the highway, to the department's appropriate district office within a normal time of 30 days, but no less than 5 days, before any routine, minor utility erection or installation work commences, nor less than 60 days, before any major utility erection or installation work commences, if any utility work is within the setback, then the department shall pay compensation or other damages related to the utility facility as modified.
(c) If a local unit of government or the department acquires land that is within a setback area for a connecting highway as provided by this chapter and on which a utility facility is located, the department is not required to pay compensation or other damages relating to the utility facility, unless the utility facility is compensable under the applicable local setbacks and the utility facility is in any of the categories described in par. (b) 1. to 4.

Note: A "connecting highway" is not a state trunk highway. It is a marked route of the state trunk highway system over the streets and highways in municipalities which the Department has designated as connecting highways. Municipalities have jurisdiction over connecting highways and are responsible for their maintenance and traffic control. The Department is generally responsible for construction and reconstruction of the through lanes of connecting highways, but costs for parking lanes and related municipal facilities and other desired local improvements are local responsibilities. See ss. 84.02(11), 84.03(10), 86.32(1) and (4), and 340.01(60), Stats. A listing of connecting highways and geographic end points are available in the department's "Official State Trunk Highway System and the Connecting Highways" booklet that is published annually as of December 31.

(d) The department shall review the notice and plan to determine whether a planned highway project within a 6-year improvement program under s. 84.01(17), Stats., or a planned major highway project enumerated under s. 84.013(3), Stats., will conflict with the planned utility facility work. If the department determines a conflict exists, it will notify the utility in writing within a normal time of 30 days, but no more than 5 days, after receiving the written notice and plan for any routine, minor utility erection or installation work, nor more than 60 days, after receiving the written notice and plan for any major utility erection or installation work, and request the utility to consider alternative locations that will not conflict with the planned highway work. The department and utility may also enter into a cooperative agreement to jointly acquire, develop and maintain rights of way to be used jointly by WISDOT and the public utility in the future as authorized by s. 84.093, Stats. If the department and utility are not able to make arrangements to avoid or mitigate the conflict, the utility may proceed with the utility work, but notwithstanding pars. (b) and (c), the department may not pay compensation or other damages relating to the utility facility if it conflicts with the planned highway project. In order to avoid payment of compensation or other damages to the utility, the department is required to record a copy of its written notice to the utility of the conflict, that adequately describes the property and utility work involved, with the register of deeds in the county in which the utility work or any part of it is located.

Note: The Department will make the general and detailed maps readily available to the public on the internet and through other effective means of distribution.

(3n) Any person may erect, install or maintain any structure or improvement at 15 feet and beyond from the nearer right-of-way line of any state trunk highway or connecting highway not identified in s. Trans 233.08(2) (c). Any person may request a special exception to the setback requirement established under this subsection, as provided in s. Trans 233.11(3). This subsection does not apply to major intersections or within the desirable stopping sight distance, as determined under procedure 11-10-5 of the department's facilities development manual dated June 10, 1998, of the intersection of any state trunk highway or connecting highway with another state trunk highway or connecting highway. This subsection does not supersede more restrictive requirements imposed by valid applicable local ordinances.

Note: Technical figures 2, 3, 3m, 4, 4m, 5, 6 and 6m within Procedure 11-10-5 have various dates other than June 10, 1998 or are undated.

(4) The land division map shall show the boundary of a setback area on the face of the land division map and shall clearly label the boundary as a highway setback line and shall clearly show existing structures and improvements lying within the setback area.
(5) The owner shall place the following restriction upon the same sheet of the land division map that shows the highway setback line:

"No improvements or structures are allowed between the right-of-way line and the highway setback line. Improvements and structures include, but are not limited to, signs, parking areas, driveways, wells, septic systems, drainage facilities, buildings and retaining walls. It is expressly intended that this restriction is for the benefit of the public as provided in section 236.293, Wisconsin Statutes, and shall be enforceable by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation or its assigns. Contact the Wisconsin Department of Transportation for more information. The phone number may be obtained by contacting the County Highway Department."

If on a CSM there is limited space for the above restriction on the same sheet that shows the setback line, then the following abbreviated restriction may be used with the standard restriction placed on a subsequent page: "Caution - Highway Setback Restrictions Prohibit Improvements. See sheet ______."

Notes

Wis. Admin. Code Department of Transportation § Trans 233.08
Cr. Register, January, 1999, No. 517, eff. 2-1-99; cr. (2) (c), (d) and (3n), Register, January, 2001, No. 541, eff. 2-1-01.

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