Judge acknowledged Village’s “procedural violations” and ordered the process to be followed

The News: A Door County judge has sided with the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) and Attorney Bjorn Johnson and issued a temporary injunction against the Village of Sister Bay. The injunction will allow Captains Cottage LLC to resume short term rentals while the Village considers their appeal. 

The Quotes: WILL Deputy Counsel, Luke Berg, stated, “This win for our clients allows them to continue to rent their property while they pursue an appeal to the Village Board. As the judge noted, the Village did not follow their own procedures or state law, which guarantees a right to review of a license denial. We hope the Village Board will correct the unlawful denial and grant the Whites their short-term-rental license.” 

WILL Client, Brigid White, and an owner of Captains Cottage, stated, “We welcome the opportunity to make our case to the Village Board so that we can continue to rent out our beautiful cottage. We are grateful for the legal expertise and help we have received from WILL and Mr. Johnson.” 

Additional Background: WILL and Attorney Bjorn Johnson have filed a lawsuit against the Village of Sister Bay on behalf of their clients Captains Cottage LLC, a short-term rental in the Village for unlawfully refusing to issue Captains Cottage a permit to rent the property. As a result of the Village’s actions, Captains Cottage was forced to cancel all their reservations starting July 1, causing a substantial loss of income. 

Wisconsin law gives homeowners the right to rent their home on a short-term basis. Wis. Stat. § 66.1014. Property owners also have a right under Wisconsin law to continue a non-conforming use after a change to local zoning laws, preventing municipalities from retroactively applying zoning changes to existing properties. The Village of Sister Bay also violated the plain procedural rights of our clients by rejecting their attempt to appeal, allegedly for failing to pay a fee that didn’t exist. The judge has ordered the Village to follow its appeal procedures and administrative review procedures under state law. 

About Captains Cottage: The cottage is owned by Adam and Brigid White and sleeps as many as 10 and is in Sister Bay, Wisconsin.  

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