Zoning FAQ 12

May a zoning board rehear or reconsider a prior decision?

Yes, but not in all cases.

The Wisconsin court of appeals determined in 1983 that a zoning board should not reopen or reconsider a decision previously made except in cases involving mistake, public necessity or other good cause, such as a significant change in circumstances. Goldberg v. Milwaukee Bd. of Zoning Appeals, 115 Wis.2d 517, 340 N.W.2d 558 (Ct. App. 1983). Similarly, the court of appeals upheld a zoning board rule that prohibited a hearing, reconsideration, or new application seeking the same relief after a previous denial except in cases involving a substantial change of conditions or circumstances since the prior decision. Tateoka v. City of Waukesha Bd. of Zoning Appeals, 220 Wis.2d 656, 583 N.W.2d 871 (Ct. App. 1998). The court explained that the rule served a legitimate purpose because it promoted finality of zoning board decisions and avoided the inefficiency caused by revisiting issues where there has been no change in circumstances.