So I finally did it. I never thought in my life I would have a real need to ever hire an attorney, but I do now! In addition to researching the Wisconsin State regulations to learn them for myself, I searched the internet for hours (from California) and asked for references from anyone I could think of to find an attorney in Wisconsin that specializes in land use, zoning, and municipal law. I figured if we were going to spend the money, we might as well go big and hire the best firm we could find. After talking to a few of the best around, we landed on a team of three attorneys from DeWitt, Ross, and Stevens. They came recommended by the architect we like.
After talking with them, they confirmed what I was afraid of – if a judge heard the case, we would more than likely win, but all that would come of it is the judge ordering another hearing on the same issues, with the same Board of Appeals. The BOA members would still not be able to read a map or understand their Ordinances. If heard a second time, the BOA would have an attorney on hand, actually hold the meeting correctly, and come up with “valid” reasons for denying the variations. Unfortunately, we would be out a lot of cash and be right back were we started. The attorneys we hired had an alternative proposed game plan that we work with the DNR first, then go to the Village (if the DNR can work out an acceptable project with us). That sounded good to us, so we signed the agreement and sent in the retainer today.