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June 1, 2011

MADISON - Waterfront property owners now have another year in which to complete a free, one-time registration if they have a larger pier that exceeds size standards set in 2004. The registration deadline has been extended to April 1, 2012, under a bill passed by the Legislature and signed May 27 by Gov. Scott Walker.

The vast majority of piers statewide do not need to be registered because they already fit the size standards that lawmakers established for piers to be exempt from state permitting processes, according to Martye Griffin, who coordinates the pier registration program for the Department of Natural Resources.

Exempt piers: are a maximum of 6 feet wide but can have a loading platform area up to 8 feet wide located on the water-ward end of the pier; don't interfere with neighbors or public boating and fishing; and have no more than two boat slips for the first 50 feet of shoreline frontage owned and an additional boat slip for every full 50 feet owned thereafter.

Lawmakers created the free, one-time registration process for piers that were first placed in the water before Feb. 6, 2004, to grandfather in most of the larger existing piers that exceeded the size standards. Having the pier registered protects property owners if neighbors or others complain about the pier's size in future years, allows DNR and local governments to know the larger pier is legal, and is helpful if there is an eventual property ownership transfer, Griffin says.

Now waterfront property owners have another season to learn if their pier qualifies to be grandfathered through registration, and to complete the process if it does. Only piers first placed in the water before February 2004 qualify for registration if they meet specific size criteria.

A very small number of large piers will not qualify to register but can be downsized by their owners to a size that qualifies for registration or must go through the individual permitting processes with no fee, Griffin says.

A downloadable registration form and other materials to complete the registration process are available on the pier registration page of the DNR website.

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Martye Griffin (608) 266-2997

Last Revised: Wednesday, June 01, 2011

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