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The History Collection

Nolen, John, 1869-1937 / Madison : a model city (1911)


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[note 6]

  [p. 161]  


AN ACT to create sections 959-17a to 959-17j inclusive, of the statutes, relating to the creation and organization of a commission on the city plan in cities of the first, second and third classes, and to the acquisition of lands by such cities for certain public purposes.

The people of the State of Wisconsin, represented in senate and assembly, do enact as follows:

SECTION 1.    There is added to the statutes ten new sections to read:

Section 959-17a.    The common council of every city of the first, second and third classes may, by ordinance, provide for the creation of a commission on the city plan to consist of seven members whose organization, power, duties, and qualifications shall be as set forth in sections 959-17b to 959-17j inclusive.

Section 959-17b.    Such commission shall consist of the mayor, who shall be its presiding officer, the city engineer, the president of the park board, one member of the common council and three citizens. In case any such city shall be without a park board the mayor shall appoint four citizen members.

Section 959-17c.    Upon the adoption of an ordinance as provided in section 959-17a, the common council of any such city shall, by a two-thirds vote of its members, elect one of its number as a member of such commission, who shall serve as such member until the next ensuing first day of May; and during the month of April of each year, or whenever a vacancy shall occur, the council shall, by a like two-thirds vote, elect one of its number for a period of one year from and after the first day of May then ensuing, or to fill the unexpired term.

Section 959-17d.    Immediately upon the adoption of such ordinance, the mayor shall appoint three citizens, members of such commission, one citizen member to hold office for three years, one citizen member for two years and one citizen member for one year from the ensuing first day of May, and in case any city shall be without a park board, the mayor of such city shall appoint a fourth citizen member to hold office for one year from the ensuing first day of May or until such city shall establish a park board. In the month of April of each year thereafter, in which the terms of office of such citizen members respectively expire, the mayor shall appoint one citizen member of such commission for the period of three years from the first day of May next ensuing, and in case any city should be without a park board, one additional citizen member for a period of one year from the first day of May next ensuing, or until such city shall   [p. 162]   establish a park board. Whenever a vacancy shall occur in the term of any citizen member, the mayor shall appoint a citizen as a member to fill such unexpired term.

Section 959-17e.    No member of the common council or citizen shall be elected or appointed a member of such commission who shall be actively engaged in the purchasing or selling of real estate in such city, and all citizen members shall be persons of recognized experience and qualifications. Such members of the commission shall hold office until their respective successors are elected and qualified. No member of any such commission shall receive any compensation for his services as such member.

Section 959-17f.    The common council of any such city shall refer any question concerning the location and architectural design of any public building, the location of any statue or other memorial, the location, extension, widening, enlargement, ornamentation, and parking of any street, parkway, boulevard, park, playground, or other memorial or public grounds within any such city to such commission for its consideration and report before final action is taken thereon by such council. All plats or replats of any lands within the limits of such city or of any lands outside of and within one and one-half miles of the limits of such city shall be submitted to the commission of such city for its recommendation to the council before the same are approved by such council.

Section 959-17g.    The common council may refer to said commission the construction or carrying out of any public work not expressly within the province of other boards or commissions of said city, and may delegate to said commission all powers which the said council deems necessary to complete such work in all details.

Section 959-17h.    Said commission may make or cause to be made a map or maps of said city or any portion thereof, showing locations proposed by it for any new public building, statue, memorial grounds, street, parkway, boulevard, park, playgrounds, or any other public grounds and the grades thereof, and the street building and veranda lines thereof, and for any new square or park, or any changes by it deemed advisable in the present location of any public building, statue, memorial, grounds, street, parkway, boulevards, playgrounds, square or park, and may employ expert advice in the making of such map or maps.

Section 959-17i.    Any such city, acting through its commission, or otherwise, may acquire by gift, purchase, or condemnation any lands within its corporate limits, for establishing, laying   [p. 163]   out, widening, enlarging, extending and maintaining memorial grounds, streets, squares, parkways, boulevards, parks, playgrounds, sites for public buildings, and reservations in and about and along and leading to any or all of the same; and after the establishment, layout and completion of such improvements, may convey any such real estate thus acquired and not necessary for such improvements, with reservations concerning the future use and occupation of such real estate, so as to protect such public works and improvements, and their environs, and to preserve the view, appearance, light, air and usefulness of such public works, and to promote the public health and welfare.

Section 958-17j.    It is hereby declared and the acquisition and conveyance of lands for the purposes and as provided in the preceding section constitute a public use, and is for the public health and welfare.

SECTION 2.    All acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this act are hereby repealed.

SECTION 3.    This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage and publication. Approved May 19, 1909.

[note 6]

6 From city charter of Halifax, Nova Scotia, adopted 1907.



1. The council shall cause to be prepared, under the supervision of the city engineer, an official plan of the city, upon which shall be shown -

a. the lines of every existing street which has at any time heretofore been dedicated or conveyed to the city and accepted by resolution of the council, or laid out under the authority of any enactment;
b. the lines of every other street which has been opened and used by the public but has not been accepted by the city; and
c. the lines of any projected extension or alteration of any such street, or of any projected new street approved by the engineer.

2. For the purpose of making such plan, the engineer or any assistant or employee may enter upon any private property in the day time. 1896, c. 27, s. 13.

550.    Every such new street, and every such alteration or extension of any existing street, shall be laid out on such plan of   [p. 164]   such extent and dimensions as the city engineer determines; but no new street shall be laid out -

a. the width of which is less than sixty feet, or
b. which does not terminate at both extremities either on another street or at tidal water. 1896, c. 27, s. 14; 1899, c. 57, s. 3.

551.    On any such plan any property of the city shall be shewn.

1. When the plan or any portion thereof has been completed, the same shall be submitted to the council for confirmation .
2. Public notice of the completion of such plan or portion thereof (and in case of a portion, specifying what portion), and of the date of the meeting of the council at which it is proposed to confirm the same, shall be given by publication in at least two newspapers, published in the city, for not less than four weeks previous to the date appointed for the meeting. The notice shall also state that the plan may be inspected by any citizen at the office of the city engineer at any time during office hours up to the date so fixed, and that any citizen may attend at the meeting and be heard.
3. At such meeting, or if no quorum attends at the next meeting, or at any other meeting to which the hearing of the matter is adjourned, the council shall hear any objection to the plan, and may either confirm the same or alter or amend it in any particular.
4. In any provision of this act relating to such official plan, the expression "plan" shall include any such portion thereof, and the expressions "confirmation" and "confirmed" shall respectively include, "alteration or amendment" and "altered or amended." 1896, c. 27, s. 15; 1899, c. 57, s. 1.
1. Upon the completion and confirmation of such plan, the same, certified by the city engineer, shall be deposited in his own office, and a copy, so certified, in the registry of deeds for the county of Halifax.
2. The copy so filed in the registry of deeds may, for convenience, be divided into sheets. 1896, c. 27, s. 18.

554.    Upon such confirmation, the city engineer shall set up such bounds or monuments as he deems proper to mark the lines of every existing street shown on such plan, and a record of the date of setting up every such bound or monument, and the location and nature thereof, shall be kept by the city engineer. 1896, c. 27, s. 22.

555.    After any such confirmation, when any new street is opened, or any alteration or extension made to any existing   [p. 165]   street, the city engineer shall mark such street, alteration or extension on the plans filed in his office and in the registry of deeds, and shall set up such bounds or monuments as he deems necessary to mark the lines thereof. 1896, c. 27, s. 25.


1. When the plan has been so confirmed by the council, the same shall be binding and conclusive upon the city and the owner of any property affected, and upon every other person whomsoever, as to the location, dimensions and lines of any existing street shown thereon, and also that such street at the time of confirming the plan belonged to the city.

2. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the city at any future time from extending, widening, or otherwise altering any street shewn on such plan. 1896, c. 27, s. 16 (part).
1. After the confirmation of such plan, no person shall open or lay out any street or make any extension of an existing street, not shewn thereon, without the consent of the council. Before such consent is given, the person applying for permission to open the street shall furnish to the city engineer a correct plan of the proposed street on a scale of thirty feet to the inch, and the engineer shall certify that the proposed street conforms to the requirements of law and is in other respects satisfactory.
2. Every person who contravenes this section shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding four hundred dollars, and in default of payment, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months.
3. In any prosecution or other proceeding for a contravention of this section, the sale, or agreement for a sale, by any person of a lot of land purporting to be located or bounded upon a street not existing, or not shewn upon such plan, shall be evidence of opening or laying out a street in contravention of this section by such person. 1896, c. 27, s. 19.
1. After the confirmation of any such plan, no person shall place upon any land shewn by such plan to be required for any new street or any alteration or extension of an existing street, any building, or any addition or improvement to any building other than necessary repairs.
2. If any such building, addition or improvement is so placed, the same shall be deemed a nuisance, and the city solicitor shall forthwith take proceedings by action in the name of the city to compel the removal of the same.
3. In the event of such new street being opened or alteration or extension made, no damage or compensation shall be allowed in respect to any building, addition or improvement so placed. 1896, c. 27, ss. 16 (part), 23.

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