Mary Beth assists individuals, associations, businesses and local governments in matters relating to real estate, zoning and land use, property rights disputes and navigable waters law.
Mary Beth advises clients in real estate transactions and land use matters including resolution of boundary disputes, quiet title actions, public dedication, annexation, restrictive covenants, access and other easements, homeowner’s association and subdivision law, environmental permitting and county and municipal zoning proceedings including rezoning, conditional use permits and variances.
Mary Beth’s practice includes land use and real estate matters arising in connection with the siting and development of energy generation and transmission projects. She serves as counsel to Wisconsin electric distribution cooperatives in regulatory compliance, policy and governance matters and member relations, renewable energy procurement and contracting.
Mary Beth is also well-versed in all aspects of water law, including pier and waterway protection regulatory permitting, dam regulation and riparian rights and related navigable waters matters. She also represents several Wisconsin inland lake protection and rehabilitation districts in regulatory and governance matters.
Mary Beth has extensive experience litigating land use and water law disputes before state and local administrative bodies and in the circuit courts and courts of appeal in the State of Wisconsin.
Property / Zoning Law & Litigation
- Represents individuals, associations and local governments statewide in administrative proceedings for zoning approvals and challenges.
- Prosecutes and defends adverse possession claims and boundary disputes, including disputed easement rights and rights in publicly and privately dedicated lands.
- Represented northern Wisconsin lake association in zoning litigation resulting in negotiated settlement permanently protecting riparian lands from development.
Navigable Waters Law & Litigation
- Represents individuals and associations in resolving riparian rights disputes and regulatory matters including easements, riparian boundary disputes and pier rights.
- Litigated a challenge by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to private individuals’ title to lands surrounding a flowage lake created by a historic dam based on adverse possession.
- Advise lake protection and rehabilitation districts in governance, regulatory compliance and lake rehabilitation project development and financing.
- Lead counsel representing citizens in state and federal litigation to enforce Wisconsin’s public trust doctrine, resulting in a trial court judgment enjoining the sale of publicly-owned waterfront property for private, commercial use, in Friends v. City of Sturgeon Bay, Door County Case No. 16-CV-23.
- Represented Wisconsin’s largest inland lake protection and rehabilitation district in DNR proceedings and litigation spanning over a decade, including a successful Wisconsin Supreme Court appeal, leading to the modification of lake water levels to positively impact recreational activity, property values, tourism and other lake-related commerce and municipal tax revenues. Rock-Koshkonong Lake District v. Wisconsin DNR, Appeal No. 2008AP1523.
- Counseled numerous Wisconsin member-owned electric utilities in the development of community solar facilities and member subscription programs providing renewable energy credits to offset residential electric bills.
- Advise numerous member-owned electric utilities in governance, member relations, easement and right-of-way, regulatory, contracting and other general counsel matters.
- Successfully litigated commercial dispute between generation and transmission utility and general contractor based on defects in the provision of emissions control equipment.
- Negotiated State water quality certification under the Clean Water Act for large hydroelectric project in connection with FERC relicensing.
- University of Wisconsin Law School, J.D., 1996, cum laude
- Beloit College, B.S., 1989
- Wisconsin, 1997
- Wisconsin Supreme Court
- U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
- U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
- U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Wisconsin
News & Insights
Publications & Presentations
Author, “Riparian Rights in Wisconsin,” Wisconsin Lawyer, November 11, 2022
Presenter, “Capital Credit Update,” Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association, April 2022
Presenter, “Electric Service Agreements & Contracting Best Practices,” Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association, June 2021
Presenter, “Large Member Bankruptcies,” Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association, February 2020
Editor, State Bar of Wisconsin Judicial Benchbook, Zoning Chapter, 2019-present
Guest Lecturer, Riparian Rights, University of Wisconsin Law School Real Estate Transactions Course, 2017-2020
Presenter, 2019 Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention, Lake District Commissioner Advanced Training: Large Projects, April 2019
Presenter, Capital Credit administration—Common Questions and New Developments, February 2019
Presenter, 2018 Wisconsin Lakes Partnership Convention, Lake District Advanced Topics: Dams, April 2018
Presenter, Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association, Communications Lines in Cooperative Easements, April 2018
Author, “Legislature Enacts New Standards for Conditional Use Permits,” WisBar Inside Track, March 2018
Presenter, Riparian Rights and Access to Navigable Waters, State Bar of Wisconsin Presentation “Get Off My Lawn: Handling Property Disputes,” June 2016
Author, Conditional Use Permits: Strategies for Local Zoning Proceedings, 88:8 Wisconsin Lawyer, September 2015
Author, “Rock-Koshkonong Lake District v. DNR: Public Trust and Agency Discretion Principles Intact,” 87:3 Wisconsin Lawyer, March 2014
Presenter, Wisconsin Electric Cooperative Association, Net Metering and Community Solar Developments, March 2014