The keeping of chickens, cattle or goats, swine including pot belly pigs, and snakes that are poisonous or in excess of 10 feet in length within the city limits are forbidden. To view Chapter 6.12 [PDF] of the Code for more information on keeping certain animals.
Is it legal for a person to go through the trash receptacles of others?
A person is not allowed to go through another person’s trash in a dumpster or bin on either public or private property. Without permission of the property owner this is trespassing.
When relating to receptacles by the curb, a person can ask/tell another person not to do so, however, the City does not have an ordinance prohibiting the collection of recyclables from garbage receptacles that are on the curb. If any behaviors are a concern beyond just the collection of recyclables such as aluminum cans, a person may contact the police department at 715-839-4975.
Can I bow hunt in the city limits of Eau Claire?
Yes. The City Council approved an ordinance allowing bow hunting within certain areas of the city. View answers to your frequently asked questions, and more informational links and documents including the ordinance relating to bow hunting.
Can I operate my ATV or electric bicycle on the sidewalk?
View chart that displays information on different forms of transportation and guidelines [PDF] on where a person can legally operate that type of vehicle.
Can I operate a business out of my home?
Yes. View Conditional Use Permit application and information required in order to get approval for your business. You may also contact the Planning and Development Department at 715-839-4914.
Can I raise honey bees in Eau Claire?
Yes. The Code of Ordinance, Chapter 6.14, indicates that the keeping of honey bees is allowed in the City. A license application along with additional information and best practices for beekeeping can be found on the licensing page.
I am having a dispute with my landlord. Can you help me?
Generally, the City Attorney's office cannot provide assistance in landlord/tenant disputes. Exceptions include cases where a tenant absconds without payment of rent, or where either the landlord or tenant is accused of housing code violations. You may want to contact the Consumer Protection Bureau with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection at 1-800-422-7128 for information on landlord/tenant rights and obligations. They may also be able to provide assistance in resolving disputes. Also, Try Mediation, located at the Courthouse, 721 Oxford Avenue, 715-839-6295, may be able to provide assistance to you to remedy disputes.
If the matter involves a housing code violation, e.g., failure to repair a furnace, you should contact the Eau Claire City-County Health Department at 715-839-4718.
Where can I find the Concealed Carry Ordinance and signs to post at my establishment?
With changes in the state law through the adoption of 2011 Act 35, possession of firearms and concealed weapons is no longer statutorily prohibited in City Hall and other municipal buildings as of November 1, 2011.
The City Council recently passed the Concealed Carry Ordinance, which prohibits weapons in certain City buildings and requires establishments serving alcohol to notify customers of the prohibition against consuming alcohol while carrying a concealed weapon.
Can I serve wine/beer at my business to the public for a grand opening, ladies night out, anniversary, etc?
Businesses that are open to the public and have no appropriate alcohol license cannot sell or give away or provide tastings of alcohol, including beer, wine, or spirits, to the public.
An alcohol license is required to serve alcohol beverages. Wis. Stat. s. 125.04(1) states that no person (person includes individuals, corporations, LLC’s, etc.) may sell or engage in any other activity for which this chapter provides a license without holding the appropriate license. The City of Eau Claire forfeiture for violation of this statutory provision is $452.50. The penalty under state law is a forfeiture of up to $10,000, nine months in jail, or both (Wis. Stat. s. 125.04 (13)).
If a business does not have an alcohol license, alcohol beverages cannot be sold or given away. Wis. Stat. s. 125.09(1) prohibits “consumption” of alcohol in unlicensed public places. For example, a business at an unlicensed premise cannot have an open house, grand opening, or event that caters to the general public and serves alcohol.
Any charge made directly or indirectly for the alcohol beverage requires the person in charge to hold the appropriate license. The term “sale” is broadly defined. “Sale” is a transfer with consideration or transfer without consideration, if made to evade law, or any shift, device, scheme, or transaction for obtaining an alcoholic beverage (Wis. Stat. s. 125.02(20)).
Examples of indirect charges include, but are not limited to, a ticket price including an alcohol beverage, cost of a meal including an alcohol beverage, a purchase of a service with a “free” alcohol beverage, or a donation required in order to consume an alcohol beverage.
Wis. Stat. s. 125.315 prohibits the “giving” of fermented malt beverages to evade law (i.e., businesses such as credit unions, barbershops, salons, etc., giving away beer to customers without a fermented malt beverage license). Wine and spirits also cannot be given away in the same manner under Wis. Stat. s. 125.67. Again, the penalty under state law is a forfeiture of up to $10,000, 9 months in jail, or both (Wis. Stat. s. 125.66).
For more information on alcohol licensing and local applications and deadlines, see the Wisconsin Department of Revenue website (www.dor.state.wi.us) and the City of Eau Claire website (www.eauclairewi.gov).
I need some personal legal advice. Can I get it from your office?
No. The City Attorney’s office only handles legal matters for the Eau Claire city government. A free legal clinic, sponsored by the Eau Claire Co. Bar Assn., is available to the public every 3rd Wednesday of the month from 6:30 and 8:00 p.m. at the public library. There is also a “Legal Referral and Information” number to call at the State Bar of Wisconsin - 608-422-7128. If you have little money, you may qualify for a public defender in a criminal matter. Their number is 715-836-2006.
My organization would like to sponsor a raffle. How do I go about this?
Raffles are governed by the Wisconsin Division of Gaming at (608) 270-2555.
How do I file a small claims action?
If the action arose in Eau Claire County, you file with the Eau Claire Clerk of Courts. For filing fees and related information contact the Clerk of Court’s office at 715-839-4816. The Clerk can answer questions related to filing a claim, but the drafting and prosecution of the claim is a private legal matter for you to review with a private attorney.
Can you tell me if a certain business in the city is licensed?
Not every business that operates in the city is licensed by the City. The City licenses taverns, restaurants, taxicab drivers, tree trimmers, and direct sellers, to name a few. The state licenses other businesses. Please ask for the licensing specialist at 715-839-4923 if you have a question about whether a business needs a City license. If you have a problem with a particular business, contact the Better Business Bureau at 1-800-273-1002.
I have a new business I want to promote by distributing leaflets. Can I do this?
If you’re going door-to-door, first know that you cannot place leaflets in mailboxes or on cars parked on city streets. You must get permission from the property owner before you leaflet vehicles in store or mall parking lots. And be concerned about littering, either by the wind or those receiving the leaflets, because you could be cited for it.
My landlord won't return my security deposit. What should I do?
The City does not handle private lease issues between landlords and tenants. Contact the State Consumer Protection office at 1-800-422-7128 for advice.
My neighbor is building a new home and the construction crew starts at 6:00 A.M. Is that okay?
The City has a policy that limits construction work to the hours between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. If you have problems, call our Code Compliance Inspector at 715-839-4947.
My neighbor's tree hangs over my lot line and drops leaves in my yard. Can I cut the branch down?
This is a civil matter for you and your neighbor to work through. The City Attorney’s office cannot become involved.
I want to contest a citation and talk to the City Attorney's Office about it. How can I do this?
You must enter a not guilty plea. You can do this either by appearing in court on your initial appearance date as noted on your citation, by writing a letter to the Clerk of Courts office or by completing a not guilty form [PDF] and providing it to the Clerk of Courts Office at the courthouse. See more information [PDF] provided by the Clerk of Courts office on traffic citations.
I want to check on a court date. How do I do that?
It depends on the status of your citation. If you have access to the internet you can obtain information online at the Wisconsin Court System Circuit Court Access site at https://wcca.wicourts.gov. You may also check with the Clerk of Courts at 715-839-4816 or the Court Officer at 715-839-4985.
I need to speak with the District Attorney. Is this the right office?
The District Attorney is a county office. Their phone number is 715-839-4828.
I have a neighbor who is regularly causing a considerable amount of noise. What can I do?
The City of Eau Claire does have a noise ordinance Section 9.56.070 [PDF] which prohibits unreasonable noises which tend to cause or provoke a disturbance. Also, there is a policy which limits most construction activity near residential areas causing noise between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. If you encounter such a problem, contact the Eau Claire Police Department at 839-4972.
How early can refuse haulers begin collecting garbage?
5:00 a.m. For additional regulations concerning refuse collection, contact the Eau Claire City-County Health Department at 839-4718.