An Analysis of Minimum Frontage Zoning to Preserve Lakefront Amenities

Fiorenza Spalatro and Bill Provencher


The development of lakefront property in northern Wisconsin has prompted, in several towns, minimum frontage zoning stricter than the state standard. Such zoning generates an economic loss by constraining development (development effect), and an economic gain by preserving environmental amenities (amenity effect). Estimation of a hedonic price function for lakefront property in northern Wisconsin quantifies these competing effects. The estimation indicates that at the current margin the economic loss from the development effect is negligible, and the economic gain from the amenity effect may be considerable, raising frontage prices by an average of 21.5%. (JEL Q25, R52)

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