Zoning Code | Frequently Asked Questions

Accessory Structures and Uses
Is there a requirement regulating size the size of detached garages?

Yes. In most of the residential zoning districts there is a limitation on the size of a detached garage. See S.135 of the zoning code for additional details. 

Can I build a fence?

As a general rule, most properties are able to have a fence. The height of fences are regulated, along with where a fence may be located. A zoning permit is generally required. If you live in a residential subdivision, covenants may also restrict fences. See S.135-15 for additional information about fences.

Can I build a garage?

A garage is generally only allowed on a lot if the principal structure (e.g., house) is present or under construction. Garages are limited in size by both the zoning district and size of the lot on which it is located. Check the zoning code (S.135) for specific details on garage sizes in each zoning district.

Can I have a camper on my property?

Yes. Regulations on where it can be parked are found in S.135-207. It cannot be rented out while it sits on your property. 

Can I have a guesthouse on my property? What about an in-law unit?

No. The zoning code does not allow either a guest house or an in-law unit.

Do I need a permit to build a pool?

Yes, regulations regarding building permits can be found in S.135-245. Additional information about pools, hot tubs and spas can be found in S.135-16.

Do I need a permit to operate a home occupation from my residential property?

There are regulations governing home occupations in the zoning code, S.135-247

Is there a requirement regulating size the size of detached garages?

 Yes. In most of the residential zoning districts there is a limitation on the size of a detached garage. Check your specific zoning district in the zoning code for additional details.

What is the difference between a principal building and an accessory building?

A principal building houses the principal land use of the lot on which it is located. An accessory building is subordinate in size and use to the principal use of the property. A house in a single-family zoning district, for example, is the principal building and a yard shed is an accessory building. Definitions for both of these terms are found in S.135-8 of the zoning code and are posted on the Definitions page.

What kind of projects require a zoning permit?

A zoning permit is needed when any structure is erected, relocated, or altered or when a new type of land use is established on a property. For example, fences, sheds, swimming pools, building additions, driveways, and decks all require a zoning permit. If you are unsure, please contact the town staff.

What types of land uses are allowed on my property?

S.135 (Zoning Code) of the town code establishes various land use districts and lists what land uses are allowed in each. This information is included in the Interactive Map. Find your parcel and click on the map or select the zoning district from the menu. The land uses allowed in that district will be displayed in the menu.

Animals
Are there any rules at the local level that regulate dog breeding and sales?

Yes, Animal Breeding is restricted to LI - Light Industrial and HI - High Industrial. Additionally, the state regulates the breeding of dogs. You can obtain more information here. More information about dogs in Ledgeview can be found in S.7-6.

Can I have backyard chickens?

Chickens are allowed on some single-family lots. You should refer to S.135-11(V) of the town code for more information about backyard chickens.

Can I have horses or other livestock?

Horses and livestock are regulated through S.135-11(U).

Can I raise dogs?

A homeowner can keep up to 3 dogs on a residentially-zoned property. For more information about dogs in Ledgeview, see S.7-6 of the town code. A commercial kennel or doggy daycare is classified as a business and must be located in a zoning district where this use is allowed.

Application Review
What is a development agreement?

A development agreement is a contract between a developer and the municipality that describes the rights and responsibility of the parties with regard to a development project, like a subdivision, that has received preliminary or final approval. They can address a wide range of issues, including the installation of infrastructure needed to support the project and phasing if its a large project. All development agreements are public records and can be viewed at the town office during normal office hours.

What is a double fee?

If a person starts a regulated construction activity under the municipality’s land development code without approval, the application fee for submitting an application is doubled.

Where can I get one or more of the various application forms?

Applications can be found on the Town's website, or on Application Forms page.  They are in a PDF format so you can view, print, and download them to your computer.

Can a decision-making body reconsider a prior decision?

In some circumstances, a decision-making body can reconsider a prior decision provided a specific set of procedures are followed.

Can I contact one or more of the members serving on the Board of Appeals to run some ideas by them? It would certainly help me prepare my application.

No. The members on the Board of Appeals are similar in many respects to a judge. They hear and evaluate evidence in a public forum and render a decision within the context of local, state, and, in some cases, federal law. This is referred to as a "quasi-judicial" decision. It is not proper for anyone - the applicant, a proponent, or an opponent - to contact a board member regarding a potential or pending application. Because these private conversations, referred to as "ex parte communication" should not occur, all parties can be assured of an unbiased proceeding, even if they do not agree with the outcome.

Can I present my project to the Plan Commission on an informal basis prior to submitting an application?

If you want feedback on a proposed project before submitting an application, you should meet with the town staff who can give you his or her preliminary comments.

Can I subdivide my property?

The short answer is that property can be subdivided so long as the parcel or parcels being created meet the requirements of the subdivision regulations (chapter 96), the zoning code (chapter 135), and all other regulations that may apply. However, there may be instances where those land use regulations preclude the creation of new lots. Some land cannot be divided because the property is too small, the land does not have a source of potable water or a means of disposing of wastewater, or the land may be located in an area where new lots should not be created, for example in the floodway of a river. As a starting point, find out how big the parcel is and the minimum lot size for the zoning district in which it is located. In any event, be sure to contact the town staff for more information. If the property is located in a residential subdivision, you should also review the covenants, if any, to see if there are any private restrictions.

Can I submit a petition to have the zoning classification of my property changed?

Yes. As the property owner you may submit an application to rezone your property. The procedures and requirements are listed in S.135-250 of the zoning code.

How much does it cost to submit an application?

Application fees are set by the town board to reflect the level of review required. All of the application fees are listed on a fee schedule.

If I submit an application and it is not approved, can I get my application fee back?

Application fees are not refundable. They are intended to cover the costs necessary to review the application. 

What is a conflict of interest and when does it become an issue?

A public official charged with making a decision regarding a specific development application is said to have a conflict of interest when it would appear that the person is not able to make an unbiased decision. If a person has a conflict of interest, he or she is required to recues himself or herself from the decision-making process.

What kind of projects require a zoning permit?

A zoning permit is needed when any structure is erected, relocated, or altered or when a new type of land use is established on a property. For example, fences, sheds, swimming pools, building additions, driveways, and decks all require a zoning permit. If you are unsure, please contact the town staff.

Where do I get an access (driveway) permit?

An access permit is required when a driveway or road is constructed that will access a state, county, or town road


 

Will I be notified of proposed development projects?

Under state law, the Town staff needs to send out notices to surrounding property owners for certain kinds of development applications that are submitted for review.

Dimensional Standards
Can a private use encroach into a public right-of-way?

There are no instances in the town code that will allow a property owner to encroach into a public road right-of-way.

How high can I build?

The maximum height of a building is determined by the type of building and the zoning district in which the property is located. Homes have a maximum height limitation of 25 feet. Accessory buildings such as garages and storage sheds generally cannot exceed the height of the principal structure. However, be sure to check out the specific height standards on the Dimensional Standards page. See S.135 of the town code for additional details. 

Is there a requirement regulating size the size of detached garages?

Yes. In most of the residential zoning districts there is a limitation on the size of a detached garage. See S.135 of the zoning code for additional details. 

Environmental
Do I need any kind approval to cut down one or more trees on my property?

Outside of town parks, there no limitations on the removal of trees or other woody vegetation on personal property.

How close can I build to a wetland?

Buildings and most structures need to be set back from a wetlands and other "protective areas". Specific details can be found in the town code S.90-6(D).

How do I know if there are wetlands on a parcel of land?

The County has adopted wetland maps for the entire county. These maps can be viewed on the GIS website. The property owner may have to hire a private wetland delineator to map these wetlands on the property if there is a proposed activity or lot split which may encroach toward a wetland boundary.

Is gravel considered impervious?

It depends. Gravel used as a landscaping mulch around plantings is generally considered pervious. However, gravel used for walkways and driveways becomes compacted and generates runoff even during minor rain events. See S.90-24 of the town code for additional details.

Who do I talk to about shoreline issues such as restoration or erosion control?

The Brown County zoning office can assist with issues relating to waterfront properties including native plantings, permits, restoration activities, erosion control, and run-off problems. Please contact 920-448-6480.

Fences
Can I build a fence?

As a general rule, most properties are able to have a fence. The height of fences are regulated, along with where a fence may be located. A zoning permit is generally required. If you live in a residential subdivision, covenants may also restrict fences. See S.135-15 for additional information about fences.

How far from the property line must a fence be placed?

As a general rule, a fence can be built up to, but not on, a property line. A fence along a front property boundary line must be offset at least 2 feet. See S.135-15 of the zoning code for more requirements.

Landscaping
Do I need any kind approval to cut down one or more trees on my property?

Outside of town parks, there no limitations on the removal of trees or other woody vegetation on personal property.

Is gravel considered impervious?

It depends. Gravel used as a landscaping mulch around plantings is generally considered pervious. However, gravel used for walkways and driveways becomes compacted and generates runoff even during minor rain events. See S.90-24 of the town code for additional details.

Neighbor Issues
My neighbor and I disagree on the location of the boundary line of our properties. Is this a zoning issue?

No. This is not a zoning issue. Boundary disputes are personal legal matters and are not within the jurisdiction of the municipality, unless a municipal boundary is the issue. You may want to hire a registered land surveyor to examine the dispute. You may also want to seek the advice of an attorney.

My neighbor's tree hangs over the fence into my yard. Is this a zoning issue?

No, this is not a zoning issue. Talk to your neighbor to see if the branches can be pruned or perhaps removed. Because this is a civil matter, you may want to consult an attorney to see if you have any legal recourse. There is a list of public nuisances in the town code S.68.

What are covenants and who enforces them?

Covenants or deed restrictions are limitations often imposed by the person creating a subdivision. As such, they are a private agreement by and between those parties who own property covered by the covenants. They are not enforced by the town or any other governmental entity that is not specifically mentioned as being a party to the restrictions. Those persons owning property covered by the covenants have the right to enforce covenants. In some instances, a property owner wishing to enforce the terms of a covenant may need to hire legal counsel to resolve covenant issues. 

What is an easement?

An easement is generally a defined area on a parcel that gives another person the right to use that area for a specific purpose. For example, a driveway easement allows a property owner to establish a driveway on another person's property for his or her benefit.

How do I know where the property boundary lines for a property are located?

A legal description describes where a property is located, and metal rods, placed in the ground by a registered surveyor, identify certain points along the perimeter of the property. Locating property boundary lines can be a challenge though, especially for lots that have not been recently surveyed. Survey markers may not have ever been established, or if placed in the ground, they can be inadvertently removed or become buried. If you are not able to find one or more survey markers and need to know precisely where a boundary line is located, you will need to hire a registered surveyor.

If I submit a written complaint regarding an alleged zoning violation, does that complaint become a public record?

Yes. In most cases, a zoning complaint is a public record and may be released upon request to any person requesting a copy.

Will I be notified of proposed development projects?

Under state law, the Town staff needs to send out notices to surrounding property owners for certain kinds of development applications that are submitted for review.

Nonconformities
Why should I register a nonconforming use?

Information relatign to nonconforming uses are found in S.135-11 of the zoning code. 

Can a nonconforming structure be rebuilt if it is destroyed by flood, tornado, or fire?

Yes, but be sure to review S.135-11(M) of the zoning code for all of the details; there are limitations that apply.

What is a nonconformity?

If a land use was legally established but does not currently comply with the requirements in the zoning code it is referred to as a nonconforming use. Likewise, a nonconforming structure is a structure that was legally established but does not comply with one or more of the dimensional standards for the zoning district in which it is located. These words are defined in S.135-8 of the zoning code and are included on the Definitions page. S.135-11 of the zoning code describes the special standards that apply to nonconformities.

Signs
Are there requirements regulating signs and do I need a permit?

Sign regulations are found in S.79 of the town code. Some signs can be installed without a permit provided all of the standards are met. All other signs must get a permit before installation.

Streets and Driveways
Are there minimum standards for driveways?

Driveway standards have been adopted to ensure that emergency responders are able to get to your property. Standards for driveways are described in S.94 of the town code.

Where do I get an access (driveway) permit?

An access permit is required when a driveway or road is constructed that will access a state, county, or town road


 

The Basics
How can I find out how a parcel of land is zoned?

A zoning map, adopted as part of the zoning code, shows where the various zoning districts are located. The zoning districts are displayed on the Interactive Map. You can zoom in and out and move around the image.

What are covenants and who enforces them?

Covenants or deed restrictions are limitations often imposed by the person creating a subdivision. As such, they are a private agreement by and between those parties who own property covered by the covenants. They are not enforced by the town or any other governmental entity that is not specifically mentioned as being a party to the restrictions. Those persons owning property covered by the covenants have the right to enforce covenants. In some instances, a property owner wishing to enforce the terms of a covenant may need to hire legal counsel to resolve covenant issues. 

What is the difference between a building and structure?

A structure is a broad term encompassing most man-made features or objects that occupy space on or below the ground surface. A building is therefore a type of structure designed to shelter persons or animals. Definitions for structure and building can be found on the Definitions page or in S.135-8 of the zoning code.

What is zoning?

State law gives municipalities the authority to adopt zoning regulations that seek to protect the public health, safety, and welfare by regulating the use of land. A zoning code typically consists of text and a zoning map. The zoning map depicts where the various zoning districts are located and the text establishes the requirements for existing and future land use development activities.

What is a comprehensive plan?

A comprehensive plan is a document that describes past and current conditions, but more importantly looks to the future. It includes a vision for how the town will look and function in the future. Not only does it paint a picture of the future, it provides a roadmap on how that vision can be achieved. A zoning code is one of the tools the Town uses to guide the physical development of the town. The Town's plan was adopted in 2015 to comply with the requirements in state law.

What is a zoning map?

A zoning map is part of the zoning regulations and shows where the various zoning districts are located. The land uses that are permitted will vary from district to district. This is also true for development standards including minimum lot size, lot coverage, and setback requirements. The purpose of establishing zoning designations within a community is to ensure that neighboring land uses are compatible with one another. For example, residential uses are generally not compatible with industrial uses. The various zoning districts are depicted on the Interactive Map.

Will my property taxes change, if my property is rezoned to a different zoning classification?

Because the assessed value of a property is based on many factors, there is no simple answer. You may want to consult the county assessor.

Uses of My Land
Can a private use encroach into a public right-of-way?

There are no instances in the town code that will allow a property owner to encroach into a public road right-of-way.

Can I have a dock?

Docks and piers are generally structures located over navigable bodies of water and are regulated by the Department of Natural Resources. Please contact the regional office at 1-888-936-7463 for more information.

Can I install a private well on my property?

Yes. Private wells are permitted in the town code S.136-5. The Sanitary District controls the permit process.

How can I find out how a parcel of land is zoned?

A zoning map, adopted as part of the zoning code, shows where the various zoning districts are located. The zoning districts are displayed on the Interactive Map. You can zoom in and out and move around the image.

How do I know if there are wetlands on a parcel of land?

The County has adopted wetland maps for the entire county. These maps can be viewed on the GIS website. The property owner may have to hire a private wetland delineator to map these wetlands on the property if there is a proposed activity or lot split which may encroach toward a wetland boundary.

Variances
What happens to a variance when the property is sold?

Variances run with the land. This means that a variance will continue in effect as the property is transferred from one owner to the next. All terms and conditions of the variance remain unchanged and apply to all subsequent property owners.

What is a variance?

By definition, a variance is a grant of relief issued by the Zoning Board of Appeals that allows the property to be developed in a way that does not conform to one or more development standards or other requirement of the zoning code. The board must consider various criteria and determine that the variance application as submitted meets predefined factors. S.135-248 of the zoning code describes the various procedures and requirements. To review some of the key requirements, go to the Procedures page.

Can I contact one or more of the members serving on the Board of Appeals to run some ideas by them? It would certainly help me prepare my application.

No. The members on the Board of Appeals are similar in many respects to a judge. They hear and evaluate evidence in a public forum and render a decision within the context of local, state, and, in some cases, federal law. This is referred to as a "quasi-judicial" decision. It is not proper for anyone - the applicant, a proponent, or an opponent - to contact a board member regarding a potential or pending application. Because these private conversations, referred to as "ex parte communication" should not occur, all parties can be assured of an unbiased proceeding, even if they do not agree with the outcome.

The board of appeals just granted a variance similar to the one that I will be requesting. Can I assume my application will be approved as well?

No. The Board of Appeals must apply a set of criteria based on the particular circumstances of the request. Because no two zoning cases are exactly the same, the outcomes may be quite different. 

Violations and Enforcement
What is a double fee?

If a person starts a regulated construction activity under the municipality’s land development code without approval, the application fee for submitting an application is doubled.

If I submit a written complaint regarding an alleged zoning violation, does that complaint become a public record?

Yes. In most cases, a zoning complaint is a public record and may be released upon request to any person requesting a copy.

Waterfront Properties
Can I have a dock?

Docks and piers are generally structures located over navigable bodies of water and are regulated by the Department of Natural Resources. Please contact the regional office at 1-888-936-7463 for more information.

Do I need any kind approval to cut down one or more trees on my property?

Outside of town parks, there no limitations on the removal of trees or other woody vegetation on personal property.

Who do I talk to about shoreline issues such as restoration or erosion control?

The Brown County zoning office can assist with issues relating to waterfront properties including native plantings, permits, restoration activities, erosion control, and run-off problems. Please contact 920-448-6480.