Ozaukee County Land
and zoning ordinances regulate how land may be divided, what uses may be
established and through what procedures, and where structures may be
placed on the land. These regulations are established, administered, and
enforced based on statutory requirements or grants of authority.
use and its regulation are often controversial as well as confusing. If
you have questions about how land may be divided, used, or built upon,
or the legal procedures regulating those activities, please contact the
appropriate agency below for information. General information regarding
building permits, zoning permits, and land use regulations applicable in
each municipality may found by contacting the local municipal clerk [see
Ozaukee County Chart, page 35].
where you live, if you create five or more parcels of land in a period
of five years and the parcels are 1.5 acres or less in size, Wisconsin
law requires a formal platting process. A registered surveyor must
prepare a plat. A certified soil tester must conduct percolation tests.
Proper access must be provided to public roads. Under the provisions of
236 of the Wisconsin Statutes, several state agencies, the county,
and the municipality then review the plat.
towns, cities, and villages may adopt and administer subdivision
ordinances in addition to the state requirements.
property's zoning district [residential, commercial, agricultural, etc.]
determines how the land may be used, the minimum size for new lots, the
maximum height of structures, and the setbacks required from roads,
navigable water, property lines, etc. The purpose of zoning is to
provide for an area's orderly development and to minimize conflicts
between incompatible land uses.
zoning ordinance is typically based on a "plan" which outlines
the community's goals and objectives for future development. A zoning
ordinance includes maps which show zoning district boundaries and text
explaining the regulations for each district and use. Zoning ordinance
permits certain land uses in each district by right, provided that all
requirements of the ordinance are met. Other uses, called conditional
uses, are permitted if the zoning agency determines that the use can be
made compatible with the surrounding area. Lots, structures, and uses in
existence when a municipality adopts an ordinance that do not meet the
requirements of the new ordinance are called "nonconforming."
Usually nonconforming lots, structures, and uses are "grandfathered,"
but some restrictions may apply. Contact
the municipality with zoning jurisdiction over your property for further
information [see Ozaukee County Chart, page 35].
County has not adopted a county plan or zoning ordinance.
Each of the fourteen municipalities has adopted and administers
their own individual zoning ordinances.
state law requires counties to adopt and enforce zoning for
unincorporated shoreland and wetland areas. These areas are defined as
lands within 1000 feet of a navigable lake, pond, or flowage; or lands
within 300 feet of a navigable creek, stream, or river. The county
zoning ordinance is in effect in the shoreland areas of the Towns of
Cedarburg, Grafton, Saukville, Port Washington, Fredonia,
Shoreland areas that are annexed by the incorporated
municipalities must also adhere to the county zoning requirements.
Those requirements effect minimum lot sizes, allowable land uses,
and minimum setbacks from lot lines and the ordinary high water mark are
established for shoreland zoning districts. The ordinary high water mark
is typically the tree or vegetation line at the "top" of the
beach, the result of the activity of water upon the land over time.
While waterfront property owners purchase
"riparian rights" with their property (rights related to the
use of the beach and waters adjacent to the land), these rights are
limited. Wisconsin law states that all navigable waters are public. In
addition, any alterations to the shoreland [vegetation and tree removal,
dredging, docks, upland earth disturbances] are subject to approval by
Department of Natural Resources (DNR), at (414) 263-8679, and/or the
Land and Water
Management Department, at (262) 284-8313 .
Typically, the DNR has jurisdiction over activities taking place on the
waterward side of the ordinary high water mark while Ozaukee County has
jurisdiction on the landward side.
permits are required for many projects in most of the municipalities in
Check with your municipal clerk for more information on obtaining
a building permits.
ordinances set minimum standards for construction in floodplains in
order that construction projects and upstream and downstream properties
are protected from potential floodwaters. Floodplain zoning allows
property owners to be eligible for federal flood insurance.
incorporated areas [Cities of Mequon, Cedarburg, and Port Washington,
and the Villages of Thiensville,
Grafton, Saukville, and Fredonia] administer their own floodplain zoning
ordinances. The Ozaukee County Board of Supervisors has adopted a county
floodplain ordinance, administered by the
Land and Water
Management Department, (262) 284-8277, which is
effective in all unincorporated areas of the county [the 6 towns].
The Village of Belgium does not have a floodplain-zoning
of Contents | Chapter Eleven -
your Land/Housing Issues