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Zoning in Wood County

The overall purpose of zoning in Wood County is to protect and promote the health, safety, prosperity, and general welfare of county residents while enhancing the physical and natural environment of Wood County. The Wood County Department of Planning and Zoning administers and enforces several types of zoning in the county. This includes: Shoreland Zoning; Floodplain Zoning; and County General Zoning.

The Department of Planning and Zoning can be contacted at (715) 421-8466 with any questions regarding zoning within the unincorporated areas of the county. Specific information on each type of zoning is detailed below.

Shoreland Zoning

Administration of the County Shoreland Ordinance pertains especially to properties within 300 feet of a river or navigable stream, and within 1,000 feet of a lake. Please note, that many very small streams and ditches are regulated as required by the State. Riparian Permits may require that a county approved mitigation plan be in place to offset the negative impacts of excessive impervious surfaces. A mitigation plan is required when 15% to 30% of the lot size is defined as impervious surface.

Approval by the Wood County Planning and Zoning Office is required prior to starting work within a shoreland or floodplain zone for the following projects:

  • Filling, grading, ponding, lagooning, dredging, excavating and any soil disturbance work
  • Sand blanket or pea gravel
  • Seawall or riprap
  • Additions/alterations to existing structures or reconstruction of structures outside of the current existing building footprint
  • New construction of any type
  • Retaining walls, sidewalks, driveways or other landscaping

When working near lakes and streams, you are advised to contact the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources in Wisconsin Rapids at 715-421-7800, because in most cases permits will be needed from them also. In addition, you should contact the municipality that you live in to see if any permits or approval are required for the projects you have planned.

Wood County #704 Shoreland Zoning Ordinance
Shoreland Permit Application

The Shoreland GIS map layers, for reference purposed only, can be found at Wood County Land Records Viewer

Floodplain Zoning

In order to determine what lands are subject to flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has collected data, analyzed it and transferred it to maps. The FEMA maps are called the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM maps) and show areas that are considered to have a 1% chance of a flood every year. This event is also commonly called the "100-year flood" or Base Flood Elevation (BFE).

In the Planning & Zoning Office we can help you determine if the property you own or are planning on purchasing is in the floodplain. Property located in the floodplain may be subject to restrictions on the use of the property and there may be a need to purchase flood insurance in order to secure a loan from a lending institution to build, remodel, or purchase property.

In some cases, if we are not able to determine if the property is in the floodplain, you may need to contact a registered land surveyor to collect elevation data for final determination. Land or real property can sometimes be taken out of both flood insurance and regulatory requirements by obtaining a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) from FEMA. A registered land surveyor can help obtain this specialized document.

Wood County #703 Floodplain Ordinance
Floodplain Permit Application

The Floodplain GIS map layers, for reference purposed only, can be found at Wood County Land Records Viewer

County General Zoning

Wood County adopted the Wood County Zoning Ordinance in 1934. This ordinance is still in effect in all (22) towns within its jurisdiction.

Wood County #700 Zoning Ordinance

Map of County General Zoning in Wood County

Town Zoning

Due to the narrow scope of the Wood County Zoning Ordinance, (12) of the (22) towns have adopted their own town zoning ordinances. In such cases, zoning administration and enforcement are the town’s responsibility, not the Wood County Department of Planning and Zoning. All questions regarding town zoning and land use requirements should be directed to the respective town.

Map of Town Zoning in Wood County

Municipal Contact Information - Official Wood County Directory

Town Zoning Amendments

Both the town zoning map and the text of the town zoning ordinance may be updated and amended over time. Specifically, there are two types of zoning amendments:

  • Map Amendment/Rezone: a change in the zoning district or boundaries of a zoning district.
  • Ordinance Amendment: a change in the wording, context, or substance of the zoning ordinance.

Please note: Because Wood County has a county zoning ordinance, no town zoning ordinance or amendment of a zoning ordinance may be adopted unless approved by the Wood County Board of Supervisors. This requirement applies to town map amendments/rezones and ordinance amendments.