Land Use Information

Land Use Information

Reminder to Property Owners in All Unincorporated Towns

Please note that the Washington County Planning and Parks Department administers and enforces the following ordinances within your municipality:

Subdivision Ordinance
Sanitary Ordinance
Shoreland/Wetland/Floodplain Zoning Ordinance

Phillip Gaudet, Land Resources Manager (Manager of Land Use Division) -
Hartford, Addison, Barton, Wayne & Kewaskum
Dave Seils, Inspector-in-Charge - Germantown, Polk, Richfield & Erin
Dave Lindner, Land Use Inspector - West Bend, Farmington, Jackson & Trenton

Before beginning any construction (including remodeling, reconstruction or any structural alterations), and landscaping, please contact us and request information on what permits and inspections may be necessary.

Please contact us before doing any work on your Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment System (POWTS) other than the routine pumping of your septic tank every 2 or 3 years as required under County Ordinance; this includes the placement of covers, risers, pipes, vents, etc. County and State laws require that some repairs, alterations, extensions or additions require permits at the County level, and the State requires that the person performing the work be properly licensed.

Enforcement of the County Shoreland/Wetland/Floodplain Zoning Ordinances pertain especially to properties within 300' of a river or navigable stream, within 1,000' of a lake/pond as well as all floodplain and the majority of wetland areas. Please note that many very small streams and ditches are regulated as required by the State. Permits are required to be issued by Land Use Division staff and may require approval by the Washington County Planning, Conservation and Parks Committee and the full County Board prior to your starting work on the following projects within the shoreland/wetland/floodplain zone:

This can include even small areas of filling, grading and excavating. A double fee will be charged if work is started without a permit.

  • 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
  • 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 Milwaukee at (414) 263-8500, because in most cases permits will be needed from them also. Construction in any wetland or shoreline may require approval of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, phone number (414) 547-4171.

County approval will be needed for all subdivisions. Certified Survey Maps located in Shoreland/Wetland/Floodplain Zoning Districts frequently require County approval.

To help minimize complications, please do not hesitate to contact our office for information about the procedure for obtaining any of the permits mentioned above. This should be done several weeks prior to the proposed start of your project. When work takes place without permits, County and State laws usually hold the property owner responsible even if the work was done by a contractor. In some cases, the contractor may also be responsible. You should also contact the Town regarding their permit requirements.

To view the "Reminder to Property Owners" form online,click here