Adams County, WI
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Adams County as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Snowmobiles — See Ch. 302.
Street names and building numbers — See Ch. 317.
Abandoned vehicles — See Ch. 343.
All-terrain vehicles — See Ch. 347.
Vehicles and traffic — See Ch. 350.
Land division — See Ch. 382.
Attachment 1 - Figure 15, Typical Cross Sections
[Adopted 8-22-2000 by Ord. No. 39-2000]
This article is enacted under the authority of §§ 59.52(6)(b), 59.54(6), and 83.025(2), Wis. Stats.
No person shall destroy, deface, alter, change, remove, or interfere with the visibility of any sign placed by or on behalf of the Adams County Highway Department or placed by or on behalf of any other governmental body within the right-of-way of any highway over which Adams County exercises jurisdiction. For purposes of this article, the term "sign" includes, but is not limited to, any street or highway identification sign, any sign placed for the purpose of regulating traffic, any sign placed for informational purposes, and any sign or marker indicating the extent or location of right-of-way.
No person shall do, or shall cause any other person to do, any of the following within the right-of-way of any highway over which Adams County exercises jurisdiction without the express written consent of the Adams County Highway Commissioner or the Commissioner's designee:
A. 
Plant, cultivate, or harvest crops or any other vegetation;
B. 
Place or erect any fence, building, or other structure other than a mailbox that complies with standards promulgated by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation;
C. 
Engage in filling, grading, lagooning, dredging, ditching, or excavating, except to the extent that such activity is covered by a permit issued pursuant to Article II, Driveway Access, of this chapter or the Adams County Utility Policy; or
D. 
Engage in any other activity that can be reasonably expected to hinder, obstruct, or interfere with the proper use of the highway or right-of-way by the public or by the Highway Department.
Review of a decision by the Highway Commissioner or designee to give or to not give written consent pursuant to § 227-3 of this article may be obtained as follows:
A. 
Any person aggrieved by a decision may request review of that decision by the Adams County Highway Committee by filing a request in writing with the Highway Department office within 30 days after the decision.
B. 
The Adams County Highway Committee shall schedule a hearing at which it will consider such a request to be held within 60 days after receipt of the request. The person making the request shall be given notice of that hearing and at the hearing shall have the opportunity to present evidence to the Committee concerning the reasons for the request.
C. 
Within 30 days after the hearing the Adams County Highway Committee shall make its decision regarding the request. It may reverse, confirm, or modify the decision of the Highway Commissioner.
A. 
This article may be enforced by citation or any other means allowed by law. This article may be enforced by injunction issued by the Adams County Circuit Court or any other court having jurisdiction.
B. 
Any person who violates § 227-2 or 227-3 of this article shall be punished by a forfeiture of not less than $50 nor more than $500 for each offense. In case of a continuing violation, each day that the violation continues may be considered a separate violation.
C. 
Any property altered by construction or other action in violation of this article must be restored to its former condition at the expense of the person causing such violation. If such person fails to restore the property to its former condition within 30 days after notice to do so is given by the Highway Department, then the Highway Department may in its discretion restore the property to its former condition and recover the cost of doing so from the person causing the violation.
The prohibitions of this article do not apply to the Highway Department and its authorized personnel in the performance of their duties, or to those acting on behalf of the Highway Department pursuant to contract.
[Adopted 2-18-2014 by Ord. No. 03-2014]
A. 
Driveway permits are issued under the authority of § 86.07(2), Wis. Stats. The Adams County Highway Department (hereinafter "Highway Department") has the authority over and is responsible for the maintenance of the County trunk lettered highway system and all other County-owned town roads (both referred to hereinafter as "County highway"). The Highway Department oversees the driveway permit process, including surveillance and issuance of permits.
B. 
Driveway changes noted through monitoring are investigated to ensure that they have been authorized and that they do not adversely affect the use of the highway. All changes must conform to the standards set forth by this policy and the Highway Department's discretion.
C. 
The purpose of the design standards is to promote orderly and safe movement in and out of private and public properties, to minimize interference with highway traffic, and to preserve the physical structure of the highway for convenience, general welfare, and economic viability.
A. 
Any owner of the land adjacent to County highway right-of-way who wishes to construct a driveway, or change its surface type, or work in the right-of-way shall apply to the Highway Department for a permit. Anyone requesting a permit should complete an application in compliance with this policy and the Wisconsin Statutes and file the application with the Highway Department. The Highway Department will review the application using the following guidelines. No person shall commence or continue construction of any driveway, or request or allow others to commence or continue construction of any driveway on that person's property, unless a permit has been issued in accordance with this policy.
B. 
Procedure to follow in considering a permit for a driveway.
(1) 
The property owner or owner's agent shall apply for a permit. The application should be filled out completely and returned to the Highway Department.
(2) 
The property owner or owner's agent shall obtain a zoning determination. That zoning determination must accompany the completed permit application when it is turned in to the Highway Department. A zoning determination will not be required for surface change to an existing approved driveway.
(3) 
The permit application will be reviewed by the Highway Department for conformance with this policy and with all applicable state, federal, and local laws, regulations, and policies.
(4) 
The Highway Department if requested may review the permit request with the applicant so that all needed information can be obtained and all requirements and restrictions can be explained.
(5) 
Applications for permits may be approved only by the Adams County Highway Commissioner or by one assistant if such assistant is so designated by the Highway Commissioner and approved by the Adams County Highway Committee. The Highway Commissioner or the designated assistant shall indicate approval by signature before any permit may be issued.
(6) 
The Highway Department will retain a copy of the application on file. The permittee shall retain the original.
C. 
During the review process, the following criteria should be considered:
(1) 
Zoning. The Highway Department shall support local zoning ordinances and shall not conflict with local zoning restrictions. Any conflicts with future projects, access control, scenic easements, certified survey map restrictions, subdivision plat restrictions, highway easements or recorded covenants shall be resolved before issuance of the permit.
(2) 
Access to property. Conforms to § 227-11B.
(3) 
Sight distance. Conforms to table in § 227-11A.
(4) 
Driveway grade. A driveway approach grade or intersecting area at the edge of the shoulder shall be provided adjacent to the highway to ensure drainage away from the highway surface.
D. 
If the application is approved as provided in Subsection B(3), a permit will be issued. The applicant shall construct the driveway utilizing a pre-approved traffic control procedure explained by an authorized Highway Department employee. Each permit will be valid for one driveway location only.
E. 
Construction must proceed in accordance with this policy and in conformance with all specifications, limitations, and conditions set out in the application and permit, unless modification is approved in writing by the Highway Commissioner or the person designated under Subsection B(5). The Highway Department shall inspect the site of each driveway before and during construction to ensure compliance.
F. 
If the application is denied, the Highway Department shall notify the applicant and explain the reason for denial.
G. 
A permit is valid for construction of a driveway within one year of issuance. After one year has expired, the permit will no longer be valid and a new permit must be applied for and issued before construction may be commenced or continued.
H. 
The applicant shall pay to the Highway Department a fee for each permit application according to a fee schedule as established by the Adams County Highway Committee.
I. 
This section applies to all new driveway construction. A new driveway is defined to include expansion, surface type change, and/or relocation of an existing driveway where either edge or both edges of the driveway will be moved 20 feet or more from the location of the corresponding edge of the existing driveway, or when the expansion or relocation would result in any violation of § 227-11 of this policy.
A. 
This section applies only to driveways which were constructed prior to the effective date of Adams County Ordinance No. 10-1992.
B. 
No driveway constructed before the effective date of Adams County Ordinance No. 10-1992 may be altered unless a permit has been issued for the driveway and the driveway meets the standards prescribed by this policy. This does not pertain to surface maintenance, for example grading existing gravel or sealing the existing asphalt surface. Driveway surface maintenance is permissible without issuance of a permit. A surface type change does require a permit.
C. 
The County shall not be liable for injury to persons or property due to headwalls or ripraps at the ends of driveway culverts, if the owner is notified to remove them. This type of construction is not permitted under this policy.
D. 
Maintenance of driveways is the responsibility of the property owner or occupant, and maintenance of side roads is the responsibility of the local governing body.
The permittee in making the application agrees to the following:
A. 
The permittee shall furnish all materials, do all work, and pay all costs in connection with the construction of the driveway and its appurtenances on the right-of-way.
B. 
The permittee shall make the installation without jeopardy to or interference with traffic using the highway. Highway surfaces, shoulders, ditches, and vegetation disturbed shall be restored to equivalent of original condition by the permittee.
C. 
No revisions or additions shall be made to the driveway or its appurtenances on the right-of-way without the written permission of the Highway Commissioner or the person designated under § 227-8B(5) of this policy.
D. 
The Highway Department reserves the right to make such changes, additions, repairs, and relocations within statutory limits to the driveway or its appurtenances on the right-of-way as may at any time be considered necessary to permit the relocation, reconstruction, widening, and maintaining of the highway or to provide proper protection to life and property on or adjacent to the highway.
E. 
The permittee, his successors, or assigns agree to hold harmless the County of Adams and its duly appointed agents and employees against any action for personal injury or property damage sustained by reason of the exercise of the permit.
F. 
The Highway Department does not assume any responsibility for the removal or clearance of snow, ice, or sleet or the opening of windrows of such materials upon any portion of any driveway or entrance along with any County highway even though snow, ice, or sleet is deposited or windrowed on said driveway or entrance by its authorized representatives engaged in normal winter maintenance operations.
G. 
The permit shall contain the statement and be subject to the condition that the work shall be constructed subject to the rules and regulations prescribed by the County Highway Department and be performed and completed to the County Highway Department's satisfaction.
H. 
In case of temporary alterations, the highway shall be restored to its former condition and the permittee shall be liable to Adams County for all damages which occur during the progress of said work or as a result thereof.
I. 
Nothing herein shall abridge the right of the Highway Department, the County Board, or Highway Committee to make such additional rules, regulations and conditions as may be deemed necessary and proper for the preservation of highways and for the safety of the public.
A. 
Sight distance requirement.
(1) 
Access driveways to highways from abutting properties shall comply with the following sight distance requirements that are consistent with American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Geometric Design of Highways and Streets Stopping Sight Distance:
Design Speed
(mph)
Stopping Sight Distance
(feet)
25
155
30
200
35
250
40
305
45
360
50
425
55
495
60
570
65
645
70
730
(2) 
Stopping sight distance will be determined by the following method. Sight distance shall be measured from a point 10 feet from the edge of the traveled way in the proposed access location and measured from a height of 3.50 feet to the height of an object 3.50 feet on the County trunk highway.
B. 
Number and width of driveways per land use.
(1) 
Type of access definitions.
(a) 
Commercial: an application occupied with or engaged in commerce or work intended for commerce. The following are intended to be examples and are not all inclusive: retail businesses, wholesale businesses, apartment complexes (more than four units) or condominium complexes (more than four units), and service businesses.
(b) 
Schools: an access established for an elementary school, middle school, junior high school, and high school or accredited college/technical school.
(c) 
Industrial: an operation that is engaged in industrial production; something has to be made or assembled at this location.
(d) 
Churches: a place of assembly for religious observances specifically built to accommodate more people than may legally reside on the property.
(e) 
Park uses: an area open for use by the general public for recreation.
(f) 
Residential uses: when the sole use of the property is for a residence or residences up to four units.
(g) 
Agricultural uses: for uses concerned with the practice of producing/raising crops and/or raising livestock.
(2) 
The maximum number and width of access driveways per land use to highways and service roads shall be as follows:
Type of Access Driveway
Maximum Number of Access Driveways
Maximum/Minimum Width
(feet)
Commercial, schools, industrial, churches and park uses
2
40/24
Residential uses
1
36/16
Agricultural uses
1 per parcel
50/24
C. 
Driveway surfaces. The surface of the driveways can be a flexible bituminous asphalt type of pavement or gravel type. There will not be any portland cement surfaces accepted within the right-of-way unless the County trunk highway had been laid with portland cement.
D. 
Driveway slope. The surface of the driveway connecting with rural type highway sections shall slope down and away from the highway shoulder a sufficient amount and distance to preclude ordinary surface water drainage from the driveway area flowing onto the highway roadbed. Every driveway shall have sloped sides at a minimum of 4:1 grade ratio or flatter and should be laid as shown on Figure 15.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Figure 15 is included as an attachment to this chapter.
E. 
Culverts, drainage, curbs and gutters. The driveway shall not obstruct or impair drainage in highway side ditches or roadside areas. Driveway culverts, where necessary, require endwalls and shall in no case be less than the equivalent of fifteen-inch diameter pipe. When any curb or gutter is removed for constructing a driveway, the new connection shall be restored.
F. 
Backfill material. Backfill material for all types of driveways shall be a cohesive granular gravel type material not exceeding one inch in diameter. Construction debris and/or waste concrete shall not be allowed.
G. 
Preexisting lots of record. This policy shall not be enforced in such a way as to deny access to lots of record which are in existence prior to the adoption of Adams County Ordinance No. 10-1992.
H. 
Corner lots. Where a parcel abuts more than one public road and where such roads are classified differently, access shall be required onto the road with the lowest classification, where possible.
I. 
Vision. Corners must be free of all obstructions at each access point.
J. 
Identified bicycle routes. Driveway accesses proposed and approved on identified bicycle routes per the Adams County Bicycle Plan will require a paved apron. The apron width will be eight feet and the responsibility of the applicant. Failure to comply with this condition will result in the revocation of the driveway permit.
A. 
Application. This section applies to rural type highway classification driveways serving commercial or industrial, schools, churches, and park establishments.
B. 
Width of drive. Commercial driveways will not have a width less than 24 feet or greater than 40 feet measured at right angles to the center line of the driveway, except as increased by radii.
C. 
Return radius. No return radius projected between the edge of highway pavement and the driveway shall be greater than 40 feet.
D. 
Angular placement of drive. The center line of that part of the driveway lying on the County right-of-way shall be at approximately right angles to the pavement.
A. 
Application. This section applies to rural type highway classification driveways serving residential property.
B. 
Width of drive. Residential driveways shall not have a width less than 16 feet or greater than 36 feet measured at right angles to the center line of the driveway except as increased by radii.
C. 
Return radius. No return radius projected between the edge of highway pavement and the driveway shall be greater than 30 feet.
D. 
Angle placement. The center line of that part of the driveway lying on the County right-of-way shall be at approximately right angles to the pavement.
A. 
Application. This section applies to rural type highway classification driveways serving agricultural property.
B. 
Width of driveway. Agricultural driveways shall not have a width less than 24 feet or greater than 50 feet measured at right angles to the center line of the driveway except as increased by radii.
C. 
Return radius. No return radius projected between the edge of highway pavement and the driveway shall be greater than 40 feet.
D. 
Angle placement. The center line of that part of the driveway lying on the County right-of-way shall be at approximately right angles to the pavement.
A. 
If the Highway Department denies a request for a permit under this policy or revokes a permit issued under this policy, the Adams County Highway Committee shall, upon written request by the applicant within 30 days after the denial, review the Highway Department's decision. A written request shall be deemed made when it is received at the Highway Department office.
B. 
The Adams County Highway Committee shall schedule a hearing at which it will consider such a request to be held within 60 days after receipt of the request. The person making the request shall be given notice of that hearing and at the hearing shall have the opportunity to present evidence to the Committee concerning the reasons for the request.
C. 
Within 30 days after the hearing the Adams County Highway Committee shall make its decision regarding the request. It may reverse, confirm, or modify the decision of the Highway Department. The Highway Department shall thereafter take action in conformance with the Committee's decision.
A. 
Any person who violates § 227-8A or E or 227-9B of this policy shall be punished by a forfeiture of not less than $50 nor more than $500 for each offense. In case of a continuing violation, each day that the violation continues may be considered a separate violation.
B. 
This policy may be enforced by injunction issued by the Adams County Circuit Court or any other court having jurisdiction.
C. 
Any property altered by construction or other action in violation of this policy must be restored to its former condition at the property owner's expense. If the owner of the property fails to restore such property to its former condition within 30 days after notice to do so is given by the Highway Department, then the Highway Department may in its discretion restore the property to its former condition and recover the cost of doing so from the owner.
A. 
The prohibitions expressed in this policy do not apply to the Highway Department and its authorized personnel in the performance of their duties.
B. 
Nothing in this policy shall be construed to conflict with any state statute or County ordinance. If any rule is held invalid by operation of law or by any court of jurisdiction, the remainder of the rules shall not be affected thereby.
C. 
All rules, regulations and ordinances previously adopted conflicting with the provisions of the County highway policy, not in accordance with Subsection B above, are hereby rescinded. Adams County Ordinance No. 22-2007 is hereby repealed and replaced by this article.
D. 
The County driveway policy shall be effective upon the date of publication.