Pierce County, WI
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
All development shall comply fully with the requirements of this article.
Developments shall meet the minimum requirements for the applicable district shown in the Table of Dimensional Requirements.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The Table of Dimensional Requirements is included at the end of this chapter.
A. 
No lot shall hereafter be created which does not meet the minimum width and area requirements of this chapter. No lot shall be so reduced that it fails to meet any density or dimensional requirement of this chapter.
B. 
Lot of record required. Every building hereafter erected, structurally altered or relocated shall be placed on a lot of record.
C. 
Access to road. No lot shall hereafter be created nor any building placed on a lot which does not have an access to a public road or a private road which is described and recorded in the Pierce County Register of Deeds Office. The property owner shall be responsible for securing such access.
D. 
Only one single-family residence or one duplex shall be permitted on a lot, except as provided elsewhere in this chapter. Lots containing uses other than one- and two-family residences may contain more than one principal structure or use, provided that the lot contains the required minimum lot area for each such use.
E. 
Lots created prior to the effective date of this chapter. Except as provided in Subsection E(3), lots which were created before the effective date of this chapter shall be considered building sites, provided they meet the criteria established in both Subsection E(1) and (2):
(1) 
They are of record in at least one of the following forms to establish the lot's date of creation:
(a) 
A recorded land subdivision or certified survey map on file in the Pierce County Register of Deeds Office showing the lot in its present form.
(b) 
A lot of record by means of a deed or land contract on file in the Pierce County Register of Deeds Office and which predates the effective date of this chapter.
(c) 
A recorded condominium plat.
(2) 
Minimum lot size for lots created prior to the effective date of this chapter shall be 10,000 square feet for lots without public sewer and 5,000 square feet for lots with public sewer.
(3) 
Lots located in the Exclusive Agriculture District which are less than 35 acres shall be subject to § 91.75, Wis. Stats. Specifically, such lots are allowed if they are created as part of farm consolidation per § 240-40E or are created for agricultural use.
[Amended by Ord. No. 99-11]
(4) 
Notwithstanding the table at § 240-23, the minimum lot size in the Town of Gilman shall be two acres.
F. 
Lots which qualify as building sites as provided in Subsection E may be enlarged through acquisition of adjacent property but need not comply with the lot area provisions of § 240-23. Any lot so enlarged shall not thereafter be reduced below the minimum lot size required in the zoning district.
G. 
Erosion control. Construction on slopes of 20% or more shall require plan approval from the Land Conservation Department. For the purpose of this section, "slope" shall be defined as the average change in elevation over an area which extends 30 feet from the perimeter footprint of the structure.
A. 
Official density map. Allowable residential density will be recorded on an official maximum residential density map kept on file in the Zoning Office. The number of residential sites created shall be noted on the map.
B. 
Applicability. Maximum residential density shall apply to the creation of residential lots in the PA, GR, GRF, RR-8, RR-12 and RR-20 Districts.
C. 
Number of residential lots. Parcels of land existing on the effective date of this chapter shall not be divided into residential sites which exceed the allowable number of sites per 40 acres or portion thereof for each district as listed in §§ 240-23.
(1) 
Calculation. The allowable number of residential lots shall be calculated by multiplying the size of the tract in acres by the maximum residential density per 40 acres. (Example: A parcel of 26 acres in the RR-8 District results in 26 x 8 ÷ 40 = 208 ÷ 40 = 5.2 lots.)
(2) 
Rounding. Any fractional lot resulting from the calculation in Subsection C(1) which is at least .75 shall be rounded up to the next whole number.
(3) 
Wetlands. Wetland acreage, as shown on the Wisconsin Wetland Inventory Maps, may count toward parcel size, except that wetlands shall not count for more than 25% of parcel size, and all building sites shall be located outside of the wetlands.
(4) 
Existing residences. Any residence which exists on the tract of land to be divided shall count against the maximum residential density allowed. This shall not apply to a second farm residence which is located on the same lot as the principal farm residence.
(5) 
Minimum lot size. No lot or building site shall be created which does not meet the minimum lot area requirements of this chapter.
(6) 
Transfer of allowable density. The transfer of allowable density from one parcel to a contiguous parcel under the same ownership is permitted. Such transfer may also be across a public or private road to a parcel under the same ownership which has opposite frontage.
(7) 
All lots to contain allowance for residential use. No parcel shall be created which does not carry with it the allowance for at least one dwelling unit under the maximum density calculation unless such parcel is permanently deed restricted to nonresidential use.
D. 
The maximum residential density in the General Rural-Flexible (GRF) District shall be increased from four to a maximum of eight dwelling units per 40 acres based upon the applicable town board's written finding that:
(1) 
Such increased density:
(a) 
Does not conflict with town goals for farmland preservation.
(b) 
Will not adversely affect natural resources, such as steep slopes, wetlands, high-quality woodlands and wildlife habitats.
(c) 
Is compatible with present and future uses on adjoining lands under the same ownership.
(d) 
Is compatible with present and future uses of neighboring lands.
(2) 
The site has suitable roads and services to support the proposed density.
A. 
It is the intent of this section to authorize the developer to decrease lot sizes and therefore create usable open space on the rest of the parcel, thereby lowering development costs and increasing the attractiveness of the project. This is to be accomplished by increasing the density of the development beyond the limits indicated in § 240-23 of these regulations.
B. 
With the approval of the Zoning Administrator, in any single-family, manufactured home or duplex residential subdivision which is a permitted use under these regulations, the developer may cluster structures in the following districts, provided that all building lots are contiguous and have a maximum size of 2.0 acres:
Zoning District
Minimum Lot Area
Density Bonus per Units Clustered
Minimum Number of Houses in a Cluster
General Rural
.5
1 per 4
5
General Rural-Flexible
.5
1 per 6
7
Rural Residential-8
.5
1 per 6
7
C. 
The minimum lot width, side yard and rear yard requirements contained in § 240-23 of these regulations as well as the setback requirements from roads except for state highways contained in § 240-27 of these regulations may be decreased by 20% in an approved cluster development.
D. 
The amount of open space that must be set aside shall be determined by:
(1) 
Subtracting from the average lot area required by the maximum residential density allowed in the zoning district the amount of square footage of each lot that is smaller than that average.
(2) 
Adding together the results obtained in Subsection D(1) for each lot.
E. 
The following types of unbuildable land shall not be considered open space:
(1) 
Wetlands and land that is generally inundated.
(2) 
All of the floodway and floodplain fringe within the one-hundred-year floodplain.
(3) 
Slopes that exceed 20%.
(4) 
Land required for street rights-of-way or under permanent easement prohibiting future development.
F. 
All open space and any other part of the parcel capable of further subdivision shall be restricted from further subdivision through a permanent conservation easement held by the township or recognized land trust or conservancy, duly recorded in the office of the Pierce County Register of Deeds.
G. 
All open space must be legally and practicably accessible to the residents of the development out of which the required open space is taken. Access for public uses shall be by dedication of land or other means duly recorded in the office of the Pierce County Register of Deeds.
H. 
The required open space may be used for individual or community septic systems or for stormwater management ponds or basins.
I. 
During the land division process, the Land Management Committee shall approve of a cluster subdivision if its design is deemed by the Committee to be appropriate to the site's natural, historic and cultural features and if, through encouragement of originality and lot layout, the following goals are achieved:
(1) 
Protection of all floodplains, wetlands and steep slopes.
(2) 
Uninterrupted scenic views.
(3) 
Creation of upland buffers around watercourses.
(4) 
Preservation of existing woodlands, tree lines and existing pastures.
(5) 
Avoidance of prime agricultural soils.
(6) 
Protection of wildlife habitat.
(7) 
Avoidance of construction on higher topographic features.
(8) 
Provision of contiguous open space.
A. 
State and federal highways. Except as provided in Subsections E and F, the required setback for all structures fronting on state and federal highways shall be 110 feet from the center line of the road or 77 feet from the edge of the right-of-way, whichever is greater.
B. 
County highways. Except as provided in Subsection E, the required setback for all structures fronting on county highways shall be 100 feet from the center line of the road or 67 feet from the edge of the right-of-way, whichever is greater.
C. 
Town highways. Except as provided in Subsection E, the required setback for all structures fronting on all town highways shall be 75 feet from the center line of the road or 42 feet from the edge of the right-of-way, whichever is greater.
D. 
Private roads.The required setback for all structures fronting on private roads or private road easements shall be 75 feet from the center line of the road or easement or 42 feet from the edge of the private road right-of-way or easement, whichever is greater.
E. 
Setback reduction. A setback of less than the required setback for the appropriate class of highway shall be permitted in cases where the adjacent principal buildings are located closer to the highway than the required setback.
(1) 
Where each side of the proposed building location is occupied by an adjacent principal building located within 200 feet of the proposed building footprint, the required setback for the proposed building shall be the average of the setbacks of the adjacent principal buildings.
(2) 
Where one side of the proposed building location is occupied by an adjacent principal building located within 200 feet of the proposed building footprint, the required setback for the proposed building shall be the average of the setback of the adjacent principal building and the setback required for that particular highway.
F. 
How measured. Setbacks from highways shall be measured from the nearest portion of a structure. However, the first two feet of an overhanging eave and gutter and the first six feet of unenclosed stairs shall be excluded, provided that these items are not located within any public right-of-way.
G. 
Exemptions. The following structures shall be permitted within the required setback of highways, provided that they do not violate any other provisions of this chapter:
(1) 
Structures which are not buildings and which are less than six inches above preconstruction grade.
(2) 
Public utility poles, lines and related equipment without permanent foundations.
(3) 
Minor structures, as listed in § 240-32A(1).
(4) 
Fences, provided they are not located within a public right-of-way.
(5) 
Signs, as provided in Article VIII.
(6) 
Outdoor lighting in installations and unenclosed canopies for lighting and rain protection in conjunction with such uses as automobile fuel sales or drive-in facilities, provided these items are not located within a public right-of-way and provided that they are not located in side yards.
(7) 
Structures, such as ramps and landings, lifts or elevator housing, which are designed and intended to comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act or fair housing laws to make existing buildings accessible to disabled people and where no feasible alternative locations exist.
H. 
Vision clearance triangle. In each quadrant of every street intersection there shall be a vision clearance triangle according to design standards on file in the Zoning Office.
[Amended by Ord. No. 99-11; 9-27-2016 by Ord. No. 16-03]
A. 
Unless exempted or reduced by Pierce County Code Chapter 242, a setback of 75 feet from the ordinary high-water mark shall be required for all buildings and structures. The setback shall be measured from the nearest portion of a structure.
[Amended 2-25-2014 by Ord. No. 13-12; 8-28-2018 by Ord. No. 18-02]
A. 
Height limitation. Except as provided in Subsections B, C, D and E, no building, structure or sign shall exceed 35 feet in height above the grade elevation.
B. 
Exemptions. The following shall be exempted from the height requirements of this section:
(1) 
Architectural projections, such as spires, belfries, parapet walls, domes, chimneys and cupolas, provided that such cupolas do not exceed 64 square feet in floor area, including stairwells, are not higher than eight feet above the adjacent roof ridge and contain no living quarters.
(2) 
Agricultural structures, such as silos, barns and grain storage buildings.
(3) 
Special structures, such as elevator penthouses, grain elevators, observation towers in parks, communication towers, electrical poles and towers and smoke stacks, provided such structures shall not exceed in height their distance from the nearest lot line.
C. 
Public or semipublic facilities, such as schools, churches, monuments, libraries and government buildings, may be granted exemptions by the Land Management Committee to a height of 60 feet, provided that all required setbacks and yards are increased by not less than one foot for each foot the structure exceeds 35 feet in height.
D. 
Industrial and commercial structure heights may be granted exemptions by the Land Management Committee, provided that all required setbacks and yards are increased by not less than one foot for each foot the structure exceeds 35 feet.
E. 
Residential structures located in agricultural zoning districts may be increased to a maximum of 45 feet in height, provided that all required setbacks and yards are increased by not less than one foot for each foot the structure exceeds 35 feet. Height shall be measured from the lowest exposed portion of the structure's exterior.
Except as required by §§ 240-27 and 240-28, the following shall apply to front, rear and side yards:
A. 
How measured. The yard distances shall be measured from the nearest portion of the structure, except that the first two feet of an overhanging eave of buildings shall not be included where the yard requirement exceeds five feet.
B. 
Exemptions. The following structures are permitted in front, rear and side yards provided they do not violate any other provision of this chapter:
(1) 
Public utility poles, lines and related equipment without permanent foundations.
(2) 
Fences, provided they are not located within public rights-of-way.
(3) 
Structures which are not buildings and which are less than six inches above preconstruction grade.
(4) 
Minor structures, as listed in § 240-32A(1).
(5) 
Buildings in industrial districts located adjacent to railroad access.
[Added 3-27-2001 by Ord. No. 00-14]
C. 
Construction over lot lines. A structure may be erected over a lot line when the lots are in common ownership. Such construction shall have the effect of combining the lots into a single parcel for zoning purposes, and such lots shall not be sold separately or divided unless the resulting lots and placement of structures are in conformance with this chapter.
A. 
Purpose. These requirements are intended to reduce potential adverse impacts that a particular land use might have on occupants of adjacent properties, such as glare of lights, dust, litter and appearance. With vegetative screening, such adverse impacts will be lessened.
B. 
Applicability. Landscape buffer requirements shall only apply to proposed uses in cases where a commercial or industrial use abuts a residential or agricultural district; where a utility use requiring a land use permit abuts any district; or such landscape buffer is required by a provision in this chapter. Commercial and industrial parcels which are developed as of the effective date of this chapter are exempt from this provision, except such parcels shall comply when the parcel is expanded in size or the use expands to an adjacent parcel which was previously undeveloped for such use.
C. 
General requirements.
(1) 
Landscape buffers shall be located in such manner that principal buildings and outdoor storage areas associated with the proposed use are screened as viewed from the vantage point of the principal structures on affected adjoining lots.
(2) 
Landscape buffers may be located in an area devoted to meeting minimum side or rear yard requirements.
(3) 
Landscape buffers, when required, shall be established on a lot at the time of the lot's development or at the time the use of the lot is changed to a use which requires a landscape buffer.
(4) 
Landscape buffers shall be provided on each lot as required by this section independent of existing landscape buffers on adjoining lots.
(5) 
Installation and maintenance of the required landscape buffers shall be the responsibility of the owner of the lot.
(6) 
Existing woody plants which meet the requirements listed in Subsection D may be used to meet the landscape buffer requirements.
D. 
Landscape buffer tree requirements. Landscape buffers, at the time of establishment, shall meet the design specifications on file in the Zoning Office as approved and incorporated into this chapter.
[Amended 8-28-2018 by Ord. No. 18-02]
Accessory structures are permitted subject to the following:
A. 
Permit required. Accessory structures shall require a land use permit except:
(1) 
Minor structures, such as birdhouses, yard light poles, birdbaths, doghouses (housing dogs which are licensed as the personal pets of the residents of the property), tree houses, noncommercial fuel storage tanks and pumps, clothesline poles, lawn ornaments, flagpoles, mailboxes, garbage containers, ice fishing shanties and school bus waiting shelters. Nonhabitable structures of not more than 100 square feet, which can be easily moved, and meet applicable setback requirements, are also exempt.
(2) 
Fences.
B. 
An accessory structure shall be located on the same lot as the principal use to which it is accessory.
C. 
An accessory structure shall not be permitted until its associated principal structure is present or under construction.
D. 
Residential districts. Accessory structures such as shipping containers may only be permitted on a temporary basis.
E. 
Nonresidential districts. A vacant manufactured home may be permitted as a temporary accessory structure only in nonresidential zoning districts.
F. 
Temporary accessory structures. Certain accessory structures may only be permitted as a temporary structure, in specific zoning districts, upon issuance of a land use permit subject to the following:
(1) 
The land use permit shall expire 12 months from the date of issuance, and the accessory structure shall be removed from the premises upon expiration of the permit. A subsequent land use permit for a temporary accessory structure on the same parcel shall not be issued until 12 months has elapsed from the expiration of the previous permit.
(2) 
Only one such accessory structure shall be permitted at a time.