The Land Use Planning and Zoning Department supports a multitude of programs and upholds federal, state, and local standards.  This page has been created to assist in answering questions related to land, its use, and other responsibilities of this Department.

To provide land use services related to Planning, Code Enforcement, Surveying, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Land Records Modernization for the people of Green Lake County, that promotes the public health, safety, and general welfare through well-planned development and responsible stewardship of the land by equitable administration and enforcement of ordinances, regulations, and planning practices.

The Land Use Planning and Zoning Department administers and enforces the County's land use ordinances, applicable chapters of the Wisconsin Administrative Code, and Wisconsin Statutes. Basic ordinance responsibility covers general zoning, shoreland zoning, floodplain zoning, private sewage, land division, and nonmetallic mining reclamation.

This Department provides assistance for all permit applications, public hearing applications, concerns of violations, and basic land use information. The goal of these services is to promote the use of land in harmony with its neighboring uses and natural resources, and to protect the public's safety and interest in the location of structures and uses.

Another service offered to the community is assistance to municipalities with creating and executing land use development goals they have locally envisioned. To achieve these goals, land use plans, ordinances, and other applicable regulations are administered, enforced, and updated when necessary. Assistance is provided for review of land divisions and analysis of development proposals affecting land use.

Find information about the governing Committee of this Department through this link. 
  Matt E. Kirkman
Land Use Planning & Zoning Director

  Carole DeCramer
  Administrative Assistant

  Krista Kamke
  Land Use Specialist
  Zoning and Shoreland Specialist

  Caleb Edwards
  Land Use Specialist
  POWTS and Sanitation Specialist

  Gerald Stanuch
GIS Specialist

  Don Lenz
County Surveyor
  In office Mondays, 9:30am-11:30am
Zoning Districts - PDF detailing area and height restrictions, setbacks, and allowed uses in each district. 

Green Lake County adopted our first zoning ordinance in 1957. The current ordinance (Code of Green Lake County, Chapter 350) has undergone significant changes over the last sixty years, evolving to keep pace with the new uses and development in our region. Zoning is intended to guide sensible development by keeping similar uses together. Monitoring growth in this way provides cohesion to a community: residential development is grouped near emergency response facilities for safer neighborhoods; minimal traffic congestion occurs as the more intense commercial uses are accessed via intersections regulated by traffic lights; property values are insulated and preserved by maintaining consistency in allowed uses of land. In all, the usability of land in Green Lake County is maximized without unnecessary expansion into the open natural spaces and agricultural areas around which our community is focused.

Of the ten Towns in Green Lake County, six have adopted the County Zoning Ordinance: Town of Berlin, Town of Brooklyn, Town of Green Lake, Town of Mackford, Town of Manchester, and Town of Marquette.  The remaining four Towns refrained from adopting general zoning requirements: Town of Kingston, Town of Princeton, Town of Saint Marie, and Town of Seneca.  These Towns still have guiding ordinances related to land division as well as development standards for shoreland and floodplain areas, among other regulations. 

Proposed Amendments
3/7/19 - PDF - Proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance.  Document shows only the proposed changes, not the entire ordinance.  

Recent Amendments
11/14/2017 - PDF - Amended the zoning ordinance to be consistent with Chapter 91 of Wis. Stats. as well as other identified changes. Adopted at the County Board meeting on November 14, 2017. 
12/18/18 - PDF - Amended the zoning ordinance, specifically the map of the Town of Berlin, to reflect dissolution of the City of Berlin's Extra Territorial Zoning Authority (ETZA), effective January 1, 2019.  Parcels under this ETZA were brought back under the County Zoning Ordinance authority, as the Town of Berlin had adopted the County Zoning ordinance prior to the City of Berlin exercising their statutory authority to guide development in close proximity to their limits. 

A land use permit is required for any land-disturbing activity, including the placement or alteration of any building or structure, within the zoned Towns or within the jurisdiction of the ordinances this Department administers. These ordinances include the federally-required Floodplain Zoning Ordinance, the state-mandated Shoreland Zoning Ordinance, and the County's Zoning Ordinance, among others.
A complete Land Use Permit application usually consists of three parts:
1. Completed application form
2. Site Plan rendered to scale
3. Application fee, based on cost of construction for the project.  See Page 2 of the permit application for the fee schedule.

Helpful PDF detailing what structures generally need permits, which do not, and what can be placed in setback areas.

The Permit Contacts & Construction Reminders PDF is another document helpful in planning projects in Green Lake County.  Listed are contacts for each municipality, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, relevant Green Lake County departments, and contracted Uniform Dwelling Code (UDC) Inspectors for each Town.

The Shoreland Zoning Ordinance (Code of Green Lake County, Chapter 338) is a state-mandated ordinance that applies to property within 1,000 feet of navigable lakes, ponds, and flowages, and within 300 feet of navigable rivers and streams. 

As stewards of our natural resources, shoreland property owners help uphold the Public Trust Doctrine, a part of the Wisconsin Constitution that preserves access to our navigable waters.  This doctrine preserves in perpetuity the public use, enjoyment, and utilization of our waters, declaring all navigable waters as “common highways and forever free”, owned in common by all Wisconsin citizens. 

Shoreland Zoning – Summary PDF
The Shoreland Zoning ordinance limits the impervious surfaces to 15%, or to the percentage existing prior to new construction.  For example, many lots on the waterways in Green Lake County have 30% or more of impervious surfaces, so for new projects, property owners may be able to rebuild up to that same existing impervious surfaces percentage with a Land Use Permit. 

This policy is intended to account for and offset the impacts of paved, covered, or otherwise compacted areas within 300 feet of the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM).  Any structure that prevents the natural infiltration of precipitation is considered an impervious surface, unless it has been designed for water flow.

Impervious surfaces include decks, patios, walkway paths, graveled areas, driveways and parking areas, homes, garages, sheds, and boathouses, as well as others not listed.  Please direct specific shoreland questions to our Code Enforcement Officers. 

Permeable patios, engineered clear stone or infiltration swales, and other infiltration projects like rain gardens can count towards the mitigation requirement, bringing properties into compliance with this standard. Click to download the Treated Impervious Surfaces Policy as a PDF. 

One of the new allowances for property owners is the ability to responsibly develop the near-shore area.  New boathouses are allowed to be built, as long as the plans meet the ordinance criteria. Download this fact sheet to learn more, and contact our office with remaining questions. 
Boathouses in Green Lake County – PDF
Rain gardens
Here is a document created by the Wisconsin DNR and UW-Extension about designing rain gardens. Click HERE to download.

Recent Amendments:
04/18/2017 – Amended Chapter 338, Sections 47 through 50; those sections regulate shoreline development density standards not found in areas where Green Lake County has jurisdiction. Green Lake County was asked by the DNR to remove irrelevant portions of the Chapter to simplify our ordinance.
Useful Links Related to Shoreland Zoning:
Piers, Docks, and Wharves – External Link to DNR Website
UW-Extension - External Website has numerous fact sheets, handouts, pamphlets, and books about the importance of shoreline protection
Center for Land Use Education: Water - Webpage focusing on water in Wisconsin with a plethora of well-written PDF booklets, videos, and other links 
Video Series compiled by the Center for Land Use Education with the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point explaining the major changes to shoreland zoning made by the Wisconsin Legislature in 2015-2016. 
Part 1 - 9:30 minutes; focuses on introduction to shoreland zoning and the recent changes to required shoreland lot sizes
Part 2 - 13 minutes; focuses on changes to shoreland setbacks, vegetation protection, and impervious surface standards
Part 3 - 14 minutes; focuses on changes to standards to buildings located close to the shoreline 

Private Onsite Wastewater Treatment Systems (POWTS), are used for waste disposal systems in Green Lake County in the areas which do not have a public sewer system.  Green Lake County administers a program using guidelines and mandates set forth in the Code of Green Lake County Chapter 334 and Wisconsin Administrative Code SPS 381-387.  The purpose of the program is to protect our natural resources and to prevent human health hazards with proper construction and maintenance of POWTS. 

As required by Chapter 145.20(5)(b) the State of Wisconsin mandates that every Private On-site Wastewater Treatment System (POWTS) be inspected or pumped at least once every 3 years.  Inspections must be conducted by a licensed master plumber, journeyman plumber, or restricted plumber.  Pumping of a POWTS must be conducted by an operator of a septage servicing vehicle licensed under Chapter 281.47 Wis. Stats.


All property owners with a septic system are required by state law to have the system inspected for pumping at least once every three years. (Chapter SPS 383.52 of the Wisconsin State Legislature)

Download a list of licensed septage haulers here.  This is a list of licensed septage haulers (pumpers), generated in spring 2019 by the DNR, which is the governing and licensing agency for pumpers. 

Is the Grass Greener Over Your Septic System? - PDF detailing how different systems function and longevity tips for your system
Preventing Your System from Freezing - Helpful PDF outlining reasons an Onsite Sewage Treatment System would freeze, what to do if the system does freeze, and how to prevent a future freeze

Service Providers

POWTS Reporting - File Reports Here -Remember to check the right-hand corner at the bottom of the page to verify you are logged in to the system
April First Notices - This spreadsheet lists all of the POWTS reminder first notices (green cards) that were mailed for the month.  
April Final Notices - This spreadsheet lists all of the POWTS reminder final notices (green cards) that were mailed for the month.
April POWTS Maintenance Violations - This spreadsheet lists all “Failure to Maintain POWTS” violations mailed out for the month. 

Soil Evaluation Report - PDF
Sanitary Permit Application - PDF 
Existing POWTS Inspection Report - PDF
POWTS Management Plan - PDF
POWTS Maintenance Report - Field Worksheet - PDF

Anchoring Calculations - Excel file
Holding Tank - Excel file
In-Ground Gravity - Excel file
In-Ground with Lift - Excel file
In-Ground Pressure - Excel file
Mound - Excel file

Green Lake County is required by state statute to maintain and enforce a Floodplain Zoning Ordinance (Code of Green Lake County, Chapter 300).  The purpose of the floodplain zoning ordinance is multi-faceted. Per NR 116, the Floodplain Ordinance is intended to: provide a uniform basis for the preparation and implementation of sound floodplain regulations for all Wisconsin municipalities to protect life, health, and property; minimize expenditures of public monies for costly flood control projects; minimize rescue and relief efforts, generally undertaken at the expense of the general public; minimize business interruptions; minimize damage to public facilities such as water mains, sewer lines, streets and bridges; minimize the occurrence of future flood blight areas; discourage the victimization of unwary land and home buyers; and prevent increases in the regional flood from occurring which will increase flood damage and may result in conflict and litigation between landowners.

Floodplain Ordinance - PDF  – Click to download.  The ordinance language was clarified or modified to remain compliant with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  This adopts recent FEMA and WDNR changes to NR116, the Wisconsin State Statute requiring reasonable and effective floodplain zoning ordinances. Adopted and enacted June 19, 2018.
The County Surveyor's Office duties and responsibilities are outlined in the Wisconsin Statutes. The documents of the Original Government Survey in the 1830s, and the County Surveyor documents dating back to the late 1840s, along with current land survey documents are all part of the County Surveyor records. All land surveying entities must submit true and correct copies of their surveys to the County Surveyor within 60 days of completion for filing and indexing. All the County Surveyor records are public information and copies of any survey record shall be provided upon request for the appropriate fee or are available through the County's website at no fee.

Search and View Survey Office Records

Staff Contact:
Don Lenz
County Surveyor
Office Hours: Mondays, 9:30am-11:30am

“Land information" includes information relating to topography, soil, soil erosion, geology, minerals, vegetation, land cover, wildlife, associated natural resources, land ownership, land use, land use controls and restrictions, jurisdictional boundaries, tax assessment, land value, land survey records and references, geodetic control networks, aerial photographs, maps, planimetric data, remote sensing data, historic and prehistoric sites, and economic projections. Wis. Stats. section 16.967(1)(b)

Land Information Plans:


Retained Fee & Grant Reports:

Land Information Council (LIC):
Meeting Agendas & Minutes

Related Links:
Wisconsin Land Information Program (WLIP)
Wisconsin Land Information Association (WLIA)
Land Information Officers Network (LION)

Staff Contact:
Gerald Stanuch - GIS Specialist - Land Information Officer (LIO)

Land Information Gallery:

Comprehensive Plan
A comprehensive plan is designed to serve as a long-range policy guide to the physical development of a governmental unit, in this case, Green Lake County. It reflects the overall “vision” concerning future growth and land use. It establishes the goals, objectives and policy parameters within which local land use operates. 
Click to download the most recent Green Lake County Comprehensive Plan (2016) - PDF.

2017-05-16:  A proposed rezone (Commercial C-1 to Rural Residential R-4) required a Comprehensive Plan Amendment due to an inconsistency with the Comprehensive Plan’s Future Land Use Map.  This Amendment was approved, and the parcel was rezoned. 
2017-11-14:  A zoning map amendment project changed the zoning of several parcels in each zoned Town.  As a result, the Comprehensive Plan’s Zoning Maps needed to be updated.  Click to download and view the zoning maps that were incorporated into the Comprehensive Plan under this amendment. 

Historical Documents
2003 Comprehensive Plan - PDF

Farmland Preservation Plan
This establishes public policy in support of farmland preservation, agricultural development and the encouragement of a healthy agricultural economy. Wisconsin Statutes (Chapter 91) requires a county to develop and adopt a Farmland Preservation Plan in order for landowners in the County to be eligible for the farmland preservation programs offered by the state, including the provision of tax credits to participants.
This plan is part of a continuing effort by Green Lake County to participate in the State's Farmland Preservation Program in order to encourage a progressive yet sustainable agricultural economy. It is the intent of this plan to guide county decision-makers to make the best decisions for the benefit of the agricultural economy in Green Lake County.  Click to download the most recent Green Lake County Farmland Preservation Plan (2016) - PDF.

Certification Orders
Text Certification - Order from the State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, certifying farmland preservation plan ordinance text through December 31, 2027
Map Certification - Order from the State of Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection, certifying farmland preservation plan map through December 31, 2026

2017-11-14:  A zoning map amendment project changed the zoning of several parcels in each zoned Town.  As a result, certain parcels’ classification within the Farmland Preservation Plan’s maps needed to be updated.  These Town maps show how these parcels are now classified. 
2018-12-18: The City of Berlin dissolved their Extra Territorial Zoning Authority (ETZA) effective January 1, 2019.  As a result, the parcels under this jurisdiction returned to Green Lake County zoning authority and maps required updating.  See also Zoning Recent Amendments above. 

Historical Documents
1983 Farmland Preservation Plan - PDF