Planning & Development Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

In light of the emerging COVID-19 crisis, the Dane County Planning & Development office will be CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC effective 4:30pm, Wednesday March 18th. Department staff will continue to answer questions and process zoning applications via phone and email, where possible.

Rural Address Application and Address Supplies

What is rural addressing?

The Dane County Department of Planning and Development is responsible for assigning and issuing addresses for properties located in the county’s 33 unincorporated towns, including any lands within an extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction. Proper rural numbering is essential for local delivery of USPS mail, private delivery services, utility providers, and emergency services. Fire, EMS, and Police responders rely heavily on the accuracy and predictability of rural addresses.

How are rural addresses assigned?

Rural addresses are assigned to structures. Dane County does not assign addresses to unimproved land. A grid system, with the grid starting at zero, south to north, and also east to west, at the southeastern corner of the county is used to assign addresses. As addresses are charted from the zero starting point, numbers increase south to north, and east to west. The grid runs in 20 foot intervals, with each increment of this distance resulting in assignment of the next number. For meandering roads that do not fit neatly to the imaginary grid, the entire length of the road is charted as either north-south, or east-west, with addresses assigned accordingly. In some instances, addresses are charted on a case-by-case basis.

To properly chart a new address, several factors are considered including: existing addresses; the existing grid numbers from county maps; the exact location of the driveway intersection with the named road; and existing addresses using the same driveway. In subdivisions, previously assigned addresses in adjacent plats must also be considered. There are numerous duplicate road names, including some in the same general geographical area, so care must be taken to avoid confusing number duplication. All of the above factors are part of the necessary steps to properly assign rural addresses.

How do I obtain a new rural address?

The majority of rural addresses are assigned at the time a Dane County Zoning Permit is issued. The fee for the address assignment and supplies is included in the fee for the zoning permit, and no additional application materials are required.

If a structure does not require the issuance of a Dane County Zoning Permit, such as for properties located in an extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction, or in a Town not subject to County Zoning, the form below should be used to request a rural address:

Rural Address Assignment Application

My Town has “opted-out” of Dane County Zoning. What is my address?

The following memo provides policy information for Towns that have opted-out of Dane County Zoning:

Dane County Opt-Out and ETZ address requests policy

Where can I get replacement address supplies?

Dane County Zoning offers replacement address supplies at cost to County property owners. Property owners are to post their address according to County standards and are responsible for the maintenance of the sign. If you post or placard becomes damaged or is missing you may order replacement supplies using the following form:

Address Supplies Order Form

Additional Rural Address Information

Rural address regulations are found in Chapter 76 of the Dane County Code of Ordinances. The information on this page should be used as a guide. The official regulations enforced are found in the ordinance.

Address Placard Placement Information