All areas of Dane County are assigned a zoning district classification. Each zoning district allows for specific land use to occur on the property. Some land uses are listed as “permitted uses”, meaning no special approval is needed to conduct the activity within the respective zoning district. Other land uses are listed as “conditional uses”. Conditional uses may or may not be appropriate on a property, depending on the circumstances. Due to the potential for negative impacts to adjacent properties for uses already permitted, conditional uses require special consideration and additional approvals by the Town and County.
For instance, a school could be an amenity to a residential area, however, traffic and noise may have a negative impact on the neighborhood. Therefore, a school would be listed as a conditional use. Through the review process, conditions may be placed on the school to mitigate anticipated concerns.
The Town and the County review proposed Conditional Use applications for compatibility with surrounding properties. As part of that review, there are certain standards that have to be met in order for a Conditional Use Permit to be granted (see below). The burden of proof is on the applicant to provide “substantial evidence” to demonstrate that the proposed land use can coexist in harmony with the neighborhood and meet all of the required standards. A proposal may be denied if it fails to meet one or more of the standards or if it is found to be incompatible with existing neighboring land uses. In addition, LACK OF INFORMATION MAY LEAD TO A DENIAL OF THE PROPOSAL.
Applicants are encouraged to contact county staff to discuss the proposal prior to submitting an application. Below is a summary of the information that is required to be submitted with an application (see attachment). County staff will inform you if additional information may be required depending on the type of proposal or features of the property. Please note that additional information is required for mineral extraction or communication towers.
A letter explaining how the eight (8) standards of obtaining a CUP are being met. (See below)
Narrative on operations: Explain, in detail, the business or planned activity; provide proposed hours of operation; anticipated number of employees and patrons; any outside activities or storage; and any noise, odors, or debris created as part of the activity. Explain how storm water, trash, traffic, or hazardous materials will be handled.
Site Plan/Operations Plan: Provide a scaled map showing all existing or proposed buildings; driveways and parking areas; greenspace; detention basins; sanitary systems; outdoor storage areas; outdoor activity areas; refuse area; exterior lighting locations; proposed screening; and improvements to control traffic or vehicular movement.
Neighborhood map: Provide a map showing existing zoning on surrounding lands and label existing land uses.
Building plans: If there are any buildings proposed, provide an elevation drawing of the building. Interior layout of building may be needed to describe indoor activities.
Other information: Specific studies may be needed to address committee or public concerns. Traffic, sound, groundwater, lighting, storm water, soils, or wetland studies may be needed to determine whether the land use is feasible in the location. Please consult with County Staff prior to conducting studies.
The proposed conditional use must meet ALL eight standards listed below in order to obtain a conditional use permit (CUP). If, after reviewing the proposal, the Town or County Zoning Committee find that the proposed use cannot meet all of the standards, the CUP application will be denied. If all the standards are met, the permit application will be approved. In many cases, specific limitations or conditions will be required to followed to ensure that the standards are met. As part of the permit application, applicants are required to explain in writing how the proposal meets the standards.
Standard 1 The proposed land use will not be detrimental to or endanger the neighborhood health, safety, comfort, or general welfare. Explain how the proposed land use will fit into the neighborhood. If there is going to be lighting, noise, outdoor storage, traffic, or other outside activities, explain how the activities will be limited to a reasonable level.
Standard 2 The uses, values and enjoyment of other properties in the neighborhood already permitted shall be in no foreseeable manner be substantially impaired or diminished by establishment, maintenance or operation of the proposed conditional use. Explain how the proposed land use will fit into the neighborhood and what will be done to avoid potential nuisances, such as limiting the hours of operation, noise control measures, paving the parking area, or the screening of outdoor storage.
Standard 3 The establishment of the conditional use will not impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district. Explain how the proposed land use will not interfere with the development of the surrounding property. It’s possible that there may already be limitations on development on the surrounding properties such as being deed restricted to just agriculture.
Standard 4 There are adequate utilities, access roads, drainage, and other necessary improvements to allow the land use, or improvements are planned to provide adequate measures. Explain what impact the proposed use has on such things as water, septic, storm water, electricity, and traffic. Provide information on improvements that may be needed or if additional buildings are needed.
Standard 5 Adequate measures have been or will be taken to provide adequate ingress /egress to public streets and the proposed conditional use will not present traffic conflicts. Provide information on vehicle traffic that the proposed use will generate. Include frequency and types of vehicles.
Standard 6 The conditional use shall conform to all applicable regulations of the district in which it is located. Provide information on any necessary licensing, or regulations associated with the proposed land use. Explain any buffering or screening that will be installed as part of the proposed use.
Standard 7 The conditional use is consistent with the adopted Town and County Comprehensive Plans. The Town and the County may have specific policies on the development of particular areas of the county. Please provide any specifics that relate to the conditional use.
Standard 8 If the conditional use is to be located in a Farmland Preservation District, the conditional use must meet the findings as listed below: If the property is located in the FP-35, FP-1, or FP-B Zoning District, additional information is needed.
The process to obtain a CUP takes approximately three (3) months. Both the Town and County will be involved in the review process. (See flow chart below.) Please note that the decisions made will be based on factual information and substantial evidence presented.
Note: It may be required that site plans show additional detail, including, but not limited to contours, drainage, screening, fences, landscaping, lighting, signs, refuse dumpsters, and possible future expansion areas.