Communication Tower Information

New Tower Applications

Prospective applicants for a cell tower Conditional Use Permit (CUP) should arrange a pre-application meeting with staff before submitting a formal application (see staff contact info, below). The pre-application meeting provides an opportunity to review the application and decision-making process, and to identify any potential issues of concern, including a proposal’s consistency with the county’s tower ordinance and comprehensive plan.

Cell towers are available as a conditional use in the following zoning districts:

  • A-2 Agriculture
  • C-1 Commercial
  • C-2 Commercial
  • M-1 Industrial
  • CO-1 Conservancy

Proposals for a tower CUP are subject to town board and county Zoning & Land Regulation Committee review and action (approval / denial). In addition, all tower CUP proposals are subject to review against the standards established in section 10.255(2)(h), Dane County Code of Ordinances.

The county’s tower ordinance is designed to limit the proliferation of cell towers without compromising necessary cellular infrastructure and services. Some highlights of the county tower ordinance include:

  • Applicants must demonstrate that no suitable tower or other tall structure exists in the search ring.
  • Applications are forwarded to a 3rd party Radio Frequency engineering consultant to determine technical consistency with the tower ordinance. Applicants are responsible for all reasonable costs and expenses associated with 3rd party consultation. Failure to pay such costs and expenses shall be grounds for denial or revocation of a Conditional Use Permit.
  • All new towers must provide, at a minimum, two additional collocation spots at a minimum height of 150’ above ground level (AGL).
  • Proposals requiring less height must engineer and construct the tower so as to be extendable to over 150’ to accommodate future collocating carrier(s), should the additional height be necessary.
  • Equipment shelters are limited in size to no more than 14’ in height and 314 sqft of floor area / carrier locating on the tower.
  • The county zoning committee may require applicants to provide information regarding plans for future tower construction in the county.

Collocation and Equipment Modifications on Existing Towers

Most proposed collocations or equipment modifications on an existing tower do not require a Dane County zoning permit. Per statutory limitations imposed on local regulation of cell towers under section 66.0404 Wis. Stats., no Dane County zoning permit is required for equipment upgrades / swaps or collocations on existing towers. However, a local building permit may be required from the township in which the tower is located. Project managers are encouraged to contact the applicable town clerk or building inspector prior to proceeding with a project.

Proposals that involve expanding the height of an existing tower, or installation of a new equipment shelter, do require a Dane County zoning permit.

For additional information, please refer to the county tower ordinance and new cell tower application materials, below. Individuals with questions regarding the county tower ordinance, equipment modifications, collocations, pending tower proposals, or prospective applicants wishing to arrange a pre-application meeting, should contact:

Majid Allan, Senior Planner
Phone: 608-267-2536 / Email: