The purpose of zoning is to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the community. Zoning regulations prevent problems by separating incompatible land uses and foster quality development through standards for yards, building heights, density, parking, and other similar means.

Zoning is a system which defines the use of parcels of land by assigning them a zoning classification.  For instance, an R-2 classification is a Single-Family Residential District

Each district defines the land use for that particular district. It specifies the type of building that can be constructed, the distance from property lines it must observe, the height of the building,  the minimum square footage of a building, etc. In other words, each district specifies what is allowed to be built or used as (permitted use), what is allowed with special permission (conditional use) and what is prohibited.

There are 5 majors divisions in zoning: Manufacturing/Industrial, Business, Residential, Conservancy, Public Lands.

For detailed information regarding zoning please click here for our Zoning Code Book. (Scroll down until you get to the correct zoning district.)

The Zoning Code does have a provision for special circumstances.

This provision is called a "variance". You must submit an application form, along with the appropriate fee, to the Building Inspector. Once the application has been reviewed, you will be placed on the agenda for the next available Board of Zoning Appeals meeting.

City of Waukesha Board of Zoning Appeals: The Board, by ordinance, has five members appointed by the Mayor subject to confirmation by the Council. The Board meets the first Monday of each month at 3:30 PM in Room 207 of City Hall. The Planning Department provides staffing for the Board. The deadline for applications is the third Friday prior to the meeting.

The function of the Board of Zoning Appeals is to hear petitions for variances from the zoning code requirements. After hearing the case presented by the applicant they make a ruling to grant the variance if a hardship has been proven or to deny the variance requested. The Board also grants and reviews various conditional use permits as well as home occupation permits for those who wish to operate a business from their home.

The standards established in the zoning regulations are based on the policies of the Comprehensive Plan. Zoning is a tool to help achieve the objectives of the plan.

Zoning Review: A zoning review is done when a building permit is applied for to make sure that the proposal complies with zoning regulations. Additionally, some districts require review and approval by the City Plan Commission.

Need more information? Email our department or call us directly at (262) 524-3530.

Further Information

Permits Codes ADAAG
Permit Fees Code Illustrations BOZA
Licenses Required State Certification Housing