Zoning Department

Mission Statement

To promote and protect public health, safety and welfare, encourage orderly and sustainable economic growth and development, protect and preserve natural resources and geographic features, and encourage planned and orderly land use based on compatibility thereby safeguarding property values.

Zoning Department Updates

Comprehensive Revision: Shoreland Protection Ordinance

The Zoning Department has completed a comprehensive revision of the Shoreland Protection Ordinance.   Due to recent legislation being enacted the Ordinance was no longer compliant with NR 115, the shoreland zoning standards adopted by the State of Wisconsin.  The final draft of the Shoreland Protection Ordinance has been reviewed and approved by the WI DNR for adoption by Buffalo County.  

An initial Public Hearing for public comment before the Land Use Committee is scheduled for February 11, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. in the third floor County Board Room at the Buffalo County Courthouse in Alma, Wisconsin, to solicit comments on the proposed comprehensive revision of the Ordinance.  Written comments may also be submitted to the zoning department via mail or email.  

It is anticipated that the Buffalo County Board of Supervisors will consider adoption of the Ordinance on March 28, 2022, at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Board.   

The Shoreland Protection Ordinance is posted below for your review.  

Shoreland Protection Ordinance- Final Draft

Additional reading material:

Wisconsin Biology T3echnical Note 1: Shoreland Habitat

Shoreland Zoning Effectiveness, DNR

Recent Zoning Ordinance Amendments

Zoning Ordinance Amendment- Ordinance # 19-08-01


The Zoning Department is responsible for the administration of the Buffalo County Zoning Ordinance which establishes the controls for most types of land use and development within all unincorporated areas of the county. To view the zoning ordinance, click the link below.

Other ordinances administered within the Department as stand-alone ordinances include:

The State of Wisconsin has mandated that counties are responsible for the administration of several State Statutes that have local as well as more far reaching land use considerations and effects. Those Statutes/Ordinances include:

Conditional Use / Variance and Rezone Applications
Applicants seeking a Conditional Use Permit*, Variance, Special Exception Permit or Rezone are required to present their proposal and permit application to the appropriate Town Board within which the property and proposed use is located. 

Following is the link to the required form:
 Towns Acknowledgement Form 

The Zoning Department will not place the application on the Board of Adjustment agenda until the applicant fulfills this requirement and the form is returned to the Zoning Department.

Town Zoning District Maps

Click on a Town link below to open and download a map.