Annexation is the process of bringing parcels of unincorporated land under the jurisdiction of a city government contiguous with the land. Cities and villages in the state of Wisconsin cannot unilaterally annex territory unless the parcels are town islands which were in existence on December 2, 1973 or are owned by the municipality. Land which had previously been part of another municipality must first be detached prior to annexation by another municipality.

Direct annexation occurs when electors and property owners initiate it. A petition is signed by electors and property owners and then filed with the city or village requesting the described territory be annexed. The property is annexed only after the city or village’s governing board enacts annexation ordinance by a two-thirds vote. Owners in the proposed annexed property may also take the decision to a referendum, where a majority can halt annexation or allow it to proceed.


Detachment is the transfer of land from an incorporated city or village back to unincorporated town status. In the state of Wisconsin detachment can occur with publication of notice, a formal petition from landowners, and an ordinance by the town accepting the detached territory. It can also occur for Farm Lands involving at least 200 acres of agricultural land, but must also involve the city or village, a town, and a county circuit court.

More information can be found from Wisconsin Department of Administration

Board of Appeals (Variance)

The Board of Zoning Appeals is authorized to hear appeals in matters relating to zoning ordinances, variance requests to the terms of the zoning ordinance and to review zoning ordinance interpretations made by the Zoning Administrator. The Board schedules hearings on an as needed basis.

Certified Survey Maps

A Certified Survey Map consists of 4 or less parcels of land (designated as lots or outlots). They may be used to divide land for sale or exchange, create lots for development, clarify descriptions, reconfigure parcels, add land to an existing subdivision, consolidate parcels in adjoining areas, and define and convey interest in lands dedicated to the public. Approval of a CSM is required for any project.

Comprehensive Plan Amendment

Any amendment to the City of Waupaca Comprehensive Plan which deletes, supplements, or changes the text, land use map designations, or urban growth boundaries or takes an exception to a statewide land use.

Historic Preservation

Created under the City Zoning Code, the Historic Preservation Commission to oversee protection, enhancement, perpetuation, and use of improvements of structures and sites of special character or special architectural, archaeological, or historic interest or value is a public necessity and is required in the interest of the health, prosperity, safety, and welfare of the people.

Applications may be submitted to apply for historic preservation designation. A historic structure may include any improvement which has a special character or special historic interest. A historic site may be an parcel of land of historic significance due to a substantial value in tracing history or prehistory of man, or upon which a historic event has occurred and which has been designated as such, or part thereof, on which is situated a historic structure and any abutting improvement parcel, or part thereof, used as and constituting part of the premises on which the historic structure is situated.

An area designated by the Council, on recommendation of the Historic Preservation Commission, that contains 2 or more historic improvements or sites can be designated a Historic District.

A certificate of appropriateness helps maintain and restore lost or diminished architectural significance in the City of Waupaca. The certificate is required for projects that would alter the exterior appearance of a property designated as historic. This includes alterations, additions, demolitions, or relocations. This is not required for land use, interior alterations, or landscaping.


A Subdivision Plat is a map depicting the division of land creating five or more parcels within the City. Specifically, they show information about streets, both public and private right of ways. Plats have been used as an index to record changes. This includes such things as street widening and closures and new street dedications. Approval is required for all projects relating to subdivisions.

Planned Unit Development (PUD)

A Planned Unit Development is intended to encourage residential and commercial mixed use developments offering greater creativity and flexibility in site plan design than is provided under the strict application of zoning and subdivision regulations, while at the same time, preserving the health, safety, order, convenience, prosperity, and general welfare of the City. A development wishing to be designated a PUD must be approved through the rezoning process and finalized by the City Council.

Sewer Service Area Amendment

Sewer Service Area Plans serve as the long-term plan (20-40 years) for the community’s wastewater treatment plant and collection infrastructure. The primary purpose of this plan was to establish a sewer service boundary for the Waupaca area. This boundary sets the 20-year maximum limit for the extension of sanitary sewer services in a cost effective, environmentally sound manner. Quite simply, property located within the sewer service boundary line is eligible to receive sanitary sewer service during the 20-year planning period; any property lying outside the boundary would not be eligible to receive this utility service unless the boundary were amended. Thus, the sewer service boundary also functions as a community growth boundary for Waupaca since new development in the City must have sanitary sewer service.

Site Plan Review

A site plan shall be submitted to the Plan Commission for review and approval for the construction of any new building, except single-family and 2-family dwellings and accessory structures associated with single-family and 2-family dwellings, additions to existing buildings which increase the square footage of the existing building by 50% or more, and any addition or expansion to an existing building which does not increase the square footage of the existing building by 50% or more, but which results in a substantial modification to the property as determined by the Development Director.

Site Plan Applications are reviewed for requirements which include zoning, design standards, and floodplains. Review of Site Plans may also occur across other departments in the City of Waupaca depending on the application.

A use of land, buildings, or structure that because of its inherent nature, extent, and its external or ancillary effects requires special care in the control of its location, design, and methods of operation in order to ensure protection of the public health, safety, and welfare. Such uses shall only be permitted in a district after site specific review and is subject to special conditions as approved by the Plan Commission and City Council.

Site Plan Review for Change of Use -Nonresidential

For those times that a new structure is not being constructed and simply a new or different land use is occupying an existing building, the City does require a Change in Use Site Plan Application. This application is required before any land use begins its operations. EXAMPLES of when this application would be needed include, but are not limited to, a convenience store going into a building that was a hair salon, a duplex being created out of currently existing single-family home, or even a bakery going into a structure that previously was a bakery. ANY possible change in use of a property or structure shall receive change in use site plan approval. Single-Family Homes to Single Family Homes (change in ownership) do not require this application. The same holds true for the change in ownership of any residential land use so long as the classification is not changing.

Site Plan Review for CHANGE OF USE – Nonresidential

TID Amendment

Tax Incremental Financing is a financing tool available to cities, villages, and towns to encourage economic development that would not occur without public assistance.

The contiguous geographical area with the municipality consisting solely of whole units of property as are assessed for general property tax purposed make up each Tax Increment District. Currently there are 8 districts in the City of Waupaca.

Zoning Change

All property in the City is designated a zoning classification. Each zoning district permits certain use for that land. If desired use of a property is not permitted due to its current zoning, the owner may apply for a zoning change.

Application for Zoning Change


Comments are closed.

Close Search Window