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Chapter 35 - Airport Zoning

Airport Zoning Ordinance, Taylor County, Wisconsin

35.01 TITLE. This ordinance shall be known, cited and referred to as THE TAYLOR COUNTY AIRPORT ZONING ORDINANCE.

35.02 PURPOSE. It is the purpose of this ordinance to regulate the use of property and to regulate and restrict the height of structures and objects of natural growth in the vicinity of the Taylor County Airport, to promote the public health, safety, convenience and general welfare to increase safety in the use of the airport and to protect persons and property within the airport affected area and zoning districts.

35.03 STATUTORY AUTHORIZATION. This ordinance, designed to protect the approaches, airspace and hazard areas of the Taylor County Airport is adopted pursuant to Sections 59.97, 59.99 and 114.136 of the Wisconsin Statutes.

35.04 JURISDICTION. The jurisdiction of this ordinance shall extend over all lands and waters within three (3) statute miles from the end of the runways at the Taylor County Airport. (Airport Affected Area is by definition the above mentioned area pursuant to Section 62.23(6)(b)).

35.05 DEFINITIONS. Word used in the present tense includes the future, words in the singular number include the plural number and words in the plural number include the singular. The word "shall" is mandatory, not permissive. All distances, unless otherwise specified, shall be measured horizontally.

(1) "Administrator". The Taylor County Zoning Administrator.

(2) "Clerk". Local Clerk of the affected township.

(3) "Airport." The Taylor County Airport located in Section 7, Township 30 North, Range 2 East, Taylor County, Wisconsin.

(4) "Airport Affected Area." The area located within three (3) statute miles of the end of the runways of the airport.

(5) "Airport Hazard." Any structure or object, whether man-made or natural, or use of land which obstructs the airspace required for the flight of aircraft in landing or taking off at the airport or is otherwise hazardous to such landing and taking off.

(6) Construction." The erection or alteration of any structure or objects either of permanent or temporary character.

(7) "Code and Ordinance." For purpose of this ordinance the terms always refers to the Taylor County Code.

(8) "Person." Any individual, firm, partnership, corporation, company, association, joint stock association or body politic and includes any spouse, partner, trustee, receiver, assignee, or other similar representative thereof.

(9) "Preexisting permitted use." Any use of land lawfully in existence at the time of this ordinance or amendment thereto becomes effective. Nonconforming structures if destroyed, shall conform to this ordinance if reconstructed.

(10) "Runway." A portion of the airport having a surface specifically developed and maintained for the taxiing, landing and taking off of aircraft.

(11) "Structure." Any object constructed or installed by man.

(12) "Tree." Any objects of natural growth, except farm crops which are cut once a year, and except shrubs and foliage which do not grow to a height of more than twenty (20) feet.

(13) "Woodlot." The following Iands of Section 7, Township 30 North, Range 2 East, as long as they are covered predominantly by trees. Government Lot 2 EX COM 740' section of NW COR, E 75' S200’ W 75'N 200' to BEG, EX BEG at NE COR 2 CHS 1 LK E & W & 19 CHS 94 LKS N & section, EX Hwy "13" R/W 131/578 and SW 1/4 SE 1/4 EX owned by Taylor County for Airport and SE 1/4 SE 1/4.

(14) "Variance." An authorization granted by the Board of Adjustments to construct, alter, or use a building or structure in a manner that deviates from the standards of this chapter.

35.06 GENERAL PROVISIONS. Use Restrictions.

(1) Persons constructing or purchasing any dwelling, structure, or land within District A are advised that such dwelling, structure or land is situated in the flight approach/departure area of an airport. Airport by its operation may cause noise or damage to dwellings or structures or may impact adversely on the health of animals in District A. Taylor County, its officers, agents or employees, will not be responsible for noise or damage of any description whatsoever as a result of aircraft operations. Construction is defined in Section 35.05 Subsection 5 above.

(2) Not withstanding any other provisions of this ordinance, no use may be made of the land or water within any districts established by these zoning regulations in such a manner as to create electrical or electronic interference with navigational signals or radio or radar communication between the airport and aircraft; or use of which emit or discharge smoke or which would otherwise be detrimental or injurious to the health, safety and welfare of the public in use of the airport.

(3) Severability. If any of the provisions of this chapter or the application thereof to any persons or circumstances is held invalid, such invalidity shall not effect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect with the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are declared to be severable.

(4) All cost associated with the implementation and enforcement of this ordinance shall be the responsibility of Taylor County and not to be an unfunded mandate on the affected towns.


(1) All zones established by this section are as shown on the map dated March 30, 1994 and entitled "Height Limitation Zoning Map, Taylor County Airport, Medford, Wisconsin," which are located in and can be obtained from the Administrator's or Airport Manager's offices.

(2) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no structure shall be constructed, altered, located or permitted to remain after such construction, alteration or location, and no trees (except in the woodlots) shall be allowed to grow to a height in excess of the height depicted on the Height Limitation Zoning Map referred to in this section.


(1) Nothing contained herein shall require any change in the construction or alteration of any structure, if the construction or alteration of such was begun prior to the effective date of this chapter, if such is diligently prosecuted.

(2) Partial destruction. The owner of any preexisting permitted use, building, structure, tree or plan which, as a result of fire, explosion or other casualty is destroyed, shall be allowed to rebuild, reconstruct or rehabilitate the same preexisting permitted use of the same parcel, provided the following requirements are met:

(a) The preexisting permitted use complies with the height limitation imposed by this chapter and a statement showing such compliance is signed by the Administrator prior to any rebuilding, reconstructing or rehabilitation.

(b) The preexisting permitted use that is rebuilt, reconstructed, or rehabilitated is suggested that it complies with construction techniques that provide a minimum of ten (10) decibels of noise reduction over the State of Wisconsin One and Two Family Dwelling Code.

(3) Expansion of Preexisting Permitted Uses. Any preexisting permitted uses, as described in this ordinance, may be expanded, altered or otherwise enlarged as long as the following requirements are met:

(a) The expansion, alteration or enlarging meets the requirements of height limitation zoning and a statement showing such compliance is signed by the Administrator prior to the expansion, alteration or enlargement.

(b) The expansion, alteration or enlargement in no way increases or creates any hazard within the airspace required for the flight of aircraft in landing or takeoff or creates or increases any potential hazard to persons assembled within the preexisting permitted use.

(4) Nothing in this section shall interfere with or prevent the removal of preexisting permitted uses by purchase or the use of eminent domain.


(1) The administration of this ordinance requires the cooperation of the Administrator. The Administrator shall either approve or disapprove the proposed development based upon land use recommendations contained in this ordinance, within fourteen (14) working days, EXCEPT approval by the Administrator is not necessary for any structure located within the City of Medford and the Village of Stetsonville which is less than 150 feet in height.

(2) If the proposed development is approved by the Administrator and meets the requirements of the affected municipality, a building permit may be issued by the municipality. If the proposed development is not approved, no building permit shall be issued.


(1) Applications for variances shall be made to the Administrator upon a form furnished by him. Applications shall be forthwith transmitted to the Administrator and the Airport Manager to be forwarded to the Board of Adjustments.

(2) Variances and appeals shall be handled in accordance with Sections 31.18 and 31.19, respectively, of this code. Any variances, changes or amendments to alter, supplement or change the boundaries or the use of districts or the regulations of this chapter shall be conducted pursuant to Section 31.22 of this code.


(1) No person, firm or corporation shall erect or cause to be erected any structure over forty (40) feet in height, as measured at the highest point at the object site, within the shaded areas and labeled with the letter "E", of the Height Limitation Map referred to in Section 35.07 of this code without registering his intent before construction commences on a form provided by the Administrator. The Administrator shall inform the registrant if the structure is in violation of this chapter or other rules or laws. A structure may be built up to the height limitation indicated on the Height Limitation Zoning Map. The Administrator shall send a record of such construction proposals to the Airport Manager and the proper agencies as required.

(2) A non-conforming structure may be repaired, rebuilt, altered or extended provided the structure will not be higher than the limits established on the effective date of this ordinance. Every such project shall be registered with the Administrator before it is commenced.


The County may, at its own expense, install, operate and maintain such markers, lights and other aids to navigation as may be necessary to indicate to flyers the presence of an airport hazard, if such action is deemed advisable by the Airport Committee, or the Federal Aviation Administration.


Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction, forfeit not less than $50.00 nor more than $500.00 for such offense, together with the costs of prosecution, and in default of payment of such forfeiture and costs of prosecution shall be imprisoned in the county jail until said forfeiture and costs are paid, but not to exceed thirty (30) days of each violation. Each day of the violation shall constitute a separate violation for the purposes of the forfeiture and incarceration.


(1) For the purpose of this ordinance, the lands and waters within three (3) statute miles from the end of the runways of the airport and divided into the following zoning districts.

(a) District A Height/Noise Cone/Approach & Departure Zone

(b) District B Height/Overflight/Noise

(c) District C Height/Noise

(2) District A west is a trapezoidal shape 500' wide at the base nearest the runway and 2000' wide, 4750' from the end of the runway. The remaining three areas in District A are trapezoidal shapes 500' wide at the base nearest the runway and 2,000' wide, 5,200' from the end of the runway.

(3) District B extends out at least 850’ and not more than 2350' from District A. The distance varies for each runway and is set forth on the map entitled "Land Use Zoning Map, Taylor County Airport, Medford, Wisconsin," dated August 4, 1995 and a revised date of July 31, 1997.

(4) District C includes all areas within three (3) statute miles of the end of the runways of the airport.


(1) The location of the boundaries of the districts established by this ordinance are set forth on the map entitled "Land Use Zoning Map, Taylor County Airport, Medford, Wisconsin," dated August 4, 1995, and a revised date of July 31, 1997 and is incorporated herein made part of this ordinance. The map is available for inspection at the Taylor County Zoning Office located at the Taylor County Courthouse or the Airport Office. The Zoning District Map shall overlay existing municipal zoning districts.

(2) Where a conflict exists between any of these zoning regulations and any other regulations or ordinances applicable to the same site, whether the conflict be with respect to the height of structures or growth, the use of land or any other matter, the more stringent regulation or ordinance shall govern and prevail.


(1) District boundary lines are the centerlines of highways, roads, pavements or section, division of section, tract and lot lines, or such lines extended, as applicable or as otherwise indicated.

(2) Where a district line divides a lot, parcel or series of contiguous lots or parcels in a single ownership or where at least one common owner exists on the date of the adoption of this ordinance, the property owner may request a change in the zoning, such request shall be in written form. The Zoning Committee shall review the proposed rezoning based upon documentation submitted by the property owner.


(1) Any amendment of the underlying municipal zoning ordinances shall follow the procedure contained in Section 59.97(5)(e) of the Wisconsin Statutes.

(2) Any amendment of the underlying municipal zoning ordinance that affects any district created by this ordinance shall require the Administrator to notify the Airport Manager prior to adoption. If the proposed amendment would conflict with this ordinance, cause potential harm to aircraft or aircraft operations or result in incompatible land usage, the Airport Manager shall file a protest against the proposed amendment. The protest shall detail the reasons thereof. The municipality considering the amendment shall consider such protest equal to any protest filed pursuant to Wisconsin State Statute 60.61(4)(2), and follow the procedures contained therein.


(1) The purpose of the zoning districts is to protect and provide for the public health, safety, convenience and general welfare.

(2) Mapping of the districts also takes into account the need to protect the approaches to the airport from incompatible land uses that would limit or adversely affect the airport's ability to serve its present and future air transportation needs.


(1) District A is mapped to encompass areas which, due to the operation of aircraft, will be exposed to excessive noise or are within the approach and departure areas.

(2) Permitted uses. In addition to the limitations on development and uses contained in the underlying zone, uses allowed in this zone are limited to:

(a) Residential construction or purchase of preexisting single family structures or dwellings. It is suggested that construction techniques provide a minimum of five (5) decibel noise reduction over the industry standard for similar structures.

(b) Agriculture, including incidental non-residential facilities, with exceptions mentioned in paragraph 5.e.

(c) Floriculture, horticulture, silvaculture, hatcheries, orchards, and game farms.

(d) Mining and excavation.

(e) Transportation routes.

(f) Parking lots and facilities.

(g) Airport owned or operated facilities.

(h) Limited commercial, including the following:

1. Automotive related; body repair shops, parts and supply distributors, rental/leasing agencies, sales and service.

2. Bakeries.

3. Commercial printing.

4. Construction; general building contractors.

5. Florists.

6. Furniture repair and upholstery.

7. Greenhouses.

8. Landscaping services.

9. Laundry cleaning and garment services.

10. Wholesale lawn and garden supply.

11. Wholesale lumber and construction materials.

12. Machinery equipment and supplies.

13. Mail order house.

14. Manufactured/Mobile home sales-only.

15. Motor vehicle sales.

16. Newspaper publishing and printing.

17. Plumbing, heating equipment and supply.

18. Service industries for the printing trade.

19. Veterinary services.

20. Golf courses and related club houses.

(3) Any other commercial activity that does not encourage concentrations of people and is found appropriate by the Administrator and provided the proposed developments meets the following requirements;

(a) The affected parcel is zoned for that use by the underlying municipal zoning ordinance.

(b) All enclosed office, sales and work areas that will be subject to a minimum of four (4) hours of continuous human occupancy per workday, is suggested to utilize construction techniques that provide a minimum of twenty (20) decibels noise reduction over the industry standards for similar projects.

(4) The following, assuming the site is zoned for that use by the underlying zoning ordinance;

(a) Industrial park

(b) Light industry

(c) Heavy industry

(5) Uses specifically prohibited are;

(a) Churches, hospitals, schools, theaters, amphitheaters, stadiums, and campgrounds.

(b) Places of public assembly and any other use, which may be susceptible to being adversely affected by loud and extensive noise or would interfere in the operation of the airport.

(c) Landfills, garbage dumps, offal dump sites and other similarly licenses or titled facilities used for operations to process, bury, store or otherwise dispose of waste, trash, and refuse that would attract birds or rodents. Any facility, that would when ignited, discharge smoke and be considered to be a hazard to navigation of aircraft in taking off and landing phases of flight at the airport. The above stated uses shall be prohibited from being established within 10,000 feet of any runway end, or within a radius of five statute miles from the end of any runway where such site has been determined to sustain hazardous bird movements from feeding, water and roosting areas into, or across the runways and/or approach and departure patterns of aircraft, or to the extent of the municipal jurisdiction of Taylor County. The prohibition of these facilities shall supersede any other provision of this ordinance, and is adopted to the same, pursuant U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration Order 5200.5A.

(d) Use or installation of flashing or illuminated advertising or business signs, billboards, lights, or other types of illuminated structures, which would be hazardous for pilots in distinguishing between airport lights and others, or which result in glare in the eyes of pilots using the airport, thereby impairing visibility in the vicinity of the airport or endangering the landing, taking off, or aircraft operations.

(e) Mink and poultry production.


(1) District B shall be mapped to include areas subject to noise levels resulting from frequent overflights of aircraft and to encourage land uses which, with proper noise reduction techniques incorporated into construction, will not be adversely affected by such noise and are compatible with the airport's activities and operations.

(2) Permitted uses. All uses permitted in District A shall be permitted in District B.

(3) Residential uses are permitted that meet the following criteria;

(a) Density. Dwelling lots shall be a minimum of one (1) acre in size pursuant Section 33.08 of this code, with the exception of parcels in existence prior to the date of this ordinance.

(b) It is suggested that construction techniques provide a minimum of five (5) decibel noise reduction over the industry standard for similar structures.

(4) Commercial activity that is in accord with the underlying municipal zoning ordinance: including manufacturing, transportation facilities, retailing services, utilities, warehousing and wholesaling, provided the following criteria is met;

(a) Density. Commercial lots shall be minimum of one (1) acre in size pursuant Section 33.08 of this code, with the exception of lots in existence prior to the date of this ordinance.

(b) All enclosed office, sales and work areas that will be subject to a minimum of four (4) continuous hours of human occupancy per working day is suggested that construction techniques provide a minimum of five (5) decibel noise reduction over the industry standard for similar structures.

(5) Industry that meets the requirement of one (1) acre lot size minimum.


(1) District C shall be mapped to include all areas within three (3) statute miles of the end of the runways of the airport, which includes Districts A and B. Whenever a property owner within three (3) statute miles applies for a building permit, it is recommended that the owner be informed by the clerk of the township where the property is located, or by the Building inspector for the City of Medford if the property is located within the City of Medford, whichever is appropriate, to contact the Administrator so that the Administrator may inform the property owner of construction or remodeling techniques that would decrease the noise associated with the airport operation. Notices will be provided to the clerks and to the City of Medford Building Inspector for distribution, informing landowners to contact the Zoning Administrator or the Airport Manager for height and land-use restrictions.

(2) Permitted use. All uses permitted in the underlying municipal zone of the affected community, provided the use meets the airport's height restrictions.


This zoning ordinance and the regulations contained herein shall become effective and declared in force after concurrence and publication by the Taylor County Board of Supervisors.

If at any time after the effective date of this ordinance any changes are proposed, the Clerks of the following townships will be notified in writing: Deer Creek, Little Black, Medford, Village of Stetsonville and the City of Medford.

History: Repealed and Recreated, Ordinance 420, 8/98