Counties will often need to update local land use codes in response to changes in state law. Some counties find it difficult to keep pace with state changes due to limited staff resources. Out of date ordinances require county staff to directly apply state statute and rule which can be difficult and confusing to apply.
To help counties stay up to date, DLCD prepared model zones that show how state criteria can be incorporated into a local code. DLCD has also provided assistance to counties in updating their farm and forest zones. A consultant retained by DLCD worked with counties to review the zoning ordinance to identify sections that need to be updated. The consultant then prepared draft ordinance updates based on the model zones and helped facilitate review at a public hearing.
The model zones, provided below, were developed with input from county planners. They were tailored to address different requirements in each region of the state. The model zones contain provisions required by state statute and rule, and optional discretionary language which is in italic font.
DLCD provides code assistance to counties when funds become available. Non-participating counties also may be able to get help, as funds permit, with specific ordinance-related questions or zoning ordinance audits. Contact DLCD's Farm & Forest Land Specialist if your county has interest in an ordinance update or with questions.
Model Zones and User's Guide
User's guide and model zone publications are linked below. The user's guide gives guidance about the model zones and how counties can best use them to update their local ordinances. Comparison tables are also available which show changes in the model zones over time.