Zoning Code Re-Write Project

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Our proposed zoning code is designed to allow Middleton to grow while protecting the things we love. It reflects modern development and land use practices that create opportunities for innovation and redevelopment, encourage mixed-use development and walkability, promote a range of housing options, enhance stormwater management, and foster community sustainability and resilience. Click here for an informative Project Overview

Project Snapshot  (updated February 18, 2024)

On January 16, the Common Council reviewed the final drafts of the zoning, sign, and outdoor lighting ordinances as well as the proposed zoning map (see links to these documents below).  Given that numerous substantive changes have been made to the ordinances since the initial public hearing last November, the Common Council will hold a public hearing on the final drafts of the ordinances and the zoning map on Tuesday, February 20, at 7:30 p.m. (hearing notice).  Council members may consider adopting the ordinances and the new zoning map following the hearing.  The Plan Commission endorsed all the changes at their February 13 meeting. In addition to the memo summarizing substantive changes to the ordinances, Planning staff have updated the Frequently Asked Questions / Summary Guide pertaining to the zoning ordinance and map.


The City’s zoning regulations have been largely unchanged since the 1980s. To help implement the City’s 2021 Comprehensive Plan, Planning & Community Development staff have worked with a consultant (Vandewalle & Associates) to rewrite the entire zoning ordinance and create a new zoning map, as well as to overhaul the City's sign code (Chapter 19) and outdoor lighting code (Chapter 33).  Upon adoption of the new zoning ordinance, any property within the City of Middleton that is not part of a Planned Development District will be assigned a new zoning classification.

To help draft the new ordinance, staff met periodically with an informal workgroup comprised of one representative of the Plan Commission, Sustainability Committee, and the Zoning Board of Appeals.  Starting in spring 2023, the full Plan Commission began providing guidance with respect to key policy issues related to the three ordinances, and project staff subsequently worked to edit the draft ordinances to address feedback provided by workgroup participants, commissioners, and the city attorney.  City staff posted an initial working draft of the zoning ordinance in late July, with the first official full draft released on August 22. 

In September, eight city committees and commissions provided feedback on the draft ordinances related to their areas of focus.  City officials then held five "open houses" (two at Kromrey Middle School, three at the Middleton Library) to provide information about the project, respond to questions, and accept feedback. The Plan Commission provided guidance for improving the ordinances at their September 26, October 10, October 24, November 14, November 28, and December 12 meetings (see meeting minutes below). A public hearing on the three ordinances was held at the November 14 meeting. 

On December 12, the Plan Commission recommended that the Common Council adopt the three ordinances after staff made a few revisions. Commissioners also finalized the Official Zoning Map, deciding that the majority of the 2159 Allen Blvd. parcel (the former soccer fields next to Marshall Park) should be zoned Mixed-Use Avenue (MU-A) with the eastern 120 feet to be zoned Multi-Family Low Density (MR-L. Following the Dec. 12 meeting, Planning staff identified a few additional ways to improve the zoning and outdoor lighting ordinances to enhance language clarity and promote consistency in how the ordinances will be administered.  These revisions are documented in the December 27 Planning staff memo and January 2 supplemental memo. On January 2, 2024, the Common Council requested that staff make a few more revisions to the zoning ordinance and the sign ordinance, and they then endorsed these changes in concept at their January 16 meeting.  A public hearing on the final drafts of all three ordinances and the zoning map is scheduled for February 20, 2024.

Ordinances and Related Documents  

Zoning Ordinance (proposed to replace Chapter 10) and Zoning Map 
Final Draft Zoning Ordinance (published on 01/17/24, following the Council's "first reading" of the ordinance)
Draft Zoning Map (revised in response to Council feedback on 01/02/24)

Previous Drafts: 
8/22/23 version (first version of full zoning ordinance); 
10/25/23 version (subject of Nov. 14 public hearing); 
12/27/23 version (as recommended by the Plan Commission with minor subsequent revisions)

Sign Ordinance (proposed to replace Chapter 22)
Final Draft Sign Ordinance (published 01/17/24, following the Council's "first reading" of the ordinance)

Previous Drafts: 
9/20/23 version (initial draft)
10/25/23 version (subject of Nov. 14 hearing and recommended by the Plan Cmsn) 

Outdoor Lighting Ordinance (proposed to replace Chapter 33)
Final Draft Lighting Ordinance (published on 01/17/24, following the Council's "first reading" of the ordinance)

Previous Drafts: 
8/30/23 version (initial draft)
10/25/23 version (subject of Nov. 14 public hearing)
12/27/23 version (as recommended by Plan Commission with minor revisions)

Extra-Territorial Zoning Ordinance pertaining to Middleton/Westport Joint Planning Area
Final ETZ Ordinance (adopted by the Joint Zoning Committee on 11/20/23; adopted by Common Council on 01/02/24)
Hearings on the draft ETZ Ordinance were held by the MWJZC on November 1 and by the Middleton Common Council on November 7. Upon adoption by the Common Council, this ordinance became Chapter 35 of the City's Code of Ordinances. It replaced Section 10.96 of the Current Zoning Ordinance.

Current Ordinances and Standards

Zoning Ordinance (relatively minor revisions made at various times over the years, but largely unchanged since early 1980s)
Sign Ordinance (adopted June 2010, with minor revisions made in 2011)
Outdoor Lighting Ordinance (adopted 2010, with minor revisions made in 2017)
Standards for Off-Street Parking Areas and Landscaping (to be supplanted by Articles 6 and 8 of the new zoning ordinance)
Access Management Plan (portions being incorporated into Article 6 of the new zoning ordinance)

Why the new ordinances are drafted the way they are

These documents are intended to help provide the public and decision-makers with background about the zoning code rewrite project.
Project Overview (presentation at January 2, 2024, Council meeting)
Planning staff memo for January 2 Council meeting and supplemental memo
Changes requested by Council at their 01/02/24 meeting
Planning staff memo for January 16 Council meeting
Planning staff memo to Council dated 01/25/24 (summarizing all changes since the Nov. 14 hearing & scheduling Feb. 20 hearing)
Project Summary Guide -- Frequently Asked Questions (updated 01/12/24)
Scenarios -- What does the new ordinance mean for my property?
Zoning District Breakdown with Examples
Translation Table to Zoning Districts (updated 9/11/23)
Air photo analysis of impervious surface areas (November 2023)
Zoning Ordinance Part 1 - Policy Decision Guide for Plan Commission discussion and Part 1 - Plan Commission Feedback (5/23/23)
Zoning Ordinance Part 2 - Policy Decision Guide for Plan Commission discussion and Part 2 - Plan Commission Feedback (7/11/23)
Sign Ordinance - Policy Decision Guide 
Lighting Ordinance - Policy Decision Guide

Other Resources

To Receive Project Updates

To receive periodic emails or text messages regarding this project, select "Zoning Code Re-Write Project" through the City's "Notify Me" service.  For more information, to ask questions, or provide feedback on the draft ordinances, contact City Planner & Zoning Administrator Mark Opitz at mopitz@cityofmiddleton.us.

Public Meetings

Upcoming Meetings

02/20/24 Common Council meeting agenda (to be published by 2/16/24) Public Hearing Notice

Minutes of Previous Meetings and Supporting Materials

8/19/21  Zoning Code Workshop at Kromrey Middle School
1/29/22 Joint Meeting of the Common Council and Plan Commission
8/17/22  Water Resources Management Commission (Overlay districts)
8/09/22  Plan Commission meeting (Feedback on Bulk & Land Use tables)
5/23/23 Plan Commission meeting (Discussion of Zoning Code Part 1 Key Policy Issues)
7/11/23 Plan Commission meeting (Discussion of Zoning Code Part 2 Key Policy Issues)
8/08/23 Plan Commission meeting, Item #7 (Discussion of Key Policy Issues pertaining to the Sign Code and Outdoor Lighting Code)
9/12/23 Plan Commission meeting, Item #6 (Discussion of draft Zoning Map)
Input from City Committees / Commissions (regarding pertinent excerpts from the draft Zoning and Outdoor Lighting ordinances)
9/26/23 Plan Commission meeting, Item #2 (Guidance regarding outstanding policy issues and draft zoning map)
10/10/23 Plan Commission meeting, Item #5 (Guidance regarding outstanding policy issues and draft zoning map)
10/26/23 Plan Commission meeting, Item #7  (Guidance regarding outstanding policy issues)
11/14/23 Plan Commission meeting, Item #4 (Public Hearing on the October drafts of the ordinances; hearing notice)
11/28/23 Plan Commission meeting, Item #8 (Consideration of ordinance revisions made following the Nov. 14 public hearing)
12/12/23 Plan Commission meeting, Item #1 (Recommended Council approval of all three ordinances after requesting a few more revisions)
01/02/24 Common Council meeting  Related documents:  Project Overview presentation,  Changes requested by Council 
01/16/24 Common Council meeting (Took action under First Reading of the ordinances; scheduled second reading for Feb. 6)
02/06/24 Common Council meeting (Referred the ordinances back to the Plan Commission)
02/13/24 Plan Commission meeting, Item #7 (Endorsed changes made by Common Council since their Dec. 12 recommendation)

Project Purpose

In 2021, the City of Middleton began the process of preparing a new Zoning Ordinance and Map. The purposes of this project are to modernize zoning regulations, streamline zoning processes, encourage reinvestment, and implement the City’s Comprehensive Plan.  The process to complete the new Zoning Ordinance and Map will likely last through the end of summer of 2023. Public input is encouraged throughout so that the Zoning Ordinance reflects community wishes. This website is one opportunity for two-way communication on the progress and contents of the Zoning Ordinance and Map.

For more information on the process, see the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Frequently Asked Questions document or contact Mark Opitz, City Planner and Zoning Administrator, by phone at (608) 821-8394 or by email at mopitz@cityofmiddleton.us.

Objetivo del Proyecto

2021, la Ciudad de Middleton comenzó un proceso para actualizar su Ordenanza y Mapa de Zonificación. El propósito de este proyecto es para modernizar las regulaciones de zonificación, simplificar el proceso de zonificación, y implementar el Plan Integral de la Ciudad. El proceso para completar la Ordenanza de Zonificación y el Mapa finalizará en el fin de verano de 2023. Se fomenta la participación pública durante todo el proceso para que la Ordenanza de Zonificación refleje los deseos de la comunidad. Este sitio web es una oportunidad para la comunicación bidireccional sobre el progreso y el contenido de la Ordenanza de Zonificación.

Para obtener más información sobre el proceso, consulte el documento de Preguntas Frecuentes sobre la reescritura de la Ordenanza de Zonificación o comuníquese con Mark Opitz, Planificador de la Ciudad y Administrador de Zonificación, por teléfono al (608) 821-8394 o por correo electrónico a mopitz@cityofmiddleton.us