Each zoning district, as defined in Madison’s Zoning Code, has two types of uses. The first type of use is the permitted uses. These do not require additional review other than the zoning review for issuance of a building permit. The second type of use is a conditional use. These are uses not permitted outright but may be allowed if certain standards and conditions are met and the Plan Commission grants approval.

Conditional uses assure you and your neighbors that uses of adjacent properties will be as compatible as possible with property uses established in your neighborhood (Madison General Ordinance 28.182).

Process Overview

  1. Discuss with City Zoning & Planning

    Applicants for any project must first meet with Zoning and Planning staff before submitting their application. Please call Planning at (608) 266-4635 and Zoning (608) 266-4551 to schedule an appointment to discuss your project.

    Find out the zoning for your property.

    Where to Go

    Department of Planning & Community & Economic Development
    126 S. Hamilton St.
    Madison, WI 53703

    Hours: Monday – Friday, 7:30 am – 4:30 pm

  2. Notify Alder and Neighborhood Association

    The applicant is strongly encouraged to discuss his/her proposal with the district alder and neighborhood association and nearby property owners prior to submitting their application. Also, the applicant or his/her agent is required to notify the alderperson for the district and the neighborhood association 30 days prior to filing their application.

  3. Submit Application

    Where to Go

    Department of Planning & Community & Economic Development
    126 S. Hamilton St.
    Madison, WI 53703

    Hours: Monday – Friday, 7:30 am – 4:30 pm

    What to Include
    • Twelve (12) copies of the completed Land Use Application Form (check the box for “Conditional Use”)
    • Land Use Application Form Directions
    • Twelve (12) copies of the letter of intent
    • Seven (7) full-sized copies of the detailed plans
    • Seven (7) copies of plans reduced to 11″ x 17
    • Fourteen (14) additional 11” x 17” copies if requiring UDC Review
    • One copy of plans reduced to 8 1/2″ by 11″
    • The filing fee
  4. Public Hearing & Plan Commission

    After initial staff review, the Zoning staff gives the application and attached materials to the Planning Division. The Planning Division schedules a public hearing and publishes the official notice of the hearing. This Division also notifies the alderperson, the neighborhood association, the Urban Design Commission (if required) and the property owners within 200 feet of the project property at least ten days prior to the public hearing.

    At the public hearing, owners of neighboring properties or public facilities state their support or concerns about the proposed project. The Plan Commission considers the comments of the other City departments, the recommendations of the Urban Design Commission, your testimony and that of other interested parties. The Commission also takes into account the need for the proposed use at that particular location. Following the public hearing, the Plan Commission determines if the conditional use standards can be met and then grants or denies the request.

    The Plan Commission may stipulate conditions and restrictions upon the establishment, location, construction, maintenance, and operation of the conditional use.

    Any action of the Plan Commission may be appealed to the Common Council. The appeal may be initiated by the applicant, the alderperson, or 20 percent or more of the notified property owners. The appeal requires that two-thirds (2/3) of the Common Council vote to reverse the Plan Commission decision.

    If your application is denied and the denial is upheld by the Common Council, you must wait one (1) year from the date of the denial before you can resubmit an application for essentially the same project.

  5. Completion

    Once the conditional use is approved and the terms of approval are met, you can proceed with obtaining your building or demolition permit.

Related Forms & Handouts