Land Division Ordinance
Sec. 10-1-60 Street Arrangement
The applicant shall dedicate land for and improve streets as provided herein.
  1. Street Arrangement in Areas with Official Map. Streets shall conform to the town's official map, adopted town plans, or county jurisdictional highway plan.
  2. Street Arrangement in Areas with No Official Map. In areas for which an official map has not been completed, the street layout shall recognize the functional classification of various street types and shall be developed and located in proper relation to existing and proposed streets, with due regard to topographical conditions, natural features, utilities, land uses and public convenience and safety.
  3. Acceptance of a Public Road. The Town of Empire shall not accept a road unless it is providing sole access to four (4) or more building sites and, thus, will not be responsible for maintenance of said street.
  4. All land divisions shall be designed so as to provide each lot with satisfactory access to a public street as provided herein.
  5. The following conditions shall apply for street arrangement in all proposed land divisions:
    1. Arterial Street. Arterial streets shall be arranged so as to provide ready access to centers of employment, high density residential areas, centers of government activity, community shopping areas, community recreation and points beyond the boundaries of the community. They shall also be properly integrated with and related to the existing and proposed system of major streets and highways and shall be, insofar as practicable, continuous and in alignment with existing or planned streets with which they are to connect.
    2. Collector Streets. Collector streets shall be arranged so as to provide ready collection of traffic from residential areas and conveyance of this traffic or the major street and highway system and shall be properly related to special traffic generators such as schools, churches and shopping centers and other concentrations of population; and to the major streets into which they feed.
    3. Minor Streets. Minor streets shall be arranged to conform to the topography, to discourage use by through traffic, to permit the design of efficient storm and sanitary sewerage systems and to require the minimum street area necessary to provide safe and convenient access to abutting property.
    4. Proposed Streets. Proposed streets shall extend to the boundary lines of the tract being divided, unless prevented by topography or other physical conditions or unless, in the opinion of the Planning Commission and Town of Empire Town Board, such extension is not necessary or desirable for the coordination of the layout of the subdivision or for the advantageous development of adjacent land tracts. Such streets shall terminate with a temporary turnaround of 120 feet right-of-way diameter and a roadway of not less than 90 feet in diameter.
    5. Street Intersections.
      1. Streets shall intersect each other as nearly as possible at right angles and not more than two streets shall intersect at one point unless approved by the Planning Commission.
      2. The number of intersections along major streets and highways shall be held to a minimum. Wherever practicable the distance between such intersections should not be less than 1,200 feet.
      3. Street jogs with centerline offsets of less than 125 feet shall not be approved.
    6. Arterial Street and Highway Protection. Whenever the proposed land division contains or is adjacent to a major street or highway, adequate protection of residential properties is required. Adequate protection is met by limiting access and separating through and local traffic and shall be provided by reversed frontage, with screen planting contained in a non-access reservation along the rear property line or by the use of frontage streets.
    7. Reserve Strips. Reserve strips controlling access to streets or alleys shall be prohibited except where their control is definitely placed with the Town of Empire.
    8. Alleys. Alleys may be required in commercial and industrial districts to provide for off-street loading and service access, but shall not be approved in residential districts unless required by unusual topography or other exceptional conditions. Dead-end alleys shall not be approved and alleys shall not connect to a Federal, State or County Trunk Highway.
    9. Street Names. Street names shall not be duplicated or be similar to existing street names and existing street names shall be projected or continued wherever is possible. Street names, in general, should conform to the system set forth in Exhibit 1.


Sec. 10-1-61 Street Design Standards

  1. Minimum Right-of-Way. The minimum right-of-way of all proposed streets shall be as specified by the town land use plan, official map, or jurisdictional highway system plan of Fond du Lac County. If no width is specified therein, the minimum widths shall be as shown in Exhibit 2.
  2. Minimum Roadway/Surface Width. Minimum roadway width and surface width of all new land division roads shall comply with the Town Road Standards contained in Wisconsin Statutes, Section 86.26, unless locally adopted town road standards require greater width.
  3. Cul-de-Sacs. Cul-de-sac streets designed to have one end permanently closed should not normally exceed 600 feet in length. Such streets shall terminate in a circular turnaround having a minimum right-of-way radius of 60 feet and a minimum roadway radius of 45 feet.


 Type of Street or 
 Other Public Way 
 Width of 
 Dedicated Right-of-Way 
Dimensions of
Section Components
Arterial Streets
(Four Lane)
130 Feet
24 Feet
(Two Lanes)
    Median Strip
18 Feet
10 Feet Outside
6 Feet Inside
    Roadside Ditch
16 Feet Per Side
Arterial Streets
(Two Lane)
130 Feet
24 Feet
10 Feet (Paved)
Collector Street
80 Feet
Minor Streets
66 Feet
24 Feet
5 Feet Per Side
    Roadside Ditch
13 Feet Per Side
60 Foot Radius
45 Foot Radius (Outside1)
24 Foot Radius (Inside2)
6 Feet
    Roadside Ditches
15 Feet

1 Outside face of curb radius.
2 Inside pavement radius forming planting island in center of cul-de-sac.

4.  Street Grades. Street grades shall comply with town road standards contained in Wisconsin Statutes, Section 86.26, however, the minimum grade shall be no less than 1/2 of one percent. Street grades shall be established wherever practicable so as to avoid excessive grading, the promiscuous removal of ground cover and tree growth and general leveling of the topography.
5.  Radii of Curvature. When a continuous street centerline deflects at any one point by more than 10 degrees, a circular curve shall be introduced having a radius of curvature on such centerline of not less than 100 feet on minor streets.
6.  Half Streets. Where an existing dedicated or platted half-street is adjacent to the tract being subdivided by either a Subdivision Plat or Certified Survey Map, the other half of the street shall be dedicated by the Subdivider or Condominium Developer. The platting of new half-streets shall not be permitted.

Sec. 10-1-62 Limited Access Highway and Railroad Right-of-Way
Whenever the proposed land division contains or is adjacent to a limited access highway or railroad right-of-way, the design shall provide the following treatment:

  1. When residential lots within the proposed land division back upon the right-of-way of an existing or proposed limited access highway or railroad, the following restriction shall be lettered on the face of the plat: "Direct vehicular access to (Name of Road) from lots abutting such road is prohibited".
  2. Commercial and industrial districts should provide, on each side of the limited access highway or railroad, streets approximately parallel to and at a suitable distance from such highway or railroad for the appropriate use of the land between such streets and highway or railroad, but not less than 150 feet.
  3. Streets parallel to a limited access highway or railroad right-of-way, when intersecting a major street, highway or collector street which crosses such railroad or highway, shall be located at a minimum distance of 250 feet from such highway or railroad right-of-way. Such distance, where desirable and practicable, shall be determined with due consideration of the minimum distance required for the future separation of grades by means of appropriate approach gradients.
  4. Minor streets immediately adjacent and parallel to railroad right-of-way should be avoided.
  5. When lots within the proposed land division back upon the right-of-way of an existing limited access highway or railroad right-of-way, a planting strip (landscape bufferyard easement) a minimum thirty-five (35) feet in depth (width) shall be provided adjacent to the highway or railroad in addition to the normal lot depth. This strip shall be a part of the platted lots but shall have the following restriction lettered on the face of the plat: "Landscape Bufferyard Easement: This strip is reserved for the planting of trees and shrubs. The building of structures is prohibited."

Sec. 10-1-63 Open Space

  1. Minimum Percentage of Open Space. According to the Town of Empire Comprehensive Plan, all residential subdivisions and other clustered residential development should be required to incorporate open space into their proposed developments. Therefore, the minimum percentage of land that shall be designated as permanent open space, not to be further subdivided, and protected through a conservation easement held by the Town of Empire, a homeowner’s association established by the subdivider, or by a recognized land trust or conservancy, shall be as specified below:
    1. A minimum of twenty (20) percent of the total tract area, after deducting the following kinds of unbuildable land:
      1. Wetlands and land that is generally inundated (land under ponds, lakes, creeks, etc.)
      2. All of the floodway and floodway fringe within the one hundred (100) year floodplain, as shown on official Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) maps,
      3. Land with slopes exceeding twenty (20) percent or soils subject to slumping,
      4. Land required for street rights-of-way,
      5. Land under permanent easement prohibiting future development (including easements for drainage, access and utilities).
        The above areas shall generally be designated as undivided open space, to facilitate easement monitoring and enforcement and to promote appropriate management by a single entity according to approved land management standards.
    2. All undivided open space and any lot capable of further subdivision shall be restricted from further subdivision through a permanent conservation easement, in a form acceptable to the Town of Empire and duly recorded in the Fond du Lac County Register of Deeds Office.
    3. The required open space may be used, without restriction, for underground drainage fields for individual or community septic systems. However, "mound" systems protruding above grade and aerated sewage treatment ponds shall be limited to no more than ten (10) percent of the required minimum open space.
    4. Stormwater management ponds or basins may be included as part of the minimum required open space, as may land within the rights-of-way for underground pipelines. However, land within the rights-of-way of high-tension power lines shall not be included as comprising part of the minimum required open space.
  2. Location of Open Space. Open space shall be comprised of two types of land: "Primary Conservation Areas" and "Secondary Conservation Areas." All lands within both Primary and Secondary Conservation Areas are required to be protected by a permanent conservation easement, prohibiting further development, and setting other standards safeguarding the site's special resources from negative changes.
    1. Primary Conservation Areas. This category consists of wetlands, lands that are generally inundated (under ponds, lakes, creeks, etc.), land within the one hundred (100) year floodplain, slopes exceeding twenty (20) percent, and soils subject to slumping. These sensitive lands are deducted from the total parcel acreage to produce the "Adjusted Tract Acreage," on which density shall be based.
    2. Secondary Conservation Areas. In addition to the Primary Conservation Areas, at least twenty (20) percent of the remaining land shall be designated and permanently protected. Full density credit shall be allowed for land in this category that would otherwise be buildable under local, state and federal regulations, so that their development potential is not reduced by this designation. Such density credit may be applied to other unconstrained parts of the site.
      Although the locations of Primary Conservation Areas are predetermined by locations of floodplains, wetlands, steep slopes, and soils subject to slumping, greater latitude exists in the designation of Secondary Conservation Areas (except that they shall include a one hundred (100) foot deep greenway buffer along all water bodies and watercourses, and a fifty (50) foot greenway buffer alongside wetlands soils classified as "very poorly drained" in the medium-intensity Fond du Lac County Soil Survey of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
         The location of Secondary Conservation Areas shall typically include all or part of the following kinds of resources: areas designated as “Critical Areas” by the Town of Empire Zoning Ordinance, aquifer recharge areas, areas with highly permeable (excessively drained) soil, significant wildlife habitat areas, prime farmland, historic, archaeological or cultural features listed (or eligible to be listed) on national, state or county registers or inventories and scenic views into the property from existing public roads. Secondary Conservation Areas therefore typically consist of upland forest, meadows, pastures, and farm fields, part of the ecologically connected matrix of natural areas significant for wildlife habitat, water quality protection and other reasons. Although the resource lands listed as potential Secondary Conservation Areas may comprise more than twenty (20) percent of the remaining land on a development parcel (after Primary Conservation Areas have been deducted), no applicant shall be required to designate more than twenty (20) percent of that remaining land as a Secondary Conservation Area.
    3. General Locational Guidelines. Subdivisions shall be designed around both the Primary and Secondary Conservation Areas, which together constitute the total required open space. The design process should therefore commence with the delineation of all potential open space, after which potential house sites are located. Following that, access road alignments are identified, with lot lines being drawn in as the final step.
         Both Primary and Secondary Conservation Areas shall be placed in undivided preserves, which may adjoin housing areas that have been designed more compactly to create larger areas that may be enjoyed equally by all residents of the development.
         Undivided open space shall be directly accessible to the largest practicable number of lots within a conservation subdivision. To achieve this, the majority of houselots should abut undivided open space in order to provide direct view and access. Safe and convenient pedestrian access to the open space from all lots not adjoining the open space shall be provided (except in the case of farmland, or other resource areas vulnerable to trampling damage or human disturbance). Where the undivided open space is designated as separate, noncontiguous parcels, no parcel shall consist of less than three (3) acres in area nor have a length-to-width ratio in excess of 4:1, except in such areas that are specifically designed as village greens, ballfields, upland buffers to wetlands, water bodies or watercourses or trail links.
  3. Evaluation Criteria. In evaluating the layout of lots and open space, the following criteria will be considered by the Planning Commission as indicating design appropriate to the site's natural, historic and cultural features and meeting the purposes of this Chapter. Diversity and originality in lot layout shall be encouraged to achieve the best possible relationship between development and conservation areas. Accordingly, the Planning Commission shall evaluate proposals to determine whether the proposed conceptual preliminary plan:
    1. Protects and serves all floodplains, wetlands and steep slopes from clearing, grading, filling or construction (except as may be approved by the Town for essential infrastructure or active or passive recreation amenities).
    2. Preserves and maintains mature woodlands, existing fields, pastures, meadows and orchards and creates sufficient buffer areas to minimize conflicts between residential and agricultural uses. For example, locating houselots and driveways within wooded areas is generally recommended, with two exceptions. The first involves significant wildlife habitat or mature woodlands that raise an equal or greater preservation concern, as described in (e) and (i) below. The second involves predominantly agricultural areas, where remnant tree groups provide the only natural areas for wildlife habitat.
    3. If development must be located on open fields or pastures because of greater constraints in all other parts of the site, dwellings should be sited on the least prime agricultural soils, or in locations at the far edge of a field, as seen from existing public roads. Other considerations include whether the development will be visually buffered from existing public roads, such as by planting a screen consisting of a variety of indigenous native trees, shrubs and wildflowers (specifications for which should be based upon a close examination of the distribution and frequency of those species found in a typical nearby roadside verge or hedgerow).
    4. Maintains or creates an upland buffer of natural native species vegetation of at least one hundred (100) feet in depth adjacent to wetlands and surface waters, including creeks, streams, springs, lakes and ponds.
    5. Designs around existing hedgerows and treelines between fields or meadows and minimizes impacts on large woodlands (greater than five (5) acres), especially those containing many mature trees or a significant wildlife habitat, or those not degraded by invasive vines. Also, woodlands of any size of highly erodible soils with slopes greater than ten (10) percent should be avoided. However, woodlands in poor condition with limited management potential can provide suitable locations for residential development. When any woodland is developed, great care shall be taken to design all disturbed areas (for buildings, roads, yards, septic disposal fields, etc.) in locations where there are no large trees or obvious wildlife areas, to the fullest extent that is practicable.
    6. Leaves scenic views and vistas unblocked or uninterrupted, particularly as seen from public thoroughfares. For example, in open agrarian landscapes, a deep "no-build, no-plant" buffer is recommended along the public thoroughfare where those views or vistas are prominent or locally significant. The concept of "foreground meadows," with homes facing the public thoroughfare across a broad grassy expanse is strongly preferred to mere buffer strips, with or without berms or vegetative screening. In wooded areas where the sense of enclosure is a feature that should be maintained, a deep "no-build, no-cut" buffer should be respected, to preserve existing vegetation.
    7. Avoids siting new construction on prominent hilltops or ridges, by taking advantage of lower topographic features.
    8. Protects wildlife habitat areas of species listed as endangered, threatened or of special concern by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
    9. Designs around and preserves sites of historic, archaeological or cultural values and their environs, insofar as needed to safeguard the character of the feature(s) such as, stone walls, spring houses, barn foundations, earthworks and burial grounds.
    10. Protects rural roadside character and improves public safety and vehicular carrying capacity by avoiding development fronting directly onto existing public roads. Establishes buffer zones along the scenic corridor of rural roads with historic buildings, stone walls, hedgerows and so on.
    11. Landscaped common areas (such as community greens), cul-de-sac islands, and both sides of new streets with native specie shade trees and flowering shrubs with high wildlife conservation value.
    12. Provides active recreational areas in suitable locations that offer convenient access by residents and adequate screening from nearby houselots.
    13. Includes a pedestrian circulation system designed to assure that pedestrians can walk safely and easily on the site, between properties and activities or special features within the neighborhood open space system. All roadside footpaths should connect with off-road trails, which in turn should link with potential open space on adjoining undeveloped parcels (or with existing open space on adjoining developed parcels, where applicable).
    14. Provides open space that is reasonably contiguous. Fragmentation of open space should be minimized so that these resource areas are not divided into numerous small parcels located in various parts of the development. To the greatest extent practicable, this land shall be designed as a single block with logical, straightforward boundaries. Long thin strips of conservation land shall be avoided, unless the conservation feature is linear or unless such configuration is necessary to connect with other streams or trails. The open space shall generally abut existing or potential open space land on adjacent parcels (such as in other subdivisions, public parks or properties owned by or leased to private land conservation organizations). Such subdivision open space shall be designed as part of larger contiguous and integrated greenway systems.

Sec. 10-1-65 Blocks
The widths, lengths and shapes of blocks shall be suited to the planned use of the land, zoning requirements, need for convenient access, control and safety of street traffic and the limitations and opportunities of the topography.

  1. Length. Blocks in residential areas should not as a general rule be less than five hundred (500) feet nor more than one thousand five hundred (1,500) feet in length unless otherwise dictated.
  2. Width. Blocks shall have sufficient width to provide for two tiers of lots of appropriate depth, except where otherwise required to separate residential development from through traffic or where lots abut a lake or stream. Width of lots or parcels reserved or laid out for commercial or industrial use shall be adequate to provide for off-street service and parking required by the use contemplated and the area zoning provisions for such use.
  3. Pedestrian Pathways. Pedestrian pathways, not less than twelve (12) feet wide, may be required by the Town Board through the center of a block more than nine hundred (900) feet long or in other areas where deemed essential to provide circulation or access to schools, playgrounds, shopping centers, transportation and other community facilities.
  4. Trees. The Town Board may require that certain species of trees be planted on both sides of all streets. Street trees when planted shall not be less than fifty (50) feet apart with a minimum of one (1) per lot. They should preferably be placed six (6) to twenty (20) feet inside the property line rather than in the boulevard. The minimum size and type to be planted shall conform to the provisions of applicable ordinances.

Sec. 10-1-66 Utility Easements
All utility lines for electric power and telephone service shall be placed on mid-block easements along rear lot lines, except where lots abut a lake or stream or where such location is deemed unfeasible, from an engineering standpoint, by the utility company involved. All easements shall run with the land and be on individual deeds. All power, telephone, or cable service lines shall be buried in the same trench whenever possible.

Sec. 10-1-67 Lots
The size, shape and orientation of lots shall be appropriate for the location of the subdivision and for the type of development and use contemplated. The lots should be designed to provide an aesthetically pleasing building site and a proper architectural setting for the building contemplated.

  1. Lot Lines. Side lot lines should be at right angles to straight street lines or radial to curved street lines on which the lots face. Lot lines shall follow municipal boundary lines rather than cross them.
  2. Double Frontage/Reversed Frontage Lots. Double frontage and reversed frontage lots shall be prohibited, except where necessary to provide separation of residential development from through traffic or to overcome specific disadvantages of topography and orientation.
  3. Lot Frontage. Unless otherwise noted in an applicable Town ordinance, all newly created lots shall have a minimum frontage of 33 feet on a public street, and where applicable, a minimum frontage of 33 feet on navigable water.
  4. Area and Dimensional Requirements. Area and dimensions of lots shall conform to the requirements of the Town of Empire Zoning Ordinance. Additionally, in areas not served by public sewer, lots shall be of sufficient size to allow conformance with the requirements of Wisconsin Administrative Code, Chapter COMM 85. Whenever a tract is subdivided into parcels with area in excess of the zoning requirements, such parcels should be arranged and dimensioned so as to allow re-division of any such parcels into normal lots in accordance with the provisions of this Chapter.
  5. Lot Depth and Width. Width of lots shall conform to the requirements of The Town of Empire Zoning Ordinance or other applicable ordinances. Lots shall be designed to be a suitable proportion between width and depth.
  6. Corner Lots. Corner lots shall be designed with extra width to permit adequate building setback from both streets.
  7. Remnants of Lots. All remnants of lots below minimum size left over after subdividing of a larger tract must be added to adjacent lots, or a plan shown as to future use rather than allowed to remain as unusable parcels.
  8. Natural Features. In the subdividing of any land, regard shall be shown for all natural features, such as tree growth, water courses, historic spots or similar conditions which, if preserved, will add attractiveness and stability to the proposed development.

Sec. 10-1-68 Building Setback Lines
Building setback lines shall conform to the requirements established in the Town of Empire Zoning Ordinance.

Sec. 10-1-69 Surface Water Drainage

  1. Purpose. The intent of this section is to protect property and structures from damage caused by increased surface water runoff due to commercial, industrial, and residential development of the land. Surface water runoff after development shall not exceed the peak rate/volume of flow at predevelopment conditions. The twenty-five (25) year, twenty-four (24) hour storm frequency for Fond du Lac County shall be the basis to determine both preconstruction and post-construction surface water runoff.
  2. A stormwater management site plan shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
    1. Based upon the twenty-five (25) year, twenty-four (24) hour storm frequency for Fond du Lac County.
    2. Include soil types, infiltration characteristics of the soil, amount of available detention area, type of vegetative cover, amount of impervious cover, and time response to runoff.
    3. Compatible with County and Town natural drainageways and easements.
    4. Identify bridges, regional drainage patterns; water boundaries; pipes, culverts, catch basins, waterways, ditches, detention and retention basin; and indicate respective size, dimensions, and grades of each.
    5. All drainageways and associated structures shall lie within designated maintenance easements and be so indicated on final plats.
    6. Direction of the surface water flow by arrows.
    7. Designed in accordance with the United States Department of Agriculture Technical Release No. 55 Urban Hydrology for Small Watersheds and County or Town standards, or whichever is more restrictive.
    8. Indicate methods that will be used to protect downstream areas and adjacent property owners from damage caused by increased by surface water runoff and pollutant loadings.
      1. Methods employed to prevent damage resulting from stormwater run-off should include non-structural management practices where possible. These alternatives include, but are not limited to, incorporating natural vegetation into the design of existing and new development, buffering navigable and non-navigable streams, permitting unpaved street gutters to serve as grassed waterways in place of curb and gutter, and respecting contours and natural features of the landscape.
      2. Structural stormwater facilities must be identified within the stormwater management site plan. These include, but are not limited to, curb and gutters, catch basins and inlets, storm sewers, and water retention and detention structures.
    9. A covenant shall be recorded with the final plat in the Fond du Lac County Register of Deeds office. Covenant shall state:
      1. "Maintenance of all drainageways and associated structures within the subdivision are the sole responsibility of the property owners of the subdivision", unless otherwise noted on the plan or required by the Town.
      2. Upon failure of the property owner(s) to perform maintenance of the drainageways and associated structures, the Town of Empire retains the right to perform maintenance and/or repairs that shall be equally assessed among the property owner(s) of the subdivision with a drainage covenant.

Sec. 10-1-70 through Sec. 10-1-89 Reserved for Future Use.


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