Transit, Roundabout, Trail
Transit, Roundabout, Trail

Economic Development
1. Is there business assistance available through Brown County?

Brown County is a member of Advance which is the economic development branch of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. Advance is the public-private partnership committed to improving and diversifying the local economy by assisting your business. Information regarding Advance programs can be found at: Click here
Land Use Planning
1. What is a Certified Survey Map?

A Certified Survey Map (CSM) is a legal recorded property description created in accordance with Wisconsin Statutes 236 and Brown County Ordinances Chapter 21. All CSMs must be created by a registered land surveyor.

2. How do I determine if my land is suitable for land division?

The Brown County Planning Commission can discuss all potential land division with citizens. Contact staff at (920) 448-6480 or via email at

3. When is a subdivision plat needed?

A subdivision plat must be created when one of the following conditions are met: 1.) an existing parcel is divided into five or more parcels, or 2.) five or more parcels are created from the same parent parcel within five years.

4. How long does it take for a CSM to be reviewed?

CSMs submitted to Brown County require 21 to 40 days to review. The specific time required depends on the complexity of the area being subdivided. If changes are required, it may take up to one year to record the CSM.

5. How long does it take to complete a subdivision plat?

Since a subdivision plat must be reviewed twice (preliminary and pre-final), time frames for review are longer. Additional engineering studies such as stormwater management plans, flood studies, and erosion control plans are also needed. Subdivision reviews can take up to four years.

6. How many lots can be created with a CSM?

Up to four individual lots can be created with a CSM.

7. Is all land suitable for subdividing?

No. Brown County subdivision regulations regulate development in and near Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESAs) and other areas. ESAs include waterways, wetlands, floodways, steep slopes exceeding 12%, and lands adjacent to these areas. Contact the Brown County Planning Commission for advice on land suitability for creating new parcels and development.

8. What is a combination CSM?

A combination CSM is a tool used to combine two or more entire separate parcels or portions of separate parcels into a new tax parcel.

9. What is a retracement CSM?

A retracement CSM reestablishes the existing boundaries of an existing tax parcel in Brown County.

10. What is a subdivision plat?

A subdivision plat is a legal recorded property description created in accordance with Wisconsin Statutes 236 and Brown County Ordinances Chapter 21. All subdivision plats must be created by a registered land surveyor.

11. When is a combination CSM required?

Some local municipalities require a combination CSM when a building permit is applied for or if existing buildings on a parcel may be noncompliant with the local zoning code.

12. When is a CSM required?

CSMs must be prepared by a surveyor and reviewed and approved by the local municipality and Brown County Planning Commission when a lot less than 40 acres is created in a Sewer Service Area and less than 10 acres outside of Sewer Service Areas.

13. When is a retracement CSM required?

Retracement CSMs are typically requested by some local municipalities if a landowner is applying for a building permit. A retracement CSM is also ideal for combining several warranty deeds or other legal documents into a single record.
Local Assistance Planning
1. What services can the Brown County Planning Commission's local assistance program provide?

  • Developing comprehensive plans that meet state requirements
  • Writing grant applications for various state, federal, and non-profit programs
  • Preparing ordinances including such as:
    • Zoning
    • Land division
    • Site plan
    • Design review
    • Wind turbines
    • Historic preservation
    • Miscellaneous land use based ordinances (outdoor wood furnace, noise, sign, etc.)
  • Developing various special purpose plans, including
    • Park and outdoor recreation
    • Safe routes to school
    • Bicycle and pedestrian
    • Area development plans
    • Site plans
    • Farmland preservation plans
    • Economic development or redevelopment plans
    • Environmental protection plans
    • Historic preservation plans
  • Serving as planning staff to contracted communities, which includes:
    • Provision of professional planning staff reports related to rezoning petitions, variances, annexations, and land division applications
    • Serving as a primary point of contact for development proposals
    • Grant writing
    • Researching issues
    • Ordinance development
    • Mapping
    • Special planning projects
    • Meeting facilitation
    • Development negotiation
    • Development processes review
    • Planning commissioner and elected official training
Additionally, Brown County Planning staff has worked with a number of Brown County school districts and other non-profit or public agencies regarding such issues as:
  • Internal school district attendance area boundary adjustments
  • School district strategic planning
  • Siting new facilities
  • Site planning
  • Population attendance and location analysis
  • Mapping
Natural Resource Planning
1. What is an ESA?

An ESA is an Environmentally Sensitive Area. ESAs may include waterways, wetlands, sloping land, Karst features, floodways, and other areas. ESAs oftentimes have an adjacent setback. ESAs and ESA setbacks are not buildable areas. Development and earth moving activities should not occur within ESAs or ESA buffers without approval from Brown County Planning Commission.

2. Can I change an ESA boundary on my property?

ESAs may be changed by petitioning for an ESA amendment. Changes to an ESA must be approved by County Planning staff and oftentimes the Brown County Planning Commission Board of Directors as well as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. An amendment application can be found at the end of the Brown County Sewage Plan and on this website.

3. Does Brown County have a bicycle map?

A Brown County Bicycle Map that establishes preferred street routes and major bicycle trails was created in 2008. Hard copies of the map are available for $3 in the Brown County Planning Commission office. The website also provides a list of government offices and businesses that have copies of the map available. The website also provides a background regarding the types of bicyclists the map was designed for.

4. Does Brown County have a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit?

Brown County has an urbanized area. Per the requirements of the Clean Water Act, Brown County is required to have a MS4 permit that addresses urban non-point storm water, illicit discharges, and other storm water issues on county highways and on county properties. Brown County obtained the Phase II permit on October 11, 2006. To find information regarding how to better address storm water on your residential property, click here (a non-Brown County site supported by the county):

5. Does Brown County have a Park Plan?

The Brown County Park and Outdoor Recreation Plan 2008-2013 is available online, along with several municipality park plans. The website also includes an inventory of hard copy park plans that are available for review in the Brown County Planning Commission library.

6. I received an ESA violation letter in the mail. What does it mean?

When staff identifies that an ESA or ESA buffer has been developed or disturbed without permission or approval from the Brown County Planning Commission, a "violation" oftentimes occurs. Typically, Brown County staff attempts to resolve violations with property owners before fines or penalties have to be implemented. Oftentimes, a letter sent to the property owner with a timeline, say 30 days, to respond with with the following information:

- Proof that the violation has been identified in error.
- Proof that the violation has been promptly corrected.
- A solution and effective timeline for correction.

Violations that are not promptly addressed by property owners may be forwarded to the Brown County Corporation Counsel for action. Thus, staff makes strong efforts to work with property owners to prevent this from occurring.

7. I see someone disturbing an ESA. Who do I tell?

Disturbance to ESAs (earth moving, building, etc.) may be considered violations. If you see it and you know who is doing it, say your neighbor, you may want to ask them to verify they received permission from Brown County and/or the WDNR to disturb the ESA. If you do not know the person, contact Brown County Planning Commission with the following information:

- Who performed the activity (i.e. company or name on the truck that is doing the work).
- Type of activity.
- Date of activity.
- Location of potential violation (address or parcel number).

This information will help us to resolve any violations quickly, or determine if an approval was previously granted for the activity.

8. Why have I been directed to the county planning staff for a town or village planning project?

There are two potential reasons for this:

First, a local municipality may be working with a resident on a site plan or a permit and recognize that issues that are enforced by the County may impact their project. For example, towns do not enforce the protection of certain wetlands but Brown County may. In this case, a town inspector or administrator may refer a resident to the County.

Second, a village or town may have contracted the county planning staff to operate as their "village or town planner." If this is the case, the county planning staff reviews projects on the behalf of the municipality, acting as if they were a municipality employee, not a county planner. The benefit to the public is the planner also has a background in related some county requirements that could impact a project in the long-run.

There are three "local assistance" planners in Brown County: Aaron Schuette, Peter Schleinz, and Jon Motquin. Each are assigned to specific municipalities.

9. Will Brown County develop a local municipality park plan?

Yes. Brown County has developed several park plans over the years in cooperation with local municipalities. Brown County works with the local municipality to establish a desired plan. Brown County can establish a cost to develop a park plan for a municipality and its residents.