Permits FAQ

Questions listed here are typical questions on any given day. The answers provided are the "short version" in many cases. More complete explanations can be found elsewhere on the site or by contacting the zoning office.
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When is the zoning office open?

Office hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  Office personnel are available to assist the public any time during these hours.

  • 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. - Walk-in Hours:  Code Enforcement Officers make an effort to be in the office to assist our walk-in clients with questions.
  • 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. - Code Enforcement Officers are routinely out of the office during these hours performing "in-the-field" duties.  To ensure a Code Enforcement Officer is available please schedule an appointment.

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Do I need a permit?

If you’re going to do any type of construction, it is a good idea to check with the County Zoning Office and the Town Building Inspector. 

Any external additions or alterations to a structure will usually require a zoning permit. This includes decks, dormers or roof alterations, lean-tos, replacement porches, etc.  Fences also require a zoning permit. 

Interior remodeling does not require a zoning permit, nor is a zoning permit required for replacement windows, siding, roofing shingles, etc.

Building permits from the Town building inspector are generally required for all of the above. 

In shoreland areas, zoning permits may also be required for fill, for patios (concrete, brick, or paver blocks) or for sidewalks/driveways within 75 ft. of the Ordinary High Water Mark.

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What do I need to pull a permit?

Each permit has different requirements for approval. Please refer to the Permit Information link on the Zoning Office Homepage for specific information on each of the permits our office issues.  

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What happens if I don’t get a permit?

Not getting a permit can create some serious problems for a property owner:

  • Upon notification of the violation, a "Notice of Violation" is sent to the property owner.
  • If everything with the project meets requirements, a double fee is charged for an after-the-fact permit.
  • If there are problems, a minimal amount of time will be granted for the violation to be corrected. This may include removing what has just been built.
  • If cooperation is not forthcoming, a Municipal Citation will be issued which starts the legal procedure in gaining compliance.
  • If an owner pleads "guilty" or "no contest", the decision is in favor of the County and a forfeiture is paid by the property owner.
  • After paying the fine, the owner still has to bring the property into compliance. It’s not a matter of "just paying the fine" and keeping what you have built or done.
  • If an owner pleads, "not guilty", the case is assigned to a judge and a date for the court trial is set. If a jury trial is requested, the owner has to pay a cost for the jury.
  • In a trial, if found guilty, a substantial fine is usually imposed. The fine can be assessed for a certain dollar amount for every day the violation has existed or continues to exist.
  • Ultimately, if there is no cooperation, an owner could find himself in jail, and fines will be put on the property taxes as a special assessment. And the property will still have to be brought into compliance.

          It’s just not worth it.

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Why do I need a County and Town permit?

The County and the Town are looking for different information in their permit approval process. The County is reviewing setbacks, sizes, zoning, and future land use. The Town’s approval relates to how a structure is constructed and may also involve other local ordinances.


Planning and Zoning

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Zoning Department

County Administration Building
112 Otter Ave 3rd Floor
Oshkosh, WI 54901
Oshkosh:(920) 232-3344
Neenah:(920) 727-2880
Fax:(920) 232-3347

Office Hours

8:00am - 4:30pm, M - F

Walk In Hours

8:00am - 10:00am

Mailing Address

County Zoning Office
Attn (list staff name)
112 Otter Ave
Oshkosh WI 54901