Wausau Wisconsin


January 18, 2019


(Chapter 23.65 of the Wausau Municipal Code)

A Unified Development District (UDD) may be established anywhere in the City and may contain any use or combination of uses approved by the City. Each UDD is a unique zoning district.

The procedure for establishing a UDD involves two steps: a pre-application conference with the Plan Commission or City officials and approval of a general development plan or a combination general development and precise implementation plan. Of course, like for any zone change, a public hearing must be held.

Designation of a petitioner’s property as a UDD begins with the submittal of a petition (signed by the property owner) with a general development plan. This information MUST be submitted at least three weeks prior to the Plan Commission public hearing on the requested zone change. The general development plan provides the basic information needed to judge whether the total development will be both internally compatible and appropriate for the neighborhood. The general development plan usually consists of a site plan, building elevations, and a written narrative that addresses land use and other project development issues. Since the plan is general, the developer is spared the expense of preparing a detailed proposal that might be rejected or substantially modified during the review process. In addition, the developer may wish to complete the project in phases; thus, the general development plan should outline how the phased development will be integrated into the entire proposal.

Where development will not be accomplished in phases, the petitioner may request, and the City may approve, both the petition for establishing a UDD (the general development plan) and the precise implementation plan concurrently.

The fundamental difference between the general plan and the precise plan is that building construction may begin only after approval of the precise plan. Thus, an approved general plan establishes the UDD zone; an approved precise plan allows building permits to be issued.

Approval of the development proposal must be based upon compliance with the six criteria identified in the Unified Development District zoning ordinance text. Furthermore, both the general plan and the precise plan(s) must meet the informational requirements outlined in the text so that the plans can be evaluated relative to the established criteria. These approved plans are also the permanent record of the specific land uses allowed and development standards required in each particular UDD.

Any modification of the general or precise plan must be approved by the Plan Commission and Common Council. If the Plan Commission feels that the proposed modification represents a “significant alteration” of the original plan, a public hearing must be held.

If a general development plan has been approved, a public hearing on the precise implementation plan(s) is not necessary unless deemed so by the Plan Commission.

Please see the checklist and ordinance for further information