Planning & Zoning

In January of 1993, the Town of Merrimac adopted a Development Plan and Zoning Ordinance.  In December 2004, the Town adopted the Smart Growth Development Plan as required under the Wisconsin statute, amending the original development plan.

What requires a Building Permit?

Check with the Town Zoning Administrator to determine if any permits are required prior to any work starting. No owner or contractor may construct, erect, alter, enlarge, repair, move, convert to other uses, or demolish and building, structure or mechanical system until a valid permit is obtained from the Municipal Building Inspector. Permits are required for but not limited to:

  • New Single Family Residential
  • New Multi-family, Commercial (site approval required by Zoning Commission)
  • Additions that increase the physical structure, including all garages, decks, balconies
  • Fence
  • Accessory Buildings (includes garages, yard sheds, boathouses greater than 100 sq. ft in size)
  • Roofing (except overlays or repairs less than 100 sq. ft)
  • Window/Door Replacement (when the opening is enlarged)
  • Signs (commercial, industrial and residential)
  • Swimming Pools
  • Alterations to a building's heating, electrical, or plumbing systems

If you are not certain whether or not you need a permit, it is highly recommended that you call and ask.  Fees double if construction begins prior to a permit being issued. You can download a Land Use/Building Permit Application and make payments at the bottom of this page. Permits ARE NOT considered issued until it is actually approved.  If you pay online, you must still mail or email your signed application with required documentation.

General Guidelines for New Dwellings

These guidelines are not all-inclusive as they relate to the Town Ordinance, however, here are some simple guidelines for new construction:

  • New dwellings, as well as agricultural buildings, detached structures (decks), and detached accessory buildings (garages) require a building permit.
  • You must observe all highway setbacks from the right-of-way (Town Roads - 30 feet) and all side and rear yard setbacks (10 feet - from the ground up).
  • You must have a living area no less than 1,000 sq. ft. and at least 20 feet wide.  The height of the building cannot exceed 35 ft. above grade (measured from the road side).
  • Accessory structures may not exceed 24 ft. by 30 ft. or 14 ft. in height within 1,000 feet of Lake Wisconsin.  All others residential properties may not construct a larger accessory structure without a Conditional Use permit from the Town Board after the recommendation from the Planning & Zoning Commission.  Accessory structures are not allowed on a property that does not have a primary residence.
  • All lots must be large enough to accommodate all setbacks, off-street parking, and sanitary requirements.  Sauk County determines minimum lot size based on Shoreland Zoning or sanitation requirements, but the minimum lot size for a new lot is 20,000 sq. ft.
  • Property owners must obtain all required permits in the Town and/or Sauk County prior to commencing work.
  • The town requires a Certificate of Occupancy is issued by the town; the UDC occupancy permit can be used to obtain one from the town.
  • Know your zoning district as these guidelines are for the Single Family Residential District.

County Shoreland Protection Ordinance

Any property located within 1,000 feet of shoreline requires a Land Use Permit from Sauk County for new construction and exterior expansion of an existing property. Shoreland Zoning requirements are established by the State of Wisconsin (NR-115) and enforced by Sauk County. Sauk County Land Resources and Environment Department can assist you with these rules. You still require a permit from the Town of Merrimac, however, a permit will not be issued within Shoreland Zoning until approval from Sauk County has been granted when required.

Sauk County Private Sewage System Ordinance

Sauk County enforces private sewage systems as required by state law. Prior to building, replacing, or placing an addition onto a home, you must obtain a permit from Sauk County. The Town of Merrimac will not grant a Building Permit until Sauk County has granted approval.

Online Application is available!

Please note that a Payment request will be sent to you after your Building Permit application is submitted. Use the button below.


Additional Contact Information:

  • General Engineering (UDC Inspections): (608) 617-9869
  • Sauk County Land Resources and Environment:  (608) 355-3285
  • Town of Merrimac Zoning Administrator Stephanie Brensike: (608) 493-2588



Permits ARE NOT considered issued until it is actually approved. If you pay online, you must still mail or email your signed application with required documentation.