Building Height, Lot Coverage and Impervious Surfaces

Langlade County Ordinance

  • Building lot coverage may not exceed 15% of the total lot area.
  • No more than 5% of the total lot area may be covered by impervious surfaces unless approved by a stormwater management plan.

Why we have this in our ordinance

While developing or altering the landscape of your shoreland property, the way water flows will change. Installing driveways and other impervious surfaces (rooftops, decks, walkways, and parking lots), results in less water seeping into the soil, thereby increasing runoff. This increased runoff is usually channeled into ditches, drainage ways, or down slope towards nearby lakes and streams.

Impervious surfaces don't allow water to infiltrate into the ground naturally, thereby creating high water flows which cause flooding and/or erosions, increasing sediments in lakes and streams. Fine sediment can transport naturally occurring nutrients such as phosphorus that can have an adverse effect on water quality. Minimizing impervious surfaces on a shoreland lot reduces the potential for runoff. 

Natural shoreland buffer zones will help to absorb runoff. A study by the DNR compared an undeveloped shoreland lot with the impacts from a large lake home (approximately 4,000 square feet of impervious surfaces) on a lot entirely converted to lawn. They found up to a 500% increase in runoff volume, 700% increase in phosphorus loading and 900% increase in sediment flowing to the lake.

 

What you can do...

Follow these guidelines to minimize runoff and prevent sediments from going into the waterway:

  • Limit hard surface and covered areas that prevent water from seeping into the ground.
  • Consider using porous building materials (e.g. gravel) when designing driveways, walkways, and parking areas. A porous surface will absorb and reduce flows to the waterway.
  • Plant new vegetation (canopy trees, shrubs, and groundcover) and divert drainage away from the lake or river whenever possible.
  • Retain native trees and shrubs, as trees provide a natural umbrella by shedding water and can reduce runoff by as much as 50%.
  • Limit clearing and grading on slopes that drain to the water.
  • Minimize cutting and filling for roads, driveways, sidewalks, stairways, and footpaths to reduce erosion while providing adequate access.

Building Height

Langlade County Ordinance

  • Building may not exceed 35 feet in height (measured from the lowest exposed level to the peak).

Why we have this in our ordinance

With regard to building height, an excessive building height can create a structure out of scale or proportion with the rest of the property or surrounding properties.

What you can do...

 
  • Minimize the overall size of the structure, particularly the profile facing the waterway. By designing your home to "fit" within its surroundings, you will gain privacy and give your home a natural, northwoods appeal.