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Douglas County

Planning and Community Development: Land Use

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  • Land Use Application  A permit is required for any structure built or moved onto a property, including but not limited to: Houses, storage sheds, decks, patios, playhouses and garages. A permit is also required if you are remodeling and planning to change the footprint of the original structure, changing the roof pitch, or making any structural changes. Permitting procedures are relatively similar for all projects. For information on how to obtain a permit and what it will cost see our handout 'Procedure for Obtaining Land Use Permits' and the current fee schedule:
  • Variance Application  A variance is an exception to the rules that are set forth in the Douglas County Zoning Ordinance. A variance is necessary when a landowner wishes to build or develop his/her property and the rules of the ordinance prohibit him/her from doing so. You may visit for additional information and resources on variances.
  • Shoreland Alteration Application  A shoreland alteration permit is required for any activity within the building setback area including, but not limited to: vegetation removal, access paths, retaining walls, ice ridge alterations, sand blankets, patios, and gazebos. You may visit for additional information and resources on shorelands.
  • Conditional Use Application  A Conditional Use Permit is required for some land uses that under most circumstances would be allowed with appropriate restrictions. Such uses must be compatible with the existing neighborhood and conform to the county‚Äôs comprehensive land use plan. To apply for a CUP the landowner provide detailed plans of construction and/or operation of the proposed facility and pay the application fee. They must then present their application at a public hearing in front of the Planning Advisory Commission. The PAC will make a recommendation to approve or deny the application. The decision then goes to the County Board for final approval or denial. You may visit for additional information and resources on conditional use applications.
  • Sign Permit Application  A sign permit for a permanent sign is required before any exterior sign may be erected in the county. This requirement applies to all types of signs, including free standing, wall-mounted, and marquee signs. Illuminated signs require both sign and electrical permits.
  • Preliminary Plat Application  Platting is generally done through a surveyor. Our office works closely with the surveying companies in the area to keep them updated about the rules and procedures associated with platting property in Douglas County. There are a number of requirements that must be met to submit a preliminary plat application. You may visit for additional information and resources on subdividing property.
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