Prior to recording a plat, local approving authorities must demonstrate their acceptance of a subdivision by signing the plat. This authority exists even if the community has not adopted a local land division ordinance. The following bodies are authorized to review and “approve” subdivisions located within their jurisdiction:
- City Council – if the subdivision is located in the city or its extraterritorial plat approval jurisdiction.
- Village Board – if the subdivision is located in the village or its extraterritorial plat approval jurisdiction.
- Town Board – if the subdivision is located in the town or an area whose annexation is being contested by the town.
- County Planning Agency – if the subdivision is located in an unincorporated area of the county.1
If a proposed subdivision falls within the jurisdiction of multiple approving authorities it must obtain approval from each. For example, if a plat is located outside the corporate limits of a city or village but within the municipality’s extraterritorial plat approval jurisdiction, it must obtain approval from the town, municipality and county.
A local government may authorize the plan commission to review and approve preliminary or final plats. A local government may also cooperate with another city, village, town, county or regional planning commission to review and/or approve plats. However, final plats dedicating streets, highways or other lands must be approved by the local governing body.
Extraterritorial Plat Review
The extraterritorial plat approval jurisdiction extends 3 miles from the boundaries of a first, second or third class city, and 1½ miles from the boundaries of a fourth class city or village. If the extraterritorial jurisdiction of a city or village overlaps, a line is drawn equidistant from the boundaries of each so that their review authority does not overlap.
Extraterritorial plat approval authority applies automatically if a city or village has adopted a local land division ordinance or official map. A municipality may adopt a resolution waiving its right to approve plats in its extraterritorial area.
Wis. Stat. §§ 236.10 and 66.0105
1Wis. Stat. § 236.10. The county planning agency must employ a full-time employee to have jurisdiction in extraterritorial plat review areas.