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Frequently Asked Questions

July 8, 2015

1) Q: Who enforces covenants?

A: Covenants are created by the developer to ensure certain standards that they want to see uniform throughout the new subdivision. These usually have to do with limiting outside parking of vehicles or boats, the number of outbuildings allowed, whether or not clothes can be hung out-side to dry, etc.

Covenants are not regulated by the Town of Algoma. The developers or a homeowners association usually regulate issues connected with the covenants. In some of the older subdivisions, there may be no one to enforce the covenants. Owners may have to resort to hiring legal help to resolve covenant issues.

2) Q: What is allowed on my property?

A: Principal uses (houses, office buildings, etc.) and accessory uses (garages, boathouses, etc.) are allowed according to their zoning district. There are also conditional uses that are allowed on a property through a public hearing process. You may find more information under Winnebago County’s website, On the home page look for General Code and access Chapter 23 Town/County Zoning, Article 8 Land use.

3) Q: Can I add on to the house or garage?

A: There are a number of things that affect this answer. If the house has a private sanitary system you should contact the County zoning office to see if there are limitations to house additions. Whether a house is conforming or not for any reason may affect house addition allowances.

Setback requirements and measurements should be checked to see if there is room to add onto a garage or house. Most properties have limitations regarding garage or accessory building square footage based on the size of the property and the zoning district. Contact Winnebago County Zoning for that information.

4) Q: Do decks count?

A: Decks count toward setbacks and must gain approval through the issuance of a zoning permit prior to their construction.

  • Decks attached to the home must meet the setbacks required for the principal structure including a 75′ setback from the Ordinary High Water Mark for their approval.
  • Decks not attached to the house must meet a 10′ setback from the house.
  • Decks attached to a pool, not attached to the house, must meet all setbacks of accessory structures including a 10′ setback from any structure they are not attached to.
  • Once the pool and deck are connected to the house, they become part of the house and must meet the same setback requirements as the house.

5) Q: Can I build a fence?

A: Most properties are allowed fences of one kind or another based on the type of zoning and setback requirements from road rights-of-way and navigable waters. No fences are allowed within 75 ft. of the ordinary high water mark of navigable waters.

There will be height limitations and a permit is generally required. A permit is generally not required for two eight foot long sections. If you live in a subdivision there may be covenants which restrict fences. The Town of Algoma does not regulate covenants.

6) Q: Do I need a permit for a pool?

A: Above ground pools require a zoning permit to be issued prior to their construction. Any decks or fences associated with the pool also require permit approval prior to construction.

7) Q: Yard sheds- what are they?

A: Yard sheds are small garden or utility sheds which do not exceed 100 square feet in area and do not exceed 8 feet in height. A yard shed can only be established with a principal residential use present and it must meet all setback requirements which include: 30 feet from the road right-of-way, 3 feet from the side and rear lot lines, 10 feet from any other structure and 75 feet from the ordinary high water mark of any navigable lake, channel, river, or stream.

One yard shed is allowed without a zoning permit and will not count toward the total allowed accessory structure space. Additional yard sheds will require a zoning permit and will contribute to the total allowed accessory structure space. Yard sheds are not allowed in the floodway.

8) Q: Can I build a boathouse?

A: Every water-front lot is allowed one boathouse as an accessory use. The principal use (house) must be present or under construction on the same lot as the boathouse.

Boathouses are not allowed to be built waterward of the Ordinary High Water Mark.

9) Q: Can I have a dock?

A: Docks are generally structures located over navigable bodies of water and are regulated by the DNR. Please contact the Oshkosh DNR office at (920) 424-3050.

10) Q: Can I have a camper?

A: If a home is present on a property, then a camper is allowed to be parked on the same parcel as an accessory use to the property.

This means that if you own a camper and enjoy taking it on vacations, you are allowed to keep the camper on your property while it is not being used. It is not a vacation place for others to come and stay with you for the summer. It cannot be rented out while it sits on your property – unless a Temporary Use permit is granted for a special occasion.

Campers may not be placed on vacant parcels except for occasional use by the owner. “Occasional use” is defined as being on weekends, or a week for vacation purposes. At all other times, the unit shall be removed from the property.