Chapter 15.35


15.35.010    Objectives and conflicts.

15.35.020    Definitions.

15.35.030    Abbreviations.

15.35.040    General.

15.35.050    Minimum room sizes.

15.35.060    Enforcement.

15.35.010 Objectives and conflicts.

1.    The purpose of this chapter is to provide for healthful environment and complete living facilities arranged and equipped to assure suitable living, sleeping, cooking and dining accommodations.

2.    Whenever the provisions of any other chapter, section or subsection of this code and particularly those of this title are in conflict, a more restrictive provision shall be applicable.

3.    The height restrictions identified under this chapter shall apply to all substandard lots which measure under 40,000 square feet. All other lots must conform to the Walworth County Codes. (2008 code § 16.01)

15.35.020 Definitions.

“Building height,” as used in this chapter, shall refer to the following measure distances:

1.    The maximum allowable height for a roof peak on a gable or hip roof cannot exceed 50 feet from the bottom of the lowest basement floor to the highest roof line.

2.    The maximum allowable height measured from the bottom of the lowest basement floor to the top of the highest top plate supporting any roof structure cannot exceed 34 feet.

3.    The maximum allowable height on a flat or mansard roof cannot exceed 35 feet as measured from the bottom of the lowest basement floor to the highest roof line.

4.    The maximum allowable height of a roof peak when either an engineered floating slab or frost footings are used is 40 feet measured from poured slab or top of frost footing wall.

“Dwelling” means a building designed to be used as the living quarters for one or more families.

“Family” means one or more persons occupying a single living unit.

“Floor area” means the total area of all stories or floors finished as living accommodations. This area includes bays and dormers but does not include space in garages or carports or in attics. Measurements are taken to the outside of exterior walls.

“Living unit” means a dwelling or portion thereof providing complete living facilities for one family, including permanent provision for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.


1.    “Habitable room” means a space used for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking, or combinations thereof, but not including bathrooms, toilet compartments, closets, halls, storage rooms, laundry and utility rooms, basement recreation rooms and similar spaces.

2.    “Combined rooms” means two or more adjacent habitable spaces which by their relationship, planning, and openness permit their common use.

“Shall” indicates that which is required.

“Should” indicates that which is recommended but not mandatory. (Ord. 2020-7 § 1. 2008 code § 16.02)

15.35.030 Abbreviations.


Bed Room


Dining-Kitchen Combination


Dining Room


Dining Space




Living-Dining Combination


Living-Dining-Kitchen Combination


Living Room


Living Unit




On Center

(2008 code § 16.03)

15.35.040 General.

1.    Each living unit shall have at least two habitable rooms, one of which shall be a bedroom and a bathroom.

2.    Unless otherwise noted, measurements are based upon dimensions between finished floor surfaces and rough ceiling surfaces (bottom joist) and between rough wall or rough partition surfaces.

3.    The area occupied by a stair or by closets shall not be included in the determination of required room area.

4.    Finished rooms in basements or below grade other than recreation rooms intended for year round occupancy are considered habitable rooms and shall comply with building planning standards in the same manner as rooms above grade.

5.    A bedroom partially enclosed by a movable partition constructed of durable and opaque materials may be accepted if the partition when closed provides privacy in the use of the bedroom.

6.    No residential structures shall exceed 48 feet in height.

7.    A ranch home shall contain a minimum of 1,350 square feet of living area and a multilevel home must have at least 800 square feet of living area on the first level with a minimum of 1,350 square feet total living area for a structure. Basement areas are not to be included as living areas. (2008 code § 16.04)

15.35.050 Minimum room sizes.

1.    Separate Rooms.


Total Min.







LU with 1-BR





LU with 2-BR






LU with 3-BR






LU with 4-BR






Least Dimension






*Passage space, face of base cabinet to face of base cabinet or face of opposite wall.

2.    Combined Rooms.


L.R. – D.S.

K. – D.S.

L.R. – D.S. – K.

LU with 1-BR




LU with 2-BR




LU with 3-BR




LU with 4-BR




Least Dimension



(a) (b)

a.    Least dimension of:

i.    Living room space, 11 feet.

ii.    Dining space, six feet (only eating space in living unit).

b.    Least dimension of:

i.    Kitchen, three feet, four inches passage space.

ii.    Dining space, six feet (only eating space in living unit).

3.    Other habitable rooms 80 sq. ft.: least dimension, eight feet.

4.    Bathrooms. Adequate for water closet, lavatory and tub or shower in nonrequired baths.

5.    Halls and Vestibules. Minimum width, three feet, planned to permit access of furniture.

6.    Bedroom Closet. Each bedroom shall have at least one closet having a minimum:

a.    Depth, two feet clear for required area.

b.    Width, three feet.

c.    Height, adequate to permit five feet clear hanging.

d.    One shelf and rod with at least eight inches clear space over shelf.

e.    At least one-half the closet depth shall be flat.

7.    Coat Closet. A coat closet shall be provided reasonably accessible to the living areas having the same minimum size and equipment as bedroom closets.

8.    Linen Closet.

a.    A linen closet shall be provided near bedrooms having a minimum:

i.    Depth, 14 inches.

ii.    Width, 18 inches.

iii.    Spacing of shelving, approximately 12 inches O.C.

iv.    Shelf area:

A.    One and two bedrooms, shelving nine square feet.

B.    Three and four bedrooms, 23 square feet.

b.    Maximum depth of shelving which may be included in required area, 24 inches.

c.    Volume of drawers may be substituted for a maximum of 50 percent of required shelf volume.

9.    Kitchen Storage.

a.    Each kitchen shall have accessible storage space for food and utensils and space for such activities and equipment needed to perform the intended functions.

b.    Minimum shelf and countertop area. Total shelving in wall and base cabinets, 50 square feet with not less than 20 square feet in either wall or base cabinets.

10.    General Storage.

a.    Usable general storage space shall be provided for the storage of items and equipment essential to the use of the occupants. This storage shall be in addition to required closets and kitchen storage.

b.    Minimum total volume, 200 cubic feet plus 75 cubic feet per bedroom.

c.    Location.

i.    At least 25 percent of the required volume shall be located within the dwelling and suitable for interior storage. This space may be separate storage closets, utility rooms, conveniently accessible attic space, suitable basement space, or similar spaces. Excess closet space may be included in required volume.

ii.    At least 50 percent of the required volume shall be located for convenient storage of items and equipment used out of doors. Exterior storage may be located in garage, storage locker, utility rooms, basements, or similar spaces. Access to exterior storage area should not be across a habitable room.

d.    Space occupied by or necessary for the use and access of permanent equipment and space in attics less than four feet in height shall not be included in required volume.

e.    Exterior storage space shall be lockable. Garage door meets this requirement.

11.    Ceiling Heights.

a.    Basement, nine feet nine inches measured from top of basement floor to bottom of floor joists.

b.    Habitable rooms.

i.    The maximum allowable height for any room ceiling on any level or story of a residence is 10 feet.

ii.    If beams or girders are spaced 32 inches on center or wider, average height seven feet clear.

iii.    That area with less than five feet clear headroom shall not be included in required room area.

c.    Bathrooms, toilet compartments, utility rooms, etc., average height, six feet eight inches clear.

d.    Halls, six feet eight inches clear.

e.    Minimum height suspended luminous ceilings or panels, seven feet clear except where lesser ceiling heights are permitted. (2008 code § 16.05)

15.35.060 Enforcement.

1.    The Town shall have the remedy of injunction against anyone who violates the provisions of this chapter.

2.    No certificates of occupancy shall be issued for any building not meeting the standards of this chapter.

3.    In addition to the penalty of injunction, any person who violates any provision of this chapter or any order, rule, or regulation made pursuant thereto shall be subject to a forfeiture as provided in this code.

4.    The Town Planning Commission shall have the authority to consider variances or requests for exceptions to the strict provisions of this code where applications demonstrate that the intent of this ordinance shall not be violated or frustrated, the public interest would not be harmed by permitting site specific exceptions or variances to this code or where large sizes or the lack of immediate neighboring residences should permit larger structures and attached facilities. (2008 code § 16.06)