Laura Detert — City of Racine
Planning in the City of Racine
Planning focuses on the correlation between the City’s goals and objectives established in the Comprehensive Plan and the implementation of that Plan throughout the community. The Planning Division of the Department of City Development provides regular support to the City Planning Commission, the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Racine (RDA), the Landmarks Commission, the Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) and the Downtown Design Review Committee regarding land use and development issues. Planning staff work closely with other departments to coordinate the review of design standards, site plan reviews and development projects throughout the City. City Development staff also work with consultants to develop project and area plans for specific parts of the City.
Beyond the big picture aspects of planning, implementing the City’s goals involves working with citizens and business owners, one on one, on a daily basis. Planning staff can help you determine appropriate locations for your business, if any permits or licenses may be needed, and if any committee or commission action needs to occur on your way to getting up and running. Get in touch to discuss your business plan with us.
This guide was developed to be used in conjunction with the Build Up Racine website. It covers things such as licensing, building and other permits, City grant programs and who to contact regarding your project. We encourage you to use this resource and also to get in touch with staff to discuss how to successfully navigate the review processes and keep your project moving forward.
Adopted City Plans
The City of Racine has adopted several citywide and area specific plans to guide the development of the City. Below are links to a number of the plans and guidelines adopted by the City of Racine. The subarea plans work in conjunction with the citywide Comprehensive Plan to provide a framework for development within the City.
- City of Racine 2035 Comprehensive Plan
- Comprehensive Plan Adopted Elements and Area Plan List
- Downtown Plan – 2005
- Live Towerview Plan
- RootWorks Area Wide Plan
- Southside Plan
- 2017-2019 Greater Uptown Neighborhood Revitalization Strategy Area Plan
- Uptown Neighborhood Strategic Development Plan 2015
- Uptown Improvement Plan
- West Racine Plan – 2002
Design Review Districts
Several areas of the City have been designated as design review districts which have standards that differ from the standards of the Zoning Ordinance. Development in these districts generally require additional levels of building exterior or site design review. Depending on the district, this review may be completed by staff or it may have to go before a committee. Funding may be available for exterior building improvements through the various Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) or the City’s Facade Grant programs.
Specific information regarding the design review districts is listed below:
- Downtown Design Area Map 2006
- Downtown Design Standards – Complete Document 2005
- Douglas Avenue Design Guidelines – Amended 2008
- West Racine Design Guidelines – Amended 2006
- Uptown Design Guidelines 2006
Active Redevelopment Areas
There are several portions of the City where specific redevelopment plans and initiatives have been implemented. These areas are ripe for new investment and offer excellent opportunities for a mix of business and residential development. Several have Tax Incremental Districts (TIDs) in place or other incentive programs that may provide assistance that meets your needs.
Draft Heritage Preservation Plan- Landmarks Preservation Commission
Heritage Preservation Plan Objectives
The Racine Landmarks Preservation Commissions is in the process of preparing a heritage preservation plan for the City of Racine with the assistance of the planning firm The Lakota Group. The plan will provide a review of previous work to include the following:
- An analysis of commercial/industrial corridor plans, and neighborhood plans
- An analysis of the existing inventory listed in city, county, state, or national databases including: Architectural and Historical Survey of the City of Racine (1979), the State of Wisconsin Historical Society, the National Parks Service National Register of Historic Places
- An analysis of local, regional, state or national preservation efforts and historically significant properties, structures and sites not previously inventoried
The purpose of the project is to prepare an action oriented preservation planning document that will provide an updated inventory of existing historic properties, districts, and potential heritage sites, update the inventory to include significant sites or contributing properties. The Heritage Preservation Plan shall be designed to improve and celebrate the preservation of historic and cultural resources in the City of Racine. Specific project objectives include:
- To identify issues, concerns and opportunities that affect the preservation of the City’s historic and cultural resources;
- To assess the status of historic preservation in the community, including existing preservation mechanisms, and the integration of historic preservation goals and objectives in other aspects of the City of Racine’s municipal departments including public works, engineering, building, housing, parks, planning and development.
- To identify priorities for preservation and develop an action plan for implementing priority preservation goals and objectives.
- Foster communication, education and cooperation between existing groups engaged in preservation activities, including landmark property owners.
- Provide assessment and guidance in the promotion of heritage tourism opportunities.
The Draft of the Heritage Preservation Plan can be reviewed by following this link to the plan’s webpage at Heritage Preservation Plan – City of Racine
Planning Processes, Forms and Applications
For all applications, a pre-submittal conference is required. Contact Matt Sadowski, Assistant Director/Principal Planner, at 262-636-9151 or by email or Jeff Hintz, Associate Planner, at 262-636-9473 or by email.
The City Development Department reviews requests for conditional use permits, amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, zoning changes, certified survey maps, and development requests requiring site plan reviews. Some items are brought before the Joint Plan review Team, Plan Commission, Redevelopment Authority of the City of Racine, or a design review committee. Others are reviewed by staff with no outside committee review required. The Planning staff will determine the appropriate process for your item and will help you understand the process to complete your project.