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MidTown Tosa Draft Zoning Regulations

What is MidTown Tosa?

From Menomonee River Parkway to Wauwatosa Avenue (76th Street), “MidTown Tosa” is known for a mix of businesses and housing.

The east and west sections are primarily residential in use, while neighborhood commercial services and offices populate the central section.

The Wauwatosa Common Council adopted the MidTown North Avenue Strategic Plan in May, 2018.  As a first step toward implementing the MidTown Plan, draft zoning regulations are now being proposed for public comment and consideration. 

For the majority of properties, there are no significant changes. We want to highlight the proposed changes to zoning and highlight a few specific examples.

Download the draft zoning map.

Types of proposed zoning districts

Currently, residential properties are zoned “R-2, R-4, or R-8.” Commercial properties are zoned “CO or C2.” We are proposing the creation of three new MidTown zoning districts to replace the existing districts: Residential, Mixed Use, and Transitional.

  • Residential district regulations help implement the limited multi-family recommendations of the MidTown North Avenue plan. This district includes a house, multi-unit residential building, or public/civic building.
  • The Mixed Use district pertains to the commercial core of the MidTown commercial area and includes commercial buildings, vertical mixed-use buildings, or a public/civic building.
  • Transitional district regulations relate to the transitional areas of the MidTown North Avenue plan and incorporate residential and limited commercial uses.

The general restrictions in the zoning districts

The current structures and use of properties can remain in place. In the future, if a property owner completes exterior improvements that require a building permit, a site plan approval, or a change in property use, the MidTown zoning district regulations would apply. Any redevelopment would be subject to these regulations. Below are some of the proposed changes, and you can read more in the MidTown Zoning Use Changes Table and the draft zoning code:

  • We’re putting height restrictions on commercial buildings.  Currently commercial buildings zoned C2 do not have height restrictions.The proposed changes would implement a 3 story or 42 foot height restriction in the Transitional zoning district and a 4 story or 55 foot height restriction in the Mixed Use district. 
  • Transparency is the minimum percentage of windows or transparent elements on a street-facing building. In this code, a new commercial building would need to have 50-60% windows on the buildings that face North Avenue.
  • There are landscaping requirements that govern lot edges.
  • We’re making pedestrian access a priority by requiring that safe and convenient pedestrian pathways from the public sidewalk. 
  • Exterior wall finishes of properties that face North Avenue have to be at least 80% made of brick or stone. This improves or maintains the aesthetic and character of MidTown Tosa.

Uses no longer allowed in the any of the proposed MidTown zoning districts are as follows.

  • Convenient cash businesses
  • Cremating
  • Large-format retail (big box retail)
  • Auto wash/cleaning
  • Heavy and light vehicles and equipment sales and rentals
  • Motor vehicle repairs
  • Vehicle Storage and Towing
  • Drive-through or drive-in facilities

Two additional use changes are as follows:

  • Day cares with more than eight individuals will no longer be permitted in the MidTown residential district and will require a conditional use permit in the MidTown transitional and mixed use districts.
  • Cigarette, cigar or tobacco stores will no longer be allowed in MidTown transitional district and will require a conditional use permit in the MidTown mixed use district.

How you can interact with this plan

Download the draft zoning code. Please leave your comments below.

You can also call or e-mail us with any questions you have at 414-479-3521 or 414-479-3520 and

Results From Public Meeting

Thanks for meeting with us in February 2019. We assembled public comments and answers to questions. Download the responses.

Next Steps

  • Public Hearing – Tuesday, May 21
  • Community Affairs Committee – Tuesday, May 28
  • Common Council – Tuesday, June 4


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