Right of Way, Setbacks and Vision Corners

Right of Way

A road Right of Way is defined as the area needed for traffic lanes, shoulders, ditches, etc.  The Right of Way extends beyond the paved area of the road and often includes public utilities.  Encroachments on the Right of Way can be a safety hazard to motorists and include items such as trees, signs, fences, retaining walls, landscape rock, etc.  In most instances Right of Ways extend 33’ from the center line of the road, but this distance may vary in some cases.  

Although mailboxes are an item that are typically allowed within the Right of Way area, it is advised they not be constructed or protected by materials such as bricks, concrete, large timbers etc. since these create a potential hazard if struck by a vehicle.  

Signs are NOT allowed to be placed in the right of way.  This includes garage sale, real estate and political signs. If a sign is found to be placed within the Right of Way an employee may be directed to remove the sign.  If you think a sign has been removed from your property, please contact the Door County Highway Department at 920-746-2500.  If we have it you are welcome to pick it up at our office.  

If you are looking to perform work within the Right of Way or want clarification of the Right of Way distance adjacent to your property, please contact the Highway Department regarding State and County Roads or your Town office or chairperson if you property abuts a town road.


Setbacks are areas abutting a roadway in which structures and improvements cannot be erected, installed or maintained.  Setback distances for each classification of road is as follows:

  • State Highway 42 or 57 - 100 feet from the center line
  • County Highways (ie County B, County DK County G) - 75 feet from the center line
  • Town Roads (ie:  Dump Road, Lake Lane, etc.) - 65 feet from the center line when County Zoning is in effect

Persons seeking a variance or an exception to the setback requirement on a County Highway must ask for permission from the Door County Highway and Airport Committee before constructing or installing any structure or improvement.  Variances are not guaranteed and must be analyzed by the committee to see if the request meets specific criteria.    

For information on variances and exceptions to the setback requirement on Town Roads, please contact your town office or chairperson.  

Vision Corners

Diagram to show a vision triangle areaVision corners are triangular areas at intersections in which structures, improvements and landscaping are restricted because they can block the ability of motorists to see oncoming vehicles.  

For all County Highway intersections, the setback building line is established as a straight line connecting the two vision points on the two intersecting setback lines at each corner of the said intersecting highway.  The triangle formed is defined as a vision corner.  At every intersection of setback lines, there are two vision points. A vision point is established as being 60 feet back from the intersection of the setback lines.  No buildings, signs, billboards or anything that will obstruct the view shall be erected on the lands lying within the vision corner. Any shrubs or trees lying within the vision corner shall be trimmed to a sufficient height to give a clear view for vehicles.  

Click here for specific information on Right of Way, Setbacks and Vision Corners in Door County Code Chapter 11