What Will Your Community Look Like?

Who will guide the future of your community?

  • Local Residents
  • Government Officials
  • Developers
  • Recreational Home Owners
  • Farmers
  • Corporations
  • Advocacy Groups
  • Area Youth
  • Mother Nature?

You can help guide the future of your community through comprehensive planning. 

Consequences of Planning and not Planning

  • Planning
    • Allows local government to prepare for public service needs and associated costs.
    • Gives residents an opportunity to discuss and direct the future of their community.
    • Explores alternatives that will serve and guide a community in a preferred direction.
    • Shows developers and government officials the location and types of development that are wanted by the community.
    • Implementation of a plan may restrict how you use your property and how your neighbor uses their property.
  • No Planning
    • Local government may have to react to public service crises resulting from unanticipated development or changes.
    • The future just “happens” to a community rather than the community guiding its own future.
    • Without guidance from the community through a plan, decisions that effect your land are determined by the opinion of government officials, other residents, and outside interests.
    • With nothing to implement, there can be fewer restrictions on use of your property, and your neighbor is not restricted from using their property in ways that may effect you.

Reality Check

  • Developing a successful plan can be difficult, because there is a need to balance conflicting views and needs.
  • Plans take time and money. The plan will need to be updated to keep up with the changing world.
  • Planning will not provide a solution to every issue, however, without a plan, few solutions are provided.

Planning vs. Zoning

Planning — Describes how the community would like to develop based on the existing & anticipated situation and describes how to get there. A plan is a guide that can be implemented through a combination of methods including: education, incentives, regulation, acquisition, and self initiation.

Zoning — Is one of many regulatory tools (methods) used to implement a plan. It describes what can and can’t be done on a particular parcel.

Smart Growth Legislation

In October 1999, Wisconsin passed new law related to planning termed “Smart Growth”. This new law elaborated on Wisconsin’s 1928 and 1967 definitions of a plan. It includes a list of the 9 elements that make up a comprehensive plan. In addition, it outlines plan adoption procedures and requires that beginning January 1, 2010, any program or action of a local government unit that effects land use must be consistent with an adopted comprehensive plan.

9 Elements of a Comprehensive Plan

  • Issues & Opportunities
  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Utilities & Community Facilities
  • Agricultural, Natural, and Cultural Resources
  • Economic Development
  • Intergovernmental Cooperation
  • Land-Use
  • Implementation