The development of the Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Wheatland was in response to the passage of Wisconsin State Statute 66.1001. This statute mandates that all municipalities (counties, cities, towns, and villages) adopt a comprehensive plan by January 1, 2010 if they wish to make any land use decisions. Effective January 1, 2010, any municipality that “affects land use” through regulation—such as zoning, ordinances, or official mapping—must make its decisions in accordance with that community’s comprehensive plan.
The Town of Wheatland believes it is integral to local control that we have a voice in local land use decisions that affect our citizens and property owners. If we fail to submit a comprehensive plan we defer to other government entities to make decisions that potentially will affect our land use. We believe our citizens and our locally elected town board will best represent and protect our interests in the comprehensive planning mandate.
At the April 14, 2009 Annual Town Meeting the Elector’s present voted to authorize the Town Board to pursue establishment of a Town of Wheatland Comprehensive Plan as mandated by Wisconsin State Statute 66.1001 also known as “Smart Growth”.
The statute requires the Town Chair to appoint a citizen committee from within the Town to serve as planners and advisors for this effort. A non-partisan group of citizens from across the Town populace was appointed to become the Comprehensive Planning Committee by the Town Board at the May 11, 2009, Regular Board Meeting.
At this meeting the Board also signed a contract with Davy Engineering Co. of La Crosse to help facilitate and provide consultant leadership during the planning phase and assist in drafting the final document.
The Comprehensive Planning Committee provided citizen input to the plan and provided a resource to encourage the public to participate in public meetings as well as surveyed property owners for input into the plan.
We recognize that no government can solve every challenge and we believe strongly in personal responsibility and accountability for our actions. We believe our most important asset is our citizens and we need to improve communication between them and the town government to ensure unity of purpose and action. Although we may respectfully disagree at times, the planning survey and public meetings demonstrate we have much more in common that unites us than differences that divide us as a community. As we look to the future planning for our community, we will need to build on our shared values and we will rely on citizen participation and volunteers to move forward together.
PURPOSE AND USE OF THIS PLAN
The purpose and use of the town’s comprehensive plan extends beyond the need to ensure local control and input by meeting the requirements of Wisconsin Statute 66.1001.
Of utmost importance is the documentation of the town’s goals and a plan to achieve them. Citizen participation in the process is an essential element in the plan prior to the plan’s formal adoption by the town board. A potential benefit of the comprehensive plan is to enhance eligibility for existing and future funding programs and grants. A comprehensive plan provides a resource to residents and businesses to ensure unity of purpose to enhance economic opportunities.
The contents of the Comprehensive Plan require the following nine elements: 1) Issues and Opportunities, 2) Housing, 3) Transportation, 4) Utilities and Community Facilities, 5) Agricultural, Natural and Cultural Resources, 6) Economic Development, 7) Intergovernmental Cooperation, 8) Land Use, and 9) Implementation. Each of these elements is highlighted in a corresponding chapter in this plan document.
The Town of Wheatland Plan Commission is the supervisory planning body for the development of this plan. The commission was selected from the pre-existing broad-based Town of Wheatland Plan Committee. On September 24, 2009, the Town Board appointed the Wheatland Plan Commission.
The Wheatland Plan Commission is responsible for a resolution for preliminary approval of the comprehensive plan to the Town Board. Once the comprehensive plan is accepted by the Town Board, the Plan Commission will be responsible for managing and making future recommendations in accordance with the plan to the Town Board for final approval. The comprehensive plan should be reviewed and updated periodically to ensure continued relevance to citizen and community needs.
The structure of the nine planning elements referenced above centers on identification of goals, objectives, policies, and programs for each element. The recommendations of the plan are contained in four subject areas as required by the governing state statute. They are as follows:
Goals:General statements of idealized conditions and aspirations
Objectives: Targeted areas of planning to be dealt with to achieve goals
Policies: Principles and standards to guide actions in achieving goals and objectives
Programs: Specific actions and projects to implement goals, objectives, and policies
All recommendations in this Comprehensive Plan are advisory and can be amended by the Plan Commission and Town Board. The Wisconsin State Statute 66.1001 requires that certain ordinances related to land use must be “consistent” with the Comprehensive Plan.
The balance of the Comprehensive Plan document represents data, analysis and recommendations.