LAND USE ELEMENT
The land use pattern for the Town of Wheatland is mostly agricultural mixed with hardwood forests, and scattered residential development with two unincorporated communities, Red Mound and Victory. On the west boundary of the town is the Mississippi River corridor and steep bluffs. The town is part of the Mississippi River Valley and characterized by ridges and valleys. The streams of the Rush Creek Watershed and the Bad Axe Watershed run through the town. The town’s scenic beauty, wildlife, recreational, and sporting opportunities attract future residents and tourists. The town is within commuting distance to La Crosse.
79% of the survey respondents rated the quality of life in the town as good/excellent. Again, 90.1% of respondents rated our natural resources (i.e. woodlands, streams, valleys, hill, and scenery) as excellent/good. There is a strong desire on the part of citizens to preserve and protect this critical natural resource.
Important land use planning criteria include the continued viability of farming in the town, minimizing residential conflicts with agricultural land use, managing land use to remain compatible with the town road system, and land development compatible with the limitations posed by steep slopes. Existing land use can be examined by developing a detailed map of the various land use parcels using aerial photography and some on-site verification. The development of maps and related data in the planning process detail current land use pattern and provide a framework for formulating how land might best be used in the future.
Historically, there has been opposition to land use regulation. At the same time land use conflicts are becoming a problem. Survey respondents and some of the citizen input at public meetings showed support for limits on land changing activity. Land use and private property rights are intertwined with land use management and regulation. The need to make decisions on land use is often the most contentious for some residents and landowners. The planning process must consider a range of ideas and opinions relative to land use, property rights, and community values. This is a participatory process where personal opinions and desires as well as legal and political considerations all have a place in comprehensive planning.
8.2INVENTORY OF EXISTING LAND USES 2.Map of Existing Land Use 3.Supply, Demand, and Price of Land
There is an adequate supply of land for all categories of land use that would have a need to locate in the town. There is a very limited demand for land for urban type use. Land use conversion in the area has been minor. To date there has been a moderate increase in demand for rural, scenic non-farm housing. The price of land has increased over the years and the population projections for the town are certainly going to accelerate that trend as the demand for scenic building sites increase proportionately. There are ample lots available in the “platted” developments.
The hamlets of Red Mound and Victory have redevelopment opportunities due to their location and clustering of population. Tourism is critical to the economic success of the town. Efforts to develop businesses that lend themselves to supporting tourism such as recreation, historical touring, wildlife and scenic viewing, sporting, and related services would improve the local economic base and provide job opportunities. Victory benefits from being on the Great River Road and the Mississippi River transportation corridors. Victory has potential for the development of fishing and recreational boating. Red Mound is nestled in an area of unique topography and the natural hub of activity as the seat of town government and services. The Black Hawk Historical Trail frequently brings tourists through the hamlet. Both settlements are tied to our rural and historical heritage.
5.Existing and Potential Land Use Conflicts
Existing and potential land use conflicts have been identified in the planning survey for the town. A particular concern raised by residents has been bluff land development due to soil erosion, steep roadways, and disruption of the town’s scenic landscape. Residents have also expressed concern over the growing pressure for future building sites on open spaces and agriculture. Residents have expressed displeasure with some property owner’s disregard for other property owners and community values. Clearly, residents are becoming aware of the importance of developing guidelines to maintain the integrity of their property and community.
8.3LAND USE PROJECTIONS 1.Projections by 5 Year Increments 2.Future Land Use by Net Density
The net density of future land use in the Town of Wheatland is projected to be the same as present land use densities as set by county and town density regulations.
3.Future Land Use Map 8.4GOALS AND OBJECTIVES 1.Preserve private property rights while recognizing the rights of the community, including protecting the natural environment and resources. 2.Promote town land use ordinances for development. 3.Protect and sustain the natural resources of Mississippi River, Rush Creek Watershed and Bad Axe Watershed. 4.Preserve farm land, housing and rural atmosphere 5.Support well-planned and regulated residential development 6.Protect home and property values from incompatible land uses and environmental degradation 7.Encourage the development of short term lodging such as bed and breakfasts and camping sites for tourism, visitors and sporting enthusiasts. 8.5POLICIES 1.Evaluate development proposals according to consistency with the Comprehensive Plan. 2.Insure that town land use development maintains property values, avoids blight, and is coordinated with county and town road needs. 3.Insure that town land use development protects the natural environment and protects and promotes the cultural and historic integrity of the town. 4.Assess impact fees to land developers to pay for public infrastructure and services related to a given development. 5.In working with the county, consider enrolling the town in the state program for the Working Lands Initiative intended to help preserve agricultural land. 8.6ACTION PROGRAMS 1.Increase the level of understanding about land use options and cost/benefits. 2.Promote redevelopment opportunities in Red Mound and Victory. 3.Promote and use best practices to find solutions for areas prone to flooding. 4.Designate land uses through comprehensive plan that reflect best use of land. 5.Improve infrastructure of roads, short term lodging, gathering places and recreation. 6.Promote, support and grow opportunities to enhance Black Hawk Park facilities as a major attraction to the area. 7.Ensure residents maintain local control over land use decisions.