Dane County Executive Teams Up With Locals To Oppose Legislation
December 16, 2015
Stephanie Miller, 608-267-8823
Parisi: “Bill is a turning point moment for Dane County”
Dane County Executive Joe Parisi teamed with Dane County’s Cities and Villages and a number of Towns to oppose legislation at the State Capitol that could dramatically change how and where new development occurs across our region. If passed, the proposed legislation would end decades of collaborative regional cooperation in Dane County. The legislation, pushed by some members of the Dane County Towns Association, had a hearing in the State Assembly last week.
“This is a turning point moment for Dane County,” said Dane County Executive Joe Parisi. “If this legislation passes it will dramatically limit our ability to manage the manner in which our communities grow and develop, as well as our ability to maintain the character of our region. It will alter the careful balance local leaders have respected for many decades. Our quality of life - - our growing communities, surrounded by productive, thriving agricultural lands and natural resources - - are a big part of what makes Dane County such a special place to live. Under the proposed legislation, towns would have the ability to approve controversial projects - like a mine or a large development that would affect their neighbors without any input from neighboring communities.”
New developments currently result from careful collaboration between cities, villages and towns with the county. The county works with developers and towns to ensure that emergency responders can get to new developments and that environmental impacts like flood risk are taken into account before homes are built and problems occur.
Dane County is adding more people than any place in Wisconsin. Between 2008-2012, Dane County accounted for 70% of the growth happening in Wisconsin.
“This bill is unfair and will have broad implications for cities and villages,” stated Forbes McIntosh, spokesperson for the Dane County Cities’ & Villages’ Association. “Land use issues can be contentious, but this legislation will substantially alter the regional planning dynamic. Dane County cities, villages and many towns vehemently oppose this legislation that would drastically alter our landscape."
County Executive Parisi also pointed out the proposed legislation could endanger Dane County’s multi-generational family farms. While Dane County’s population continues to grow so does the agriculture economy. Dane County is among the top dairy producing counties in the entire United States – which has more than 3,000 counties. Farming accounts for over $3 billion in economic activity and thousands of jobs.
Fractured planning could also compromise public safety. Dane County Planning manages a coordinated rural addressing system to ensure accurate information for Dane County 911 and emergency responders. Fracturing the town-county zoning function will create a disconnect in the assignment of rural addresses and potentially introduce an increased element of error and risk into the system.
Another concern raised by County Executive Parisi is the environmental harm that will happen without any oversight. Parisi said the loss of centralized, coordinated planning and zoning could trigger unmitigated sprawl, dramatically altering our landscape and threatening natural resources like our lakes, rivers, and streams.
“No bill the State Legislature will consider this session poses a greater threat to our quality of life in Dane County,” concluded Parisi. “Passage could have an irreversible effect on our landscape. Instead of collaboration and forward planning, development will be able to occur at the whim of a few not accountable to the needs or wishes of their neighbors.”