“Now is the time for all of us to decide where we want to grow and what we want to preserve,” Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said today in announcing how she will involve citizens and local governments in creating a map for the county. “This is the single biggest issue that people talk to me about.”
Under a bright blue sky at the county’s Lake Farm / Centennial Park where development in southeast Madison can be seen in the distance, Falk announced that she will start this phase of her Attain Dane land use plan with six listening sessions around the county.
The first will be held Wednesday, January 19, at 7 p.m., in the Town of Sun Prairie Hall, 5556 Twin Lane Road. Other working sessions will follow in the Villages of Oregon, DeForest and Cross Plains, and in the Cities of Verona and Madison. They will be completed this spring, by Memorial Day.
At each working session, Falk will display maps that clearly show the combined growth that will take place under the planning done separately by each municipality in that region. This combined growth will consume much more land than most people expect.
“Today we start changing the cycle of short term planning where we literally sprawl away our way of life,” said Falk. “Under the status quo we lose what we love. We lose our farms, community character, natural resources and wonderful lakes, while traffic jams increase. Attain Dane breaks this mold.”
Major points of Attain Dane! include:
· At mapping working sessions, citizens and local government leaders will tell Falk their priorities for preservation and development in their region. After the six working sessions, Falk will then create a county-wide map identifying areas to protect and areas where development can occur.
· The areas designated for preservation (large tracts of farmland and natural areas) would be protected through a transfer of development rights (TDR) program.
· A system of tax base sharing and intergovernmental agreements will be implemented, to share the benefits of development and to reduce competition for development among municipalities.
Falk convened a work group that has been meeting regularly to develop details of a Transfer of Development Rights policy for the county and its municipalities.
“A bold initiative is needed, or we will simply plan ourselves to sprawl to death,” said Falk. Dane County added more people than any other county in the state during the past 10 years. The county is adding 60,000 people a decade—that’s the equivalent of adding a Mount Horeb every year, or three Sun Prairies every 10 years.
An overview of Falk’s Attain Dane land use plan can be found at http://www.co.dane.wi.us/exec/exechome.htm.
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