The Wisconsin Assembly voted Tuesday, 62-35, to approve a bill that would allow Dane County towns to opt out of county zoning. Under current law, cities and villages control zoning development, while most towns share authority with the county, which has veto power.
Members of the Dane County Towns Association pushed for the changes, arguing they will offer more local autonomy to grow tax bases. But county, city and village officials lobbied heavily against it, arguing it would fragment decision-making and could erode the current balance of farmland and development in the county.
As written, the bill would only apply to Dane County.
The full story from the Capital Times is here.
First discussed here, the Wisconsin Legislature included in its budget bill a provision that would have exempted a state building development at Hill Farms from Madison zoning ordinances, and another that would have required the Department of Administration to solicit lease options outside of Dane and Milwaukee counties before renewing leases for state offices
This week Governor Scott Walker used his line item veto authority to veto both provisions. The full story can be found here:
A week or so ago I posted about all the interesting things you can find in the Wisconsin Legislature’s budget bill that have nothing to do with the state budget, from exempting single state buildings from Madison’s zoning ordinance and requiring the state to consider relocating its agencies to buildings outside of Dane and Milwaukee counties before renewing current leases, to altering Madison’s ability to use its lodging tax to support city services.
There is more! Republicans also added to the state budget a provision that would bar counties from imposing stiffer zoning requirements along shorelines than those in state law. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an op-ed today opposing the measure, arguing that “it’s absurd to think that one size fits all, especially considering there are 15,000 lakes in Wisconsin with different levels of development around them. Counties should have the authority to work out improved controls for the lakes in their jurisdictions when warranted and in conjunction with property owners and lake associations.”
Another for the “state involved in local affairs” file. The Republican-led budget committee of the Wisconsin House insert a provision in the budget bill to exempt the site of the Hill Farms state office building from the City of Madison’s zoning regulations. The office building is slated for redevelopment, and the city and the state have been working to accommodate the new building in the city’s zoning code. “It is of concern to us, not just in terms of this building but in terms of the future,” said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.
The full story from the Wisconsin State Journal is here.
Another interesting story that reflects the tensions
between the city of Madison and the state legislature: Another proposal tucked into the budget bill would require the state to consider relocating its agencies to buildings outside of Dane and Milwaukee counties before renewing current leases.
And even more! Another proposal
in the budget bill would alter the Madison’s ability to use its lodging tax to support city services, the Mayor saying it could cost Madison’s general fund $1 million next year.
In this commentary from the Cap Times (Madison, Wisconsin) columnist Bill Berry states the case for zoning in rural areas. The issue du jour in Wisconsin (as in NE Iowa) is frac sand mining, but you could quickly create a long list of land uses that have stirred up controversy in rural areas over the years. Neither Rick Stadelman – who I had occasion to work with years ago – nor the Wisconsin Towns Association would be described as left-leaning; however, Rick has long been a champion for Wisconsin towns controlling their destinies through good comprehensive plans and consistently administered zoning regulations.
The need for fracking sand has created intense pressure to open new sand mines and expand operations in existing mines in many Midwestern states. In the Wisconsin legislature, a new bill would prohibit local governments from imposing new zoning ordinances that are more restrictive than existing zoning rules on existing operations. The bill also would shield sand mines from any other new ordinance or license requirement if the mines are operating within the year preceding the ordinance or requirement’s adoption.
The full article from Fox 11 News website in Madison is here.
Last October the Wisconsin Court of Appeals ruled that towns do not have the jurisdiction to zone shorelands in Wisconsin; the exclusive jurisdiction lies with counties. At least one town has asked its county to adopt stricter shoreland zoning rules within the boundaries of the county. The article from the Ashland Daily Press is here. Ashland County is in northern Wisconsin.