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Wood County Comprehensive Planning

Several years have passed since the adoption of Wisconsin's Comprehensive Planning Law. This law requires all units of local government that are involved in land use decision to have plans in place by January 1, 2010, if they want to continue their involvement in land use decision making. What does this mean for Wood County? In Wood County 11 of 22 towns, all 8 villages, and all 4 cities will be required to have comprehensive plans. In addition, Wood County will need to have a plan that covers all municipalities in the County. County staff has spent time talking with County residents and elected officials to find out how to meet the requirements of the state law in a practical and cost effective manner. Options were discussed including whether or not to apply for state grant funding, the level of detail the plan would include, and whether county staff or consultants would write the plan.

In the end our goal is to have 1 county comprehensive plan, written by county planning staff without any state grant dollars. The plan is based on public input and complements those local plans that have been developed by towns, cities and villages in Wood County. Although the County Plan does not contain the level of detail that many would like to see, it will serve as a solid foundation for developing more detailed local plans.

Following the many meetings and open houses that we had with County residents, we are confident that we have approached comprehensive planning in a way that meets the statutory requirements for the County, and at the same time establishes a starting point for municipalities that need to have local comprehensive plans. The County plan will be presented to the County Board on August 18, 2009 for adoption. Following adoption of the plan, County planning staff will be available to assist municipalities with local plans and ordinances if requested.

We look forward to working with you in the near future.

The Wood County Comprehensive Plan

Chapter 66.1001, Wisconsin Statutes, lists nine elements that comprise a comprehensive plan. Wood County has addressed each element as a separate chapter of our comprehensive plan. Individual comprehensive plan elements can be accessed by clicking on the selections below:

NOTE: Formatting changes and text changes may be made to these documents until the comprehensive plan is adopted by the County Board (scheduled for September 22, 2009). Changes may include amended goals and objectives as the result of public and County Board review and comment. Please check back for changes until that time.

Local Comprehensive Plans

The requirements of Chapter 66.1001, Wisconsin Statutes, applies to local comprehensive plans as well as to plans at the county or regional level. Each plan must contain the nine planning elements, which are (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 must also have a plan to encourage and allow the public to participate.

Regional Comprehensive Plan

In December of 2003 the North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission adopted the updated Regional Comprehensive Plan. The current plan is titled A Framework for the Future, 2000-2020 , and is an update of the 1981 plan titled A Framework for Regional Development . Even though the plan is only advisory it serves as a useful resource in planning efforts throughout the region. Contact the North Central Wisconsin Regional planning Commission to obtain a copy of the comprehensive plan and learn more about NCWRPC.

North Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission
210 McClellan Street
Suite 210
Wausau, WI 54403
Phone: 715-849-5510
Fax: 715-849-5110
Email: info@ncwrpc.org

Learning About Comprehensive Planning

The Comprehensive Planning Law was passed as part of the 1999-2001 Wisconsin biennial budget. Being a relatively new law, most people are not familiar with it, and there are many rumors and misinterpretations of the law that add to the confusion.

By searching the internet using the search phrases, comprehensive planning or smart growth, you will find thousands of web pages that pertain to subject. Keep in mind that comprehensive planning or smart growth laws vary substantially from state to state, and the planning approaches vary as much as the geographic area they represent.

The links along the right hand side of this page list some reference materials that we have found to be useful in educating ourselves on the comprehensive planning law. Some of the materials explain the requirements of the Wisconsin law, and some serve as guides on how to develop a comprehensive plan.

A comprehensive plan should contain 9 elements. The following document briefly explains the statutory requirements of the 9 elements as well as a checklist of items that can be included in each. The checklist is advisory only and is being provided as a resource to help communities determine what to include in each planning element.

Comprehensive Plan Checklist

Contact the Planning & Zoning Office if you have any questions. Staff members are happy to share what they know about the requirements of the law, and resources available for completing comprehensive plans.

Grants for Comprehensive Planning

The Comprehensive Planning Law is a Wisconsin law that was passed as part of the 1999-2001 biennial budget. Annually the state awards $2 million in grants to all levels of government to be used for completing comprehensive plans that meet the requirements of State Statute Chapter 66. The grant application process is competitive and applications can be submitted more than once. Most of the grants require a 50% local match and multi jurisdictional applications have been more successful than applications of a single municipality.

Learn more about comprehensive planning grants administered by the State of Wisconsin through the Department of Administration.