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 compliments
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
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
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
210 McClellan Street
Wausau, WI 54403
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
Department of Administration.