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Thread: School board approval of subdivision plats

  1. #1
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    School board approval of subdivision plats

    The Wisconsin Legislature is considering a bill to require School Board approval of subdivision plats. The bill as currently drafted would allow a School Board to place conditions on a new subdivision to ensure that it not pose a safety hazard to busing of students, not increase school district transportation costs, not reduce school district state aids, and not otherwise adversely affect the school district budget. Do any other states have something similar? And if so, what are the advantages/disadvantages?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Being a Wisconsin consulting planner, this is silly. School Districts don't have planners capable of making these findings and who will enforce them? With the state spending caps and madatory teacher raises required by the legislature, our school districts are cutting staff and programs, not adding them.

    We already have the Safe Routes to School program handing our millions in grants.

    OY what are they thinking.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Well....

    Colorado's Supreme Court provided for School District (defacto, if asked) approval of land use changes in the Bainbridge case:

    Meanwhile, Douglas County, Colo. -- another high-growth district -- began fighting back after the state's high court ruled against impact fees. School officials lobbied the municipal government to cut back on the number of residential building permits it granted to developers. Facing serious financial losses, the developers created a foundation that would pay for school building projects, funded by a voluntary school impact fee. In four years, the foundation has raised $11 million for school construction.
    from:
    http://www.asbj.com/199906/0699expresslines.html
    Skilled Adoxographer

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Would a school board ever recommend approval of a new subdivision if they are always struggling to pay for education?

  5. #5
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    Chet I completely agree with your comments and I see real problems with this legislation as drafted. However, I also think that School Districts are really caught between the State and its limitations on the one hand and local municipalities and their lust for new tax base on the other hand. As a case in point I live in a school district that covers several municipalities, one of which is growth crazy right now. Their local elementary school is already bursting at the seams and the Village is in the process of approving a subdivision that is going to nearly double the population of the Village. The Village gets to impose impact fees and special assessments and/or raise their sewer/water rates (without a referendum) to pay for the improvements to their water and sewer system, and maybe a new police station too down the road, but the School District will have to go to a referendum (and we all know how easy those are) for the new school that will be necessary almost immediately. Maybe giving them subdivision plat review isn't the answer, but I think that something needs to be done.

    Anyone out there know of something that works??

  6. #6
    Cyburbian solarstar's avatar
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    Florida has adopted something somewhat similar recently, and we're still getting a handle on how to work this. School districts had to scramble and hire planners to deal with this requirement. It has required developers to step back and look at the impact on schools, and, when necessary, provide $, land, etc. for school construction. Here's a link to some general info on the requirements in Florida: http://www.dca.state.fl.us/fdcp/dcp/...ning/index.cfm

    It's modeled after Palm Beach County, which seems to have just shell-gamed school capacity to make the numbers crunch rather than deny any development. It has forced school districts to make a financially feasible budget, which is a new one for most districts I'm aware of.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Solarstar - this looks very interesting. I have thought for years that Wisconsin should allow school impact fees. Unfortunately the builders association keeps getting new legislation passed to make our impact fee law more restrictive and less usable.

  8. #8
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    You're going to want to look into separation of power and grant of authority issues. I don't know the applicable law for your area, but if you have a state administrative body wielding veto power over municipal quasi-judicial or legislative functions, you might have a problem.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mawddwy View post
    *snip* Maybe giving them subdivision plat review isn't the answer, but I think that something needs to be done.

    Anyone out there know of something that works??
    I wish I had the answer! I can't believe the number of programs and staffing positions that are on the chopping block regionally because of the messed up funding formula and the caps on spending. Maybe in the short term this will slow / balance the existing disparity, but I don't think it's the fix.

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