Urban planning community

+ Reply to thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Wisconsin comp plan standard outline: thoughts?

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,679
    Blog entries
    3

    Wisconsin comp plan standard outline: thoughts?

    I thought I'd ask the giant collective throbbing brain of Wisconsin planners here what theiropinions were of the state's standardized comprehensive plan outline.

    Right now, one of the planners I work with is considering the Wisconsin comp plan outline as a basis for the outline for a comp plan for a township here. Good? Bad? What would you add or change, if you could do it?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935
    It is thorough. I like it, but the compliance laws are poorly written and the grant funding is under-funded. For you all, this is the general format:

    PROPOSAL TO COMPLY WITH WISCONSIN’S
    “SMART GROWTH” PLANNING STATUTES

    FOREWORD

    CHAPTER 1 : Introduction
    Vision Statement and Goals
    Comprehensive Plan Process
    Relation to Adopted Regional Plans

    CHAPTER 2 : ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITIES
    Community History
    Geography
    Economic Influences
    Population
    Demographic trends
    Age distribution
    Education Levels
    Income levels
    Employment Characteristics and Trends
    Transportation
    Land Use Summary

    CHAPTER 3 : COMPREHENSIVE PLANNING PRINCIPLES
    Background
    Neighborhood Definition and Purpose
    Planning Principles
    Neighborhood Design Criteria
    Neighborhood Design Considerations

    CHAPTER 4 : PLANNING PROCESS
    Introduction
    Elements of Plan Implementation

    CHAPTER 5 : HOUSING
    Age
    Structural characteristics
    Value
    Occupancy Characteristics
    Identification of policies and programs that promote development and provide a range of choices
    Identification of policies and programs that promote availability of land for development & redevelopment of LMI housing
    Identification of policies and programs that maintain the existing housing stock
    Survey results
    Issues, Recommendations, Implementation Strategies from adopted Chapters 3 and 6

    CHAPTER 6 : TRANSPORTATION
    Identification of highways by function
    Objectives, policies, goals, maps, and programs to guide the development of various modes of transportation
    Comparison of local objectives, policies, goals, maps, and programs to State and regional plans
    Survey results
    Issues, Recommendations, Implementation Strategies from adopted Chapters 3 and 6

    CHAPTER 7 : UTILITIES AND COMMUNICAITONS FACILITIES
    Objectives, policies, goals, maps, and programs to guide the development of utilities and communications facilities
    Descriptions of location, use, and capacity of existing public utilities and communications companies
    Forecasts for expansion or rehabilitation
    Assessment of future needs for government services related to such facilities
    Survey results
    Issues, Recommendations, Implementation Strategies from adopted Chapters 3 and 6
    Issues, Recommendations, Implementation Strategies relating to communications facilities

    CHAPTER 8 : AGRICULTURAL, NATURAL, AND CULTURAL RESOURCES
    Objectives, policies, goals, maps, and programs for conservation & effective management of natural resources
    Survey results
    Issues, Recommendations, Implementation Strategies from adopted Chapters 3 and 6

    CHAPTER 9 : ECONOMIC DEVELPOMENT
    Objectives, policies, goals, maps, and programs to promite the stabilization, retention or expansion, of the economic base and quality employment opportunities
    Survey results
    2000 Business Survey Results
    Assessment of desired types of business and industry
    Assessment of local gov’t strengths and weaknesses with respect to attracting & retaining business and industry.
    Evaluation and promotion of the use of brownfield sites
    Identification of county, regional, and state programs that may apply locally
    Issues, Recommendations, Implementation Strategies from adopted Chapters 3 and 6
    (some communities address population growth MPE in this Section)

    CHAPTER 10 : INTERGOVERNMENTAL COOPERATION
    Objectives, policies, goals, maps, and programs for joint planning and decision making
    Relationship of local gov’t to school district, adjacent local gov’t, region, state
    Incorporation of plans adopted under 66.023, 66.30, and / or 66.945
    Identification of known conflicts
    Issues, Recommendations, Implementation Strategies

    CHAPTER 11: LAND USE RECOMMENDATIONS
    Introduction
    20 year land absorption projections in 5 year increments, including assumptions used in the projections
    Maps depicting productive ag soils, natural limitations for building & site development, floodplain, wetland, environmentally sensitive lands, & public utility service boundaries
    Recommendations
    Summary

    CHAPTER 12 : IMPLEMENTATION
    Programs and specific actions to be completed in a stated sequence
    Proposed amendments to ordinances and policies
    Discussion of integrating plan with ordinances and policies
    Measurement standards
    Description of plan update process

    CHAPTER 13 : PLANS ADOPTED BY REFERENCE
    Architectural Design Guide
    CDA Redevelopment Districts
    Unique area plans, etc.

    APPENDIX A : COMMUNITY SURVEY

    APPENDIX B : PUBLIC INPUT

    APPENDIX C : SOILS
    Table
    Map

  3. #3
    I agree with Chet, the grants are way under funded and are skewed towards rural areas. If you look at the annual grant distribution maps, the developed areas of the state receive little grant funding. The sticking point is the intergovernmental corporation. Essentially, if your neighboring communities will not cooperate with you, or if you don't want to cooperate with a community that has made efforts to screw your over the years (as is the case where I work), you are guaranteed to receive no grant money, because the extra grant "points" put multi-jurisdictional plans at the top of the funding lists.

    I think that the elements that Wisconsin has required are pretty thorough and could easily be tweaked to work in any state, but as Chet also mentioned the compliance laws are not spelled out very well. When the compliance deadline hits, there will be developers and lawyers pouring over local decisions and comp plans looking for any discrepancies.

    The Wisconsin law also required that all communities with populations exceeding 12,500 to implement a Traditional Neighborhood Development ordinance or a Conservation Subdivision ordinance. While the intention is good and the law doesn’t require that you actually map districts for these types of development,, it goes against the idea of having communities decide what is right for them.

    So I guess I would recommend using it, but modifying any grant programs and clarifying implementation and compliance laws. In my opinion, I would also drop the TND or Conservation Subdivision ordinance requirement.
    "I'm a white male, age 18 to 49. Everyone listens to me, no matter how dumb my suggestions are."

    - Homer Simpson

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    10,062
    I would agree with the others that the comprehensive plan outline is a good one. Of course, any such outline can and should be modified to fit the particular client or application. This is one of the better products of our state planning effort.

    The model ordinances Repo refers to are a particularly bad product. I'll agree in saying that communities should not be compelled to adopt them. On top of that, there is just no attempt to place them into context. The TND ordinance is written as if every TND is a development of a thousand homes, with requirements for mixed uses, parks, etc. The reality is more like a project I am working on, to put in 30-40 homes on an infill site in an existing neighborhood. Don't get me started on our model stormwater ordinance.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    South Milwaukee
    Posts
    8,935
    Originally posted by Repo Man
    When the compliance deadline hits, there will be developers and lawyers pouring over local decisions and comp plans looking for any discrepancies.
    [consultant hat]
    I'm counting on tons of work as that compliance deadline looms closer... *drool...billable hours....drool*
    [/consultant hat]

  6. #6
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
    Registered
    Mar 1996
    Location
    Upstate New York
    Posts
    14,679
    Blog entries
    3
    Thanks for all your responses!

    I've been looking through some previous comp plans here, and found that many seem to be heavy on the history and current state reporting, but light on the planning.

    For those familiar with Florida's standard comp plan format from the DCA ... how would you think that compares to the Wisconsin format?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

  7. #7
    Cyburbian DecaturHawk's avatar
    Registered
    May 2003
    Location
    In the palm of the mitten
    Posts
    880
    The Illinois Legislature in 2002 adopted the Planning Technical Assistance Act, which provides a mechanism for state funding of municipal comprehensive planning. Communities can qualify for the funds if their plans contain or will contain the elements listed in the Act, which are very similar to the elements required by Wisconsin (in fact, the WI legislation was definitiely the inspiration for the planning elements as the Act was developed). Although the Act made state funding possible, of course the Legislature then failed to actually appropriate any funds for this purpose. The new head of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (it used to be DCCA, the Dept. of Commerce and Community Affairs, called "decca" for short, but the new governer needed to make it DCEO so that it would no longer have a pronounceable acronym) has expressed interest and may divert funds, but it probably won't be enough to help very many communities.

    Since I was working in Wisconsin when the legislation was passed, I thought (and still think) that it was good for planning and good for the state, but not well timed. It happened so fast (it was part of the Governor's budget bill) that there was not a lot of citizen input and understanding (although I will say that it was an amazing feat to get the planners, environmentalists, homebuilders and road builders all supporting the legislation). I remember talking with then-director of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin (and current Madison mayor) Dave Cieslewicz, who told me that they expected it would take several years to get it through the legislature and how surprised they were that it was passed so quickly. Unfortunately, there have been several attempts already to repeal or weaken the legislation; these might have been avoided had there been more input and understanding statewide, particularly in rural areas where the issues have less to do with sprawl. As the 2010 deadline approaches, the efforts to do away with the planning and consistency requirements will no doubt intensify.

    We intend to use the elements in the Illinois Act in our new plan, because if state funding ever becomes available, we want to qualify. I think we have the Wisconsin example to thank for that.

  8. #8

    Registered
    May 1997
    Location
    Williston, VT
    Posts
    1,371
    I'm not a Wisconsin planner, so perhaps I'm not invited, but is no one troubled by the one size fits all message this terribly conventional outline sends?

    Some observations from someone whose mission for the last few years has been to identify the elements of success in local planning.

    1) The format and content of plans needs to be as diverse as communities and their people are. The format and content should flow directly from the local planning process, not a from preconceived outline.

    2) The format proposed here, of mechanically assigning each major issue (presuming of course that they even are issues in a given community at a given time) to a chapter, setting out the data, then stating some policies, results in the least readable and least useful plans. Because so many issues overlap, it also encourage deadly repetition. What the public wants to know is "what are we going to do?" The most effective plans spit out the policies and proposed actions as specifically and concisely as possible and leave the history, background info, etc. to appendices or separate documents, which those who are interested can read. I think the most effective planning processes issue these documents as they evolve (ie a vision document up front, factual background as it is developed, etc) rather than all at once in the plan.

    3) The organization of many effective plans is geographic. This outline squishes neighborhoods into one chapter, yet it is clear that in many communities (and not just large ones) land use, transportation, and other polices need to vary considerably from area to area.

    A community that has a clear vision and strong local planning institutions can, of course, make good of this (or most any) outline. But why would it not tailor the plan to mirror its vision?

    And for communities that do not have that clarity or a history of successful planning, I think this is positively damaging. They need to figure it out themselves instead of being encouraged to fill in the blanks.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Registered
    Aug 2001
    Location
    The Cheese State
    Posts
    10,062
    Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    ...The format and content of plans needs to be as diverse as communities and their people are. The format and content should flow directly from the local planning process, not a from preconceived outline. ...Because so many issues overlap, it also encourage deadly repetition. ...I think the most effective planning processes issue these documents as they evolve (ie a vision document up front, factual background as it is developed, etc) rather than all at once in the plan. ...The organization of many effective plans is geographic. This outline squishes neighborhoods into one chapter, yet it is clear that in many communities (and not just large ones) land use, transportation, and other polices need to vary considerably from area to area....
    You make some very good points. I am intrigued by the idea of putting the vision up front, which is opposite of the usual approach. Architects of Wisconsin's act did make a point to say that while all of these elements should be considered in a comprehensive plan, individual communities may choose to stress one or another, or even to simply state that some may not be of much concern. The greater issue, whether this or any format is used, is the question of likages that you raise. Too many plans do think of each issue as entirely separate from the other. Is it that they simply do not see the big picture? Lastly, my interpretation of the comprehensive plan is that it serves as little more than the overall schematic for the city's development. The real meat and potatoes comes with neighborhood, corridor, downtown, and other plans that get into specifics.

+ Reply to thread

More at Cyburbia

  1. Replies: 3
    Last post: 17 Jun 2009, 10:02 AM
  2. Replies: 4
    Last post: 01 Dec 2005, 4:40 PM
  3. Replies: 5
    Last post: 06 Dec 2003, 3:08 AM
  4. Comp plan In Wisconsin
    Make No Small Plans
    Replies: 9
    Last post: 25 Feb 2003, 12:40 PM