Skip to comments.Farm Bureau Backs Clustered Development; Group Aims to Spare Farmland
Posted on 12/24/2007 8:57:26 AM PST by Diana in Wisconsin
For the first time, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation has adopted a policy in favor of high-density housing developments in rural areas to preserve farmland.
But the state's largest organization of farmers, with 43,000 member families, also recommended that the current power of cities and villages to impose their zoning regulations three miles outside their borders be severely cut back.
The policies, which set the farm bureau's legislative priorities for next year, were approved by 250 delegates representing members of the 61 county chapters around the state.
Paul Zimmerman, executive director of public affairs for the farm bureau, said preservation of the state's farmland has long been a high priority for the organization.
Discussions over the years of that issue eventually led this year to farm bureau members recommending that if housing developments are to be built in rural areas that they be higher density projects designed with homes clustered together on small lots. This type of development would allow the land around the cluster of homes to continue to be used for farming.
"That's the type of rural development that makes sense," Zimmerman said. "You locate houses in a cluster and maintain the rest of the land for farming or other rural uses."
While urging counties to adopt zoning policies that require higher density cluster developments, farm bureau members said they wanted to limit the ability of municipalities to impose zoning regulations on adjacent town land.
Now, cities and villages with populations of more than 10,000 can, and often do, impose their zoning three miles outside their borders. Municipalities with populations of fewer than 10,000 may do the same a mile and a half beyond their borders.
The farm bureau's newly adopted policy calls for only municipalities with populations of 50,000 or more to have this legal authority, known as extraterritorial zoning.
Zimmerman said for small municipalities that may not be growing as fast as larger ones, three miles outside their borders is too far to extend their zoning regulations.
"It's too far a reach," he said. "It could be decades before that's all filled in with developments."
He said the two policies, one calling for greater zoning regulation and the other for less, are not really a contradiction.
"The farmers don't want cities or villages telling them what to do," Zimmerman said. "But it doesn't mean towns shouldn't have land use plans that preserve farmland with cluster development."
Curt Witynski, assistant director of the League of Wisconsin Municipalities, said extraterritorial zoning helps avoid sprawl and ensures that nearby developments mesh with the overall land use plans and zoning of cities and villages. It is a legal authority they never would willingly give up, he said.
"It gives some planning control over what is happening on the fringe of communities in areas that may very well come into municipalities through annexations," Witynski said.
Lisa MacKinnon, policy director for 1,000 Friends of Wisconsin, a nonprofit land use planning advocacy group, said she was happy to see the farm bureau endorse high density cluster-type development as a way to preserve farmland.
"We support looking at ways to maximize efficient use of land to preserve farmland, forests and other land that provide economic benefits to the state," she said.
The Farm Bureau in my area are getting just as about as kooky as the western Grange. The Grange and Farm Bureau are expected to join forces in 2008 to push a citizen initiative to end partisan elections for all statewide elected offices in my state. Their last attempt at changing election law, OPEN PRIMARY, went all the way to SCOTUS before they stopped. Now this.
Pack em & stack em just like eastern Europe during the Cold War around little train stations. That really worked well, didn’t it?
“high density cluster-type development”
Is that what they call a COMMUNE in Wisconsin now?
Farm Bureau wants to prevent farmers from selling land for development at a huge profit.
“The Farm Bureau “, is just another insurance company.
So glad we live 8 miles from a town of 4400 and some villages of 170 or less. We are bordered by a tributary of a river, steep hillsides that will never be developed and a piece of farmland that is mostly floodplain and will never be developed due to lack of non-floodable space for well/septic.
We have some of these *clusters* in the area. 5 McMansions on 8 acres, each taxed at 3x our rate. Many have shared wells and there are already stories of disagreements over who pays what when they fail.
At least this is not yet a mandated law, at least in my township/county.
Agenda 21 moves closer to the New Deal.
Yep. No reason not to believe that the Farm Bureau is filled with aging hippies, as is every other organization in this stupid state. Grrrrr!
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