Home » Events » January 24th Public Hearing of the Capital Area Regional Planning Comission (CARPC)
Future Landscape of Dane County at Risk of Unplanned Development

Poorly Planned Development Threatens Dane County Quality of Life

Will the new Capital Area Regional Planning Commission do the Job?

Calling all friends of healthy communities, farmland, and clean water and air. You can help protect Dane County's farmland and groundwater from poorly planned development! We only have until Jan. 24 to show CARPC that we support their proposed Criteria that have the developers scared and conservationists hopeful.

WHO: new Capital Area Regional Plan Commission (CARPC), 13 appointed commissioners

WHAT: Public Hearing on: (1) Amending the Dane County Land Use and Transportation Plan Revising the Regional Goals and Objectives; (2) Amending the Dane County Water Quality Plan Policies for Urban and Limited Service Areas and Environmental Corridors, and (3) Revising the Criteria for the Review of Urban and Limited Service Area Amendments (testimony limited to 3 minute per individual)

WHERE: Room 201 City-County Building, 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Madison WI

WHEN: 7:00 p.m. Thursday January 24, 2008

WHY: Review Criteria for Urban Service Area Amendments and the Dane County Water Quality Plan are the basis for decisions that determine where future development will and will not be allowed.

WHY NOW: The “old” Dane County RPC existed from 1964, when the State passed permissive legislation, until October 2004. Initial efforts to draft legislation for a Council of Governments stalled. In May 2007 Governor James Doyle approved a plan that the County Executive and the Madison Mayor worked out with representatives of the Towns, the Cities and the Villages associations creating the “new” Capital Area Regional Plan Commission (CARPC). During the time gap, developments requiring Urban Service Area (USA) approvals were reviewed and approved by the Department of Natural Resources.

LEGAL AUTHORITY: The federal Clean Water Act requires review of extension of public water and sewer lines to new development. This is codified in NR 121, Wisconsin Administrative Code. The Governor is required to designate RPC structure and geographic boundaries.

TENSION POINTS: Some of the most important Criteria were passed by just one vote so public comment is essential to determine whether CARPC’s proposed stronger review criteria are adopted.


·     Conservationists, Farmers and anti-sprawl Advocates are hopeful strong criteria will be adopted but insist that CARPC update the Water Quality Plan for environmentally sensitive areas and areas with growth pressure (per authorizing order) before approving any applications to expand USAs.

·     Many developers and builders are likely to oppose criteria that are stronger than before.

·     Some cities and villages may oppose the criterion that removes the former multiplier of acres for development. CARPC staff generated a table that shows the difference in the impact of the old multiplier criterion and the proposed no multiplier (also called the “Flexibility Factor.”) No new USA’s would be allowed for now in Belleville, Deerfield, Marshall, Mazomanie, Mount Horeb and Northern USAs. The impact affects those incorporated areas where existing USA boundaries could accommodate official population forecast for 2030 based on forecasted increases in density within the USA.

WHY DO WE CARE? Poorly planned development threatens Dane County quality of life.

The location and quality of new residential and commercial development that require extensions of water and sewer services will depend on the criteria that the commissioners adopt. Low density residential development does not pay its fair share of operating costs or of investments in infrastructure (typically 20-30 year life), e.g. new roads, police patrols, fire protection, trash pick-up, new schools, etc. The criteria are the master key to controlling poorly planned, low density development in Dane County.

Development occurs stepwise. But the fiscal impacts and environmental insults are often magnified -- increasing local property taxes; threatening water quality, lake levels, drinking water quality and quantity; degrading wetlands’ ability to absorb floodwaters; reducing acres of food production and increasing days of unhealthy air from increased vehicle miles traveled due to sprawling low density development.

New development is the worst polluter in the Lake Mendota Watershed. More than 20% of the phosphorus in the Lake Mendota Watershed comes from less than 1% of land. A regional Groundwater study revealed that the cone of depression caused by pumping public water wells in the Isthmus and urbanized areas is so large that lake waters are now feeding the groundwater, a reversal of the historic directions.

Despite the efforts made to implement the Lake Mendota Watershed Plan growth of development is twice what was projected and is resulting in increased flooding and rising flood costs. One data projection is that, if development continues at current levels, extreme 1983-type flooding will reoccur, including potential cresting at one foot above the Tenney Locks

WE SUPPORT three excellent criteria proposed by CARPC to protect Dane County's farmland and groundwater from poorly planned development. 

1.       Prioritize infill and redevelopment; Estimates that a 20-year supply of developable land exists currently in urban service areas indicates that developers should not expect approval for opening up new USA’s until there is need.

2.       Eliminate the multiplier factors; A multiplier is inconsistent with priority for infill and redevelopment. A multiplier is surely a way to encourage sprawl. These allowances are gone from the new criteria.

3.        Protect farmland. Encourages the use of all the planning tools to protect farmland, such as intergovernmental agreements, easements, Transfer of Development Rights and Purchase of Development Rights programs - innovative programs already in use in the Town of Dunn and recently adopted by the Dane County Board of Supervisors. 

CARPC’s dual responsibilities require it to exercise major control not only over land use density and location but also over ground and surface water quality and quantity. The Water Quality Plan is required to define areas to be protected from development as well as areas that can be developed only if there are adequate measures taken to protect, restore, or minimize any degradation of water quality. However, the draft Goals and Objectives do not give sufficient attention to the water quality plan that is the basic reason for the existence of the CARPC. Until the Water Quality Plan is updated, CARPC should not approve any applications to extend urban service areas.


“Redline” versions (additions underlined and deletions shown) of the draft documents are available at <www.http://danedocs.countyofdane.com/webdocs/PDF/capd/USA Policies redline 12.1407.pdf and http://danedocs.countyofdane.com/webdocs/PDF/capd/LUTP_goals_and_objectives_redline_12.14.07.pdf

Comments on these documents should be emailed to info@danecorpc.org before the January 24, 2008 public hearing. Also send a copy of your comments to all CARPC Commissioners. For more information on the CARPC, visit www.danecorpc.org

CARPC Commissioners and who appointed them:

Dane County Executive (3 appointments):
. Kristine Euclide, keuclide@mge.com
. Martha Gibson, migibson@wisc.edu
. Sally Kefer, skefer@charter.net

Dane County Towns Association (3 appointments):
. Kris Hampton, Town of Cottage Grove Chair, agx4u@merr.com
. Carlton Hamre, 846-3227, 4875 Cuba Valley Rd., DeForest, WI, 53532
. Harold Krantz, Town of Cross Plains Chair, haroldkrantz@aol.com

Dane County Cities and Villages Association (3 appointments):
. Jeff Miller, DeForest Village President, jmil@schwarzins.com
. Kurt Sonnentag, Middleton Mayor, ksonnentag@charter.net
. Joe Chase, Sun Prairie Mayor, jchase@cityofsunprairie.com

Madison Mayor (4 appointments):
. Zach Brandon, City Alder, district7@cityofmadison.com
. Larry Palm, City Alder, lpalm@cityofmadison.com
. George Kamperschroer, gkamperschroer@yahoo.com
  Anne Sayers, ansayers524@yahoo.com


1-14-08 fact sheet. Contact: Phyllis Hasbrouck (223-9571)

Sponsored by: Black Earth Creek Watershed Association, Barbara Borns; The Friends of the Dane County Parks, Inc., Phil and Libby Lewis; Friends of Badfish Creek, Caroline Werner; Friends of Cherokee Marsh, Inc., Jon Becker; League of Women Voters, Dane County, Connie Threinen; Madison Audubon Society, Karen Etter Hale; Sierra Club Four Lakes Group, Seth Nowak, Kate Blumenthal and Caryl Terrell; Trout Unlimited, Jeff Smith; Upper Sugar River Watershed Association, Becky Olsen; West Waubesa Preservation Coalition, Phyllis Hasbrouck