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Forest town board approves zoning ordinance

By LeAnn R. Ralph

TOWN OF FOREST — Two supervisors on the Forest Town Board have approved a zoning ordinance for the township as recommended by the town’s plan commission and have forwarded it to St. Croix County for review.

The third town board supervisor, Pat Scepurek, abstained from voting on the zoning ordinance at the Forest Town Board’s October 15 meeting.

 Scepurek said he understood the need for the town zoning ordinance and the time frame and that he would not “stand in the way,” but that he could neither vote for or against the ordinance.

Many things should be changed in the ordinance, and the plan commission could easily make those changes, he said.

Jan Scepurek submitted a list of inconsistencies about the zoning ordinance to the Forest Town Board.

Jan Scepurek did not elaborate on the inconsistencies, although she did say that the ordinance has references that are no longer valid or do not match up.

Rick Steinberger, town supervisor and chair of the plan commission, said he felt “pretty good” about the zoning ordinance.

Jaime Junker, town chair, noted that the plan commission has met about 30 times to draft the zoning ordinance and that “the ordinance is protective of the town” and “it is time to move on.”

St. Croix County has reviewed the ordinance twice and has returned it to the township with comments.

The version of the ordinance recommended by the Forest Plan Commission and approved by the Forest Town Board has incorporated those suggestions made by county officials.

The Forest Plan Commission also has approved revisions to the township’s comprehensive Smart Growth land use plan.

The town board and the plan commission will be holding a public hearing on the revised land use plan on November 21 at 7 p.m.

State law requires comprehensive plans and zoning ordinances to be consistent.

The comprehensive land use plan no longer supports wind energy, and with the removal of references to supporting the “right to farm,” also tends toward favoring residential development over agriculture.

After St. Croix County approves the zoning ordinance, the Forest Town Board must give final approval of the ordinance by December 29 of this year when a two-year moratorium on construction ends.