The democratic process prevailed in the town of Forest, Wisconsin on December 16, 2013. During the special meeting of the electorate called to rescind town zoning authority, the majority of residents once again voiced their opposition and voted to continue the process.
Preserving Rural Values, Inc. sponsored the rescinding petition. Prior to the special meeting, unsigned mailings were circulated in Forest with false information, including accusations the town was fast-tracking zoning to the detriment of the farming community. The zoning process in Forest has been moving forward for over two years. Most parcels are designated either agricultural or agriculture/residential. Wisconsin Statute 823.08 protects farming, but few statutes protect a community without zoning.
Of the 60 petition signers, most are contracted landowners with Emerging Energies, LLC, for the Highland Wind Farm, or are pro-industrial wind residents. Preserving Rural Values, Inc. is represented by the same law firm as Emerging Energies LLC—Michael Best & Friedrich, LLP. During the St. Croix County Community Development Committee (CDC) public hearing Thursday evening, December 19th, a Notice of Claim to sue Forest for amending its Comprehensive Plan by Michael Best & Friedrich on behalf of Preserving Rural Values, Inc. was read.
The basis for the Notice of Claim escapes me, but what I do know is that if Forest remains unzoned, our town’s rural, agricultural heritage is vulnerable to any profit-driven corporation intent on taking advantage of our resources and assets.
At the CDC public hearing, St. Croix legal counsel did not find any reason not to recommend Forest zoning. Thank you CDC members Agnes Ring, Andy Brinkman, and Duane Russet for voting in favor of recommendation to the St. Croix County board to supervisors.