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Dunn County launches “directional planning”

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE  — Dunn County has launched a process called “directional planning” to define and plan for key issues identified by county board members, standing committees and departments.

Dolores (Dolly) Catlin, a fellow with the International City/County Management Association (ICMA) spoke to the Dunn County Board about the directional planning process at the October 15 meeting.

Catlin, who will be working in Dunn County for one year, said she has already met with some of the county board’s standing committees.

Dunn County has nine standing committees, 22 departments, and 29 county board members.

Identifying key issues will focus on several questions, including “where are you now?,” “who do you want to be?,” and “how are you going to get there?” Catlin said, noting that the plan will cover the next three to five years.

The overall theme for directional planning in Dunn County will be “Dream Big,” which will focus on “thinking out of the box” and “looking at the long view,” she said.

Achieving a big impact does not mean that projects must cost a lot of money, Catlin said.

Low budget items can have a big impact; the projects do not have to be high budget, she said.

Developing an action plan will involve sorting out issues, determining how to achieve the projects identified, what approach should be used, and a schedule, Catlin said.

Drafting the directional plan will involve listing the issues, outlining the planning process, setting priorities, determining how to execute the plan and identifying shared participation, she said.

Catlin plans to meet with the standing committees during the rest of October, will meet with the county board in November or December, will bring a draft of the plan to the county board in January or February, will review the plan with the committees and the county board in March and April and will have the plan finished by May.

The overall focus of the directional planning process will be, “What will be the future of Dunn County?” Catlin said.

Zoning maps

In other business, the Dunn County Board approved amended zoning maps for the new comprehensive zoning code adopted in October of 2013 for the 16 zoned townships in Dunn County.

The Dunn County Board approved the revised zoning code on October 16, 2013, and the adoption of the revised code provided that the previous zoning code adopted in 1993 and all of the subsequent amendments would remain in effect for one year in any township that had adopted the 1993 zoning ordinance.

Out of the 22 townships in Dunn County, 17 had adopted the 1993 zoning ordinance and amendments.

The Town of New Haven decided not to adopt the new ordinance and was no longer under county zoning as of October 16.

The 16 townships that remain in county zoning are the Towns of Colfax, Dunn, Grant, Hay River, Lucas, Menomonie, Otter Creek, Peru, Red Cedar, Sheridan, Sherman, Stanton, Tainter, Tiffany, Weston and Wilson.

Over the past year, the townships’ plan commissions and town boards have worked with Bob Colson, Dunn County planner and zoning administrator, on revising the zoning maps and approving the revised zoning maps.

Most of the 16 townships are zoned primarily for General Agriculture.

The Town of Grant is primarily zoned Intensive Agriculture.

Much of the Towns of Lucas and Wilson are zoned Primary Agriculture, with Wilson having more Primary Ag than Lucas.

The Dunn County Planning, Resources and Development Committee held a public hearing on the revised township zoning maps on October 7 and subsequently approved recommending that the Dunn County Board adopt the revised zoning maps.

The PRD committee is now working on text amendments to the zoning code revolving around housing density and will soon be working on shoreland zoning and subdivision control ordinances, said Bob Walter, county board supervisor and chair of the PRD committee.