Dunn County approves first reading of zoning amendments to allow golf courses and single-family houses

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE — The Dunn County Board has approved a first reading of amendments to the zoning ordinance to allow single family housing in General Agriculture areas and tennis courts, golf courses and archery ranges in Residential I districts.

The Dunn County Board approved the first reading at the January 21 meeting.

A comprehensive revision of the county’s zoning ordinance was adopted by the county board in October of 2013.

All of the townships in Dunn County that opted into county zoning have approved zoning maps since then.

Along the way, it was discovered that the county’s zoning ordinance did not include single family residential in the General Agriculture area as a permitted use.

If the amendments are approved the county board, single family housing would be allowed in General Agriculture areas either by Parent Tract standards or by Contiguous Tract standards.

Parent Tract

By Parent Tract standards, single family housing would be allowed in General Agriculture at a density of one residential parcel per eight acres.

The maximum number of allowable residential parcels would be calculated by dividing the area of the Parent Tract by eight.

For example, a 26-acre Parent Tract could be divided into 3.25 parcels — or in other words, three parcels.

A fractional lot that is at least 80 percent would be rounded up to the next whole number.

For example, a 31-acre lot divided by eight would be 3.88, which would be rounded up to four residential lots.

Existing dwellings on the Parent Tract are counted toward the residential density, and no parcel will be created that does not allow at least one dwelling unit.

Parcels of land that existed before the amendment was adopted and are less than eight acres will continue as non-conforming lots but cannot be further subdivided.

Parcels of land that existed before the amendment was adopted that are greater than eight acres but smaller than 16 acres can be subdivided to create one additional parcel.

Contiguous Tract

Maximum residential density under the Contiguous Tract standards in General Agriculture areas also will be one residential lot per eight acres.

Calculations for the allowable number of lots will be the same as for the Parent Tract: divide the total number of acres by eight, and any fractions that are are at least 80 percent will be rounded up.

Existing dwelling units will be counted toward the allowable residential density, and no parcel will be created that does not allow at least one dwelling.

The housing density will be based on the number of acres in the contiguous tract, and density can be transferred between contiguous parcels.

For example, if a landowner has 16 acres that are used as a farm field with a contiguous boundary to 16 acres of wooded hills – the two residential units that would be allowed on the 16 acres of farmland can be transferred to the 16 acres of wooded hills, so that instead of two residential units on the 16 wooded acres, four residential units would be allowed.

Contiguous is defined as parcels of land that share a common boundary. Parcels that meet only at a single point are not considered contiguous.

In order to transfer density, the county surveyor, the zoning administrator and the landowner must meet and agree on the transfer of density.

Transfer of density will be accomplished by a deed restriction on the property that declares the number of density credits for each parcel.

The person requesting the transfer of density will pay a Transfer of Density fee, and the deed restriction will be filed with the Dunn County Register of deeds prior to county approval of any land division.

Golf courses

Another amendment to the zoning ordinance would allow golf courses, tennis courts, archery ranges and similar private or public clubs or fraternities in the Residential I district as a special exception that would be approved by the Dunn County Zoning Board of Adjustment.

The amendment to the zoning ordinance creates such uses and allows related structures that would be necessary for the use as long as the board of adjustment approves the special exception.

Under the existing zoning ordinance, these uses are not permitted in Residential I.

Next meeting

At the next meeting of the Dunn County Board in February, board members will consider the zoning amendments for a second reading and approval.

The zoning ordinance amendments would go into effect after official publication.

Calvin Christianson, county board supervisor from Menomonie, wondered if the zoning amendments would have to go back to the town boards for approval.

The amendments are not a comprehensive rezone, so the amendments do not have to go back to the town boards for approval, said Bob Walter, county board supervisor from Menomonie and chair of the Planning, Resources and Development Committee.

The Dunn County Board meets next on February 18.