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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — The Dunn County Planning, Resources & Development Committee will hold a public hearing July 23 on amendments to section 13.6.0 of the county’s ordinances pertaining to rezone procedures.
The proposed amendments spell out in detail the procedures to be used by applicants requesting a rezone and the procedures to be used by the PR&D committee in considering the request for a rezone.
Under the existing ordinance, the PR&D committee makes a recommendation about a rezone to the county board, and the Dunn County Board can adopt the ordinance for a rezone as drafted, can deny the request for a rezone, or can refuse to deny the request as recommended by the PR&D committee.
If the county board refuses to deny the rezone request, the county board then refers the request back to the PR&D committee to draft an ordinance, which then comes back to the country board to adopt or reject.
To clarify, under the “refuse to deny” option, if the PR&D committee recommends not granting a rezone, and the county board votes to “refuse to deny,” the ordinance denying the rezone goes back to the PR&D Committee for a rewrite of the ordinance, this time granting approval of the rezone, which comes back to the county board to vote “yes” or “no” on granting the rezone.
The procedure for the PR&D Committee recommendation to the county board and the county’s board’s options do not change under the proposed amendments to rezone procedures.
One of the proposed amendments to the rezone procedures includes a pre-application review.
The pre-application review “provides the petitioner an opportunity to explain the rezone proposal, ask and answer questions, and gain an understanding of any concerns the town and/or county may have before incurring expenses associated with a formal petition,” according to the proposed amendments.
A person requesting a rezone can request a pre-application review with representatives from the affected township, staff from the planning and zoning division or the PR&D Committee to review concept plans.
In order to request a pre-application review, the person asking for a rezone should submit a concept plan that should be at a scale not exceed 1-inch equals 100-feet and should include the proposed land uses, lot configuration, natural features, the buildings, proposed thoroughfares, water, sewage and drainage systems, total acreage and the acreage of the proposed use.
The pre-application review should also include a written statement about the size and character of the development, the present ownership, proposed uses and the anticipated construction schedule.
During a pre-application review, comments made by township or county representatives are not binding and do not constitute a response to a formal application, according to the proposed amendments to the rezone procedure.
A request for a rezone can be made by the property owner, the town board of any township under county zoning, any member of the county board or any member of the PR&D Committee.
Requests for a rezone, according to the proposed amendments, must include an application form and the name, address and telephone number of all property owners of the property affected by the rezone request.
If a certified survey map is required, a preliminary certified survey map must be approved by the planning and zoning office prior to the public hearing on the request for a rezone.
If the county board approves the rezone, the applicant must record a CSM that is identical to the preliminary CSM. If the applicant fails to record the CSM, the rezone is void.
The application for a rezone must also include a detailed site plan, on a scale of not less than 1 inch equals 200 feet, the property boundary, existing zoning districts within one quarter mile, hydrologic features within 300 feet of the parcel, including floodplains, wetlands, surface water, shoreland, and existing and proposed drainage features within 300 feet.
The application for a rezone also must include payment of the fee specified by the zoning department’s fee schedule.
Under the proposed amendments, the application for a rezone must include a written narrative and justification for the rezone.
The narrative and justification must include a description of the proposed development and the proposed uses; an explanation of why the current zoning is not appropriate; a list of zoning districts within the proposal, past and current uses of the property and the zoning districts and land uses of all property within a quarter mile.
In addition, the narrative and justification must include the development trends within the general vicinity of the proposal, including the development of the property where a rezone is requested under the current zoning district.
The narrative and justification must also include a description of how the proposed rezone is consistent with the Land Use Element and and other relevant elements of the Dunn County Comprehensive Plan.
The zoning administrator or the PR&D committee may also require someone requesting a rezone to provide additional information, included but not limited to, a description of the how the rezone would affect traffic, public safety, environmental impacts or the protection or conservation of natural resources, according to the proposed amendments.
The applicant for a rezone may also be asked to provide a description of how the rezone would impact the health, safety and welfare of adjacent landowners or the county as a whole.
The applicant for a rezone could also be asked to provide information on anticipated or known changes to property values for adjacent landowners.
For certain requests for a rezone, the applicant may be asked to provide evidence indicating whether public infrastructure will or will not be available for the range of permitted uses in the requested rezone designation in General Commercial, Limited Commercial, Light Industrial or Heavy Industrial zoning districts.
The applicant also may be asked to provide written approval from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the county highway department or the town board authorizing the construction or access to driveways and intersections associated with the proposed rezone.
In addition, the person requesting the rezone may be asked to provide written statements from emergency service providers — fire, police and ambulance — how the rezone would impact their ability to provide emergency services.
When reviewing and taking action on a request for a rezone, according to proposed amendments, the PR&D Committee must consider a list of criteria.
The list of criteria includes:
• Whether the proposed rezone is consistent with the Dunn County Comprehensive Land Use Plan.
• The existing uses and zoning classifications within the general area of the rezone request.
• Whether the property is suitable for the uses permitted under the existing zoning classification.
• Development trends in the general area.
• Whether the rezone is likely to cause undesirable land use patterns, including small, isolated zoning districts or neighboring incompatible uses.
• The extent to which the rezone would have an adverse impact on the use, enjoyment or economic value of properties in the vicinity of the rezone or impair the normal development of neighboring properties.
• Whether the rezone is likely to have an unreasonable adverse impact on air quality, ground water, surface water or natural vegetation.
• The extent to which the rezone would cause serious noise, odor, light, activity or other unusual disturbances.
• For property that is vacant, the length of time the property has been vacant under current zoning and considered in the context of land development near the proposed rezone.
• The effect of the rezone on public health, safety and welfare.
• The extent to which the rezone would have an unreasonable adverse impact on historically significant features in the area.
• Other information the applicant has been required by the zoning administrator or the PR&D committee to provide.
According to the proposed amendments, the PR&D committee shall not recommend approval of a rezone unless the approval is consistent with the public interest and is not only for the interest of the person requesting the rezone.
The PR&D committee may also recommend changing the zoning classification of the property in question to an appropriate classification other than what the applicant requested.
In addition, proof of the publication of the notice of the public hearing and proof of notice to the town clerk of such a hearing must be provided at the public hearing, noted in the public hearing minutes and reported to the county board.
Any town board recommendations resulting from the pre-application review or a resolution from the town board disapproving the proposed zoning change must be reported at the public hearing.
Rezone requests that affect protected shorelands or floodplains will not require the approval of the town board or be subject to the disapproval of any town board.
The public hearing on the proposed amendments to the Dunn County zoning ordinance pertaining to rezone requests will be held at 8:30 a.m. July 23 in Room 58 of the Dunn County Government Center on Wilson Avenue in Menomonie.