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By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — The Dunn County Board has approved for a first reading an ordinance repealing and recreating Chapter 16 in the Code of Ordinances which includes land division, condominium and surveying regulations.
The Planning, Resources & Development Committee has been working on rewriting the ordinance for about a year, said Tom Quinn, county board supervisor from Downing and chair of the PR&D committee, at a special meeting of the Dunn County Board December 15.
The county board typically does not meet in December.
Tom Carlson, Dunn County surveyor, and Nick Lange, Dunn County corporation counsel, have put in hours and hours of work on the ordinance in addition to the hours that PR&D committee members have spent discussing the ordinance, Quinn said.
The new Chapter 16 will be of the most interest to unzoned townships and defines how land divisions will be handled in unzoned towns, he said.
Land division regulations are especially important in areas where the population is growing, Quinn said, and some of the unzoned towns have been experiencing population growth.
Local officials in unzoned towns raised concerns about previous versions of the ordinance, and through discussion with the local officials, the PR&D committee was able to shape a good compromise that grants the same rights to landowners in unzoned towns, he said.
“We think it’s a good ordinance. It has been thoroughly discussed and reviewed,” Quinn said.
The PR&D committee held a public hearing on the draft land division, condominium and surveying regulations ordinance on November 16.
Carlson reported at the November 16 PR&D committee meeting that the public hearing notice had been published in the newspaper and that he had also e-mailed notices, along with the draft of the ordinance, to 34 surveyors who work in Dunn County, 23 realtors and title companies that work in Dunn County and to all town clerks and town chairs.
One public comment was received by e-mail the morning of the public hearing from Tony Christopherson, chair of the Town of Elk Mound, stating that he appreciated the work of the PR&D committee and that the proposed ordinance would ensure all landowners in Dunn County would have the same rights and opportunities.
The Town of Elk Mound is unzoned.
An earlier draft of the ordinance established a housing density in unzoned townships of one lot per eight acres (1:8).
A density of 1 to 8 is already established in Dunn County’s zoning ordinance for zoned townships.
Much of the ordinance has remained the same, although the new ordinance has a number of entirely new sections.
Carlson outlined the changes at the November 16 PR&D committee meeting.
One change is the “purpose” section has been expanded to provide greater protection for environmentally sensitive areas.
The definition section also has been expanded to include new terms, such as “contiguous buildable area,” “contiguous tract,” “dry land access,” “environmentally sensitive area,” “high water elevation,” “lowest building opening,” and “wetlands.”
The ordinance better defines the terms of land division, parcel combinations and reconfigurations.
In addition, the ordinance contains a better definition of “high value agricultural land,” and contains better technical standards for Certified Survey Maps (CSMs) and for both preliminary and final plats, as well as including the requirement for soil borings on all major land divisions so that a minimum of one soil boring will be required on each newly-created lot.
Some new sections were added altogether with surveying requirements and general provisions.
The ordinance also contains an expanded surface drainage section and an erosion control section and provides more protection for environmentally sensitive areas.
The streets and roads section includes better standards for cul-de-sacs and private roads and requires maintenance agreements for private roads.
The section of the ordinance pertaining to lots now contains the lot area, length and width ratios, minimum frontage, non-conforming structures and contiguous buildable area.
The Dunn County Board will consider the land division ordinance for approval on a second reading at the January meeting.