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Citizens encouraged to provide input for comprehensive planning
Utica Township
Utica Township

UTICA TOWNSHIP - Crawford County’s Town of Utica is gathering citizen input for a review and update of their Comprehensive Plan. The town’s original plan was approved in 2011, and then the town’s Zoning Ordinance was updated in 2012.

In pursuit of securing citizen input into an update of the Comprehensive Plan, the town has contracted with Mississippi River Regional Planning Commission to offer a survey. The town’s plan provides a 20-year vision, and is used to guide decision-making for the town.”

The survey is available online, and takes about 5-10 minutes to complete. Citizens can use a computer or mobile device to complete the survey. For those using a mobile device, scan the QR code below to take you to the survey. To find the survey on your computer, go to:

Utica Survey QR Code

While there’s no hard end date for citizens to complete the survey, the town board is hoping to have the bulk of survey responses available at their Monday, June 10 Zoning Committee meeting. For this reason, completing the survey as soon as possible, before the end of May, is much appreciated.

A copy of the Town’s current comprehensive plan is available at the Gays Mills Public Library for citizens interested in refreshing their memory about what the current plan contains.

The Town Board meets on the third Monday of the month at 6 p.m., and the Zoning Committee meets on the second Monday of the month at 6 p.m.

Why take the survey?

“We are updating our Comprehensive Plan because things have changed in our township since 2011,” Supervisor Phil Mueller explained. “We need citizen input to help guide the town board in updating the plan, and ensuring it continues to reflect the community. This will also allow the board to review and consider updates to our Zoning Ordinance.”

Town Chairman Jim Wedeberg observed that he has been very impressed that the plat map of Utica Township has remained substantially unchanged for the last 30 years, with large tracts of land still suitable for agricultural use.

“I’ve watched all kinds of small parcels with little cabins spring up in the Town of Freeman, and I’m glad that hasn’t happened in our town,” Wedeberg said. “The reason it hasn’t is because our Comprehensive Plan and Zoning Ordinance don’t allow for that.”

Town Zoning Committee Chairman Thurman Vangen said that he has lived and farmed in Utica Township for 52 years, and has seen many changes in that time.

“On my road, we used to have 16 milk trucks go by each day, and now we have none,” Vangen said. “I personally want to see agriculture continue in the town, and that’s an example of why a resident should consider filling out the survey and making their views known.”

Mueller pointed out that in recent years, there have been more types of businesses choosing to locate in the town.

“When we originally crafted our plan and ordinance, we didn’t have the same diversity of activities – people either farmed, owned property for recreation, or owned a home and drove off to work somewhere else,” Mueller observed. “In order to ensure that the town continues to offer its residents the type of atmosphere and lifestyle we want, we need to take a good look at our documents to see if there’s language that needs to be changed or added to reflect these changing demographics in our community.”

Why have a plan?

According to the Wisconsin Department of Administration, “a comprehensive plan is a local government's guide to community physical, social, and economic development. Comprehensive plans are not meant to serve as land use regulations in themselves; instead, they provide a rational basis for local land use decisions with a twenty-year vision for future planning and community decisions.

“The Wisconsin Comprehensive Planning Law does not mandate how a local community should grow, but it requires public participation at the local level in deciding a vision for the community's future. The uniqueness of individual comprehensive plans reflects community-specific and locally driven plannin​g processes.

“While a local government may choose to include additional elements, a comprehensive plan must include AT LEAST all of the nine elements below as defined by the Comprehensive Planning Law (s. 66.1001).”

• Issues and Opportunities

• Housing

• Transportation

• Utilities and Community Facilities

• Agricultural, Natural and Cultural Resources

• Economic Development

• Intergovernmental Cooperation

• Land Use

• Implementation