B.                Land Use Goals, Objectives and Policies                                

 

Successes

Some success

Needs to be addressed.

 

Goal

 

To provide for orderly growth and development that ensures the character, magnitude and location of all land uses are considered in achieving a balanced natural, physical, and economic environment, and contributes to the general health, safety and welfare of the Town’s residents and property owners.

 

Objectives

 

a.     Develop and adopt a Land Use Plan that guides the public and private sectors in making decisions on the development and redevelopment of land in the Town of Menasha, and provides for a complete range of land uses in the areas most appropriate for such uses.

b.     Develop and adopt new regulatory tools, and revise and re-adopt existing regulatory tools needed to promote compact development in areas that can be efficiently served by existing Town services.

c.      Amend the existing zoning map to be consistent with the recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan and neighborhood development plans.

d.     Where and when necessary, draft and adopt new ordinances and development standards to implement the goals, objectives, and recommendations of the Comprehensive Plan and the Neighborhood Development Plans and Neighborhood Discussion Areas.

e.     Develop and adopt Neighborhood Development Plans.

f.       Develop and adopt a Town-administered zoning ordinance.

 

Policies

 

a.     The Town shall require all decisions and actions concerning land use development and redevelopment in the Town of Menasha to be consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

b.     The Town shall require that all non-agricultural development located within the Town of Menasha’s Sewer Service Area be served by municipal services.

c.      The Town shall discourage residential development on land that is not in the Town’s Sewer Service Area.

d.     The Town shall encourage the development of vacant and under-utilized land within the Sewer Service Area that can be served by existing municipal services and facilities and transportation systems.

e.     The Town shall use the Site Plan Review process to improve the visual quality and physical design of the Town of Menasha by developing and continuing to enforce signage, landscaping, property maintenance, building design, parking, loading and outdoor storage regulations which foster high quality urban development.

 

f.       The Town shall use the Site Plan Review process to reduce the potential for conflict between potentially incompatible land uses by requiring adequate mitigation measures such as buffer yards, vegetative or structural screening, sound-proofing, traffic access control and directed parking lot lighting.

g.     The Town shall use the Site Plan Review process to address storm water management problems associated with increasing urbanization by requiring new development to provide on-site storm water management facilities.

h.     The Town shall use the Site Plan Review process to encourage the use of innovative land use design and development tools and techniques such as planned unit development, transit-oriented development, cluster development and conservation development to foster compact, pedestrian-oriented and mixed use developments.

i.       The Town shall use the Site Plan Review process to prohibit development from locating in wetlands, floodplains, and delineated conservation and environmentally sensitive areas.

j.       The Town shall establish, adopt, and implement density and intensity standards for all future land uses.

k.     The Town shall encourage the concentration of higher density and intensity growth in and around areas that are adequately served by transportation facilities, public utilities, and community services and facilities.

l.       The Town shall encourage a broad range of residential land use densities to satisfy the housing preferences and income levels of all residents.

m.  The Town shall promote development of commercial areas that are convenient to the public and integrated with surrounding land uses and the transportation system.

n.     The Town shall encourage, and provide land for industrial development that through appropriate zoning district designation and adherence to proper planning principles will foster a diversified economic base while not being detrimental to the Town’s aesthetics and quality of life.

o.     The Town shall require the dedication and construction of frontage roads, interconnected parking lots and/or shared driveways to minimize the number of access points on major roads.

p.     The Town shall encourage the modification of the Town/County Zoning Ordinance to provide criteria to accommodate innovative land development techniques.

q.     The Town shall approve deviations from the recommendations in the Comprehensive Plan only in the context of a formal amendment or a Town adopted detailed neighborhood development plan.

r.      The Town shall annually review the Land Use Element of the Comprehensive Plan to identify amendments needed for the Plan to continue to effectively guide land use development decisions.

s.     The Town will coordinate its Land Use Plan with the plans of adjacent municipalities to avoid land use conflicts at borders.

 

 

The Overall Goal of the Town of Menasha is to encourage an orderly and planned pattern of community growth and development.

 


1.                 Agricultural, Natural and Cultural Resources

 

Goal

 

To preserve natural features and amenities and conserve natural and cultural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

 

Objectives

 

a.     Permanently protect environmental corridors from development through the use of Winnebago County’s Shoreland District Ordinance and Floodplain Ordinance, the Town of Menasha/Winnebago County Zoning Ordinance, and the Town of Menasha’s Official Map Ordinance and Subdivision Ordinance.

b.     Permanently protect floodlands, natural drainageways and wetlands within the Town to avoid storm-water management problems and other environmental problems.

c.      Develop strategies to remediate contaminated sites within the Town of Menasha.

d.     Encourage the use of innovative zoning techniques such as planned unit developments and cluster zoning to preserve open space and foster high quality development.

e.     Maintain and improve air, land and water quality in the Fox Cities region.

f.       Employ a comprehensive management approach for solid and organic wastes.

g.     Foster long-term development patterns through the use of innovative land use, transportation and utility planning tools.

h.     Prepare, adopt, and implement natural resource protection standards for inclusion in the Zoning and Subdivision ordinances.

 

Policies

 

a.     The Town intends to protect from development its natural resource features through the use of the Zoning Ordinance, Subdivision Ordinance, Shoreland District Zoning Ordinance, Floodplain Ordinance and Official Map.

b.     The Town will require new development projects to include storm water management facilities approved by the Town’s engineer.

c.      The Town will require all site plans, preliminary plats, and certified survey maps to accurately depict all natural resource features that are found on the site.

d.     The Town strongly encourages the preservation of all mature woodlands one acre or greater in size through the use of cluster development zoning techniques.


2.                 Transportation

 

Goal

 

To achieve a safe, convenient, efficient and environmentally sound multi-modal (i.e. pedestrian, bicycle, auto, transit, air, etc.) transportation system that provides personal mobility to all segments of the population and supports the economy of the Town of Menasha and the region.

 

Objectives

 

a.     Encourage the use of innovative transportation system design standards to facilitate pedestrian, bicycle and transit use and reduce automobile dependency.

b.     Continue to update the Official Street Map in order to reserve adequate rights-of-way for future reconstructed or newly constructed streets, pedestrian and bicycle facilities.

c.      Coordinate transportation projects with the Town's Comprehensive Development Plan.

d.     Link the Town's transportation system with the regional transportation system through coordinated intergovernmental long-range transportation and land use planning.

e.     Take full advantage of the economic development possibilities associated with the Town's access and proximity to regional rail lines, Outagamie County Airport, the regional highway and waterway systems.

f.       Provide safe and comfortable pedestrian and bicycle facilities in all areas of the Town, including residential, commercial, industrial, recreational and institutional areas. All neighborhoods should be designed to meet the unique needs of pedestrians, bicyclists and automobile travelers.

g.     Encourage land use densities and development patterns that make transit service feasible in the Town.

h.     Require all new development along existing and proposed transit corridors to be designed so that it can be easily and conveniently served with bus or other transit systems. Site plan reviews should include a thorough analysis of whether or not the proposed development is designed in a manner that will allow it to be served by transit vehicles (e.g. buses, car pools, vans, rail, etc.).

i.       Continue to improve the image of the Town by improving the visual quality of development along key community entryways such as STH 441-USH 10, USH 41 and CTH CB. This should be achieved by further revising the Town's signage, landscaping, outdoor storage and building design regulations so that new development fosters high visual quality.

j.       Provide a directional signage system throughout the Town. This system should guide travelers to key activity centers such as the new Town Center Complex, waterfront recreation areas, commercial districts, parks, schools, office centers and industrial facilities.

k.     Coordinate the Town's capital improvement projects with this Plan.

l.       Provide safe and convenient pedestrian and bicycle routes between residential areas, schools, shopping areas, parks, medical facilities, employment centers and mass transit facilities.

m.  Require new development projects to accommodate the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and the physically challenged. Develop or modify the requirements and standards of site plan reviews and conditional use permits to incorporate these requirements.

n.     Promote intermodal trail development that will ensure that most neighborhoods in the Town are located within ¼ to ½ mile (five to ten minute walk) of a public park facility.

o.     Encourage persons owning developed property along major community entryways to improve the aesthetic quality of their properties by screening parking areas, landscaping street terraces and yards, reducing the number and size of signs, eliminating outdoor storage of materials, products or supplies, and planting decorative gardens and flower beds.

p.     Ensure that pedestrian crossings at major intersections are properly designed to provide maximum safety and convenience to those crossing these heavily traveled streets.

q.     Require new development to provide off-street parking and loading facilities.  Encourage shared parking arrangements between adjacent land uses whenever possible.

r.      Minimize the impact of new transportation projects on existing neighborhoods, businesses and natural resources.

s.      Implement access control regulations along arterial and selected collector streets in the Town to facilitate safe travel and reduce public right-of-way acquisition costs.

t.      Revise existing Town and County ordinances and standards as needed to implement the recommendations made in this Plan.

u.     Pursue the establishment of an impact fee to ensure that new development supports transportation improvements to maintain minimum levels of service for all impacted roads.

v.     Require offsite improvements for new developments that ensure that these new developments do not degrade the service levels of the public roads they will impact.

w.   Establish levels of service for all roads within the Town.

 


3.                 Housing

 

Goal

 

To provide safe, affordable, quality housing of various types and in various locations to present and future Town residents.

 

Objectives

 

a.     Encourage, in appropriate locations in the Town, a variety of housing types, including single-family, duplex, multiple-family and condominium units.

b.     Stabilize the physical condition of older neighborhoods by creating and enforcing property maintenance codes, developing funding programs, and applying for grants that are geared toward housing rehabilitation and maintenance, and buffering residential areas from incompatible land uses.

c.      Ensure that specialized residential facilities (e.g. elderly housing, CBRFs) are adequately served with transit service, pedestrian facilities, bicycle facilities, recreational facilities, and convenient, nearby shopping, service and entertainment areas.

d.     Identify the most suitable areas for new residential dwelling units on the Future Land Use Plan and guide new residential development to those areas.

e.     Locate new housing units in areas that have convenient access to shopping, schools, churches, parks, services and transit facilities.

 

Policies

 

a.     Encourage, in appropriate locations in the Town, a variety of housing types, including single-family, duplex, multiple-family and condominium units.

b.     The Town encourages the provision of a full range of high-quality housing types in the community (e.g. single family, duplex, multiple family) for various age and income groups.

c.      New housing should be built in areas of the Town with convenient access to commercial and recreational facilities, transportation systems, schools, employment opportunities, and other necessary facilities and services.

d.     Encourage neighborhood diversity. Identify the community-wide need for low income and assisted family housing to encourage diversity.

e.     The Town encourages surrounding communities to provide their fair share of low income and assisted housing units.

f.       All non-agricultural development on lands located within the adopted Grand Chute-Menasha West Sewer Service Area should be served with the full array of municipal services. Unsewered urban development is strongly discouraged within the Sewer Service Area because it can not be efficiently served with essential public services, including sanitary sewer and water, storm sewer, sidewalks, high levels of police and fire service, street maintenance, parks and schools/bus routes. Further, scattered unsewered urban development results in land speculation and premature conversion of productive agricultural lands.

g.     The creation of unsewered subdivisions within the Sewer Service Area shall not occur within the Town of Menasha.

 

4.                 Utility and Community Facilities

 

Goals

 

a.     To provide sufficient, high quality public recreation and open space facilities to all residents of the Town of Menasha.

b.     To promote the provision of government services in an efficient, environmentally sound and socially responsible manner.

 

Objectives

 

a.     Provide all area residents an opportunity to partake in a wide range of active and passive recreational activities on a year-round basis.

b.     Plan for the future open space and recreational needs of the urban area.

c.      Provide recreational opportunities in a cost-effective manner.

d.     Work closely with local school districts and other civic groups to provide adequate recreation facilities and programs and to avoid duplication of recreational facilities.

e.     Continue to require new subdivisions to provide land dedications when appropriate and fees for park and open space acquisition and facilities.

f.       Ensure that the Town's Parks and Open Space Plan is kept updated and certified by Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to enable the community to apply for various State and Federal grant programs.

g.     Provide efficient and economical public facilities and services to urban development.

h.     Ensure the Town’s capital improvements program is consistent with this Plan.

i.       Promote economy and equity in the delivery of urban services.

j.       Promote sanitary sewerage systems that will effectively and economically serve urban development.

k.     Coordinate the Town's Comprehensive Plan with Regional Sewer Service Area Plans.

l.       Develop urban service phasing plans that are coordinated with the Town's Land Use Plan and Transportation Plan.

 

 


5.                 Economic Development

 

Goal

 

To diversify and strengthen the Town of Menasha's local economy.

 

Objectives

 

a.     Support the development of a high quality business park and community commercial center.

b.     Retain and expand existing commercial establishments and industries.

c.      Take maximum advantage of the economic development potential the Town enjoys given its proximity to a regional airport, major rail lines, and the regional highway network.

d.     Improve the visual quality of existing commercial and industrial establishments in the Town of Menasha to enhance the "image of the town" to visitors, residents and potential new investors.

e.     Diversify the local economic base so that it keeps pace with the realities of a rapidly changing world economy and does not become threatened by economic down turns in various sectors of the industrial economic base (e.g. paper industry).

f.       Better utilize the waterfront as an economic development amenity by working with neighboring units of government to develop a vision plan for the region's water resources.

g.     Determine through the land use planning process the highest and best use of vacant or under-utilized properties within the Town.

h.     Recruit new industries by aggressively marketing the Town's unique locational attributes, skilled labor force and full range of municipal services.

i.       Amend the Town/Winnebago County Zoning Ordinance and Map or develop a separate Town zoning ordinance and map if possible to ensure a high quality business environment by guiding new businesses to pre-planned areas that are well-served by municipal services and the regional transportation system.

j.       Provide Town shoppers with adequate services and facilities such as safe and convenient parking areas; comfortable, visually attractive and well-lit sidewalks in commercial areas; safe crossings across major streets; and logical, convenient transit routes that connect residential areas with shopping districts and employment centers.

k.     Diversify the mixture of commercial and service uses in the Town to meet unmet market niches and better serve existing neighborhoods.

l.       Encourage the use of innovative regional economic development strategies and tax base sharing tools in the Fox Cities region.

m.  Encourage intergovernmental cooperation and coordination in the area of economic development.

n.     Encourage the creation of a business association that will support the Town of Menasha.

 

6.                 Intergovernmental Cooperation

 

Goal

 

To promote the provision of government services in a cooperative, efficient, environmentally sound and socially responsible manner.

 

Objectives

 

a.     Foster cooperation and coordination in the provision of services where efficiency, equity and economies of scale can be obtained with other entities.

b.     Provide efficient and economical public facilities and services to urban development.

c.      Coordinate the Town's Comprehensive Plan with the Sewer Service Area Plans prepared by the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.

d.     Develop urban service phasing plans that are coordinated with the Land Use and Transportation Plans prepared by the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission.

 

Policies

 

a.     The Town of Menasha shall encourage involvement with adjacent municipalities including the counties of Outagamie and Winnebago in order to minimize conflict of land use and conflict in policies, and to achieve economies of scale.

b.     The Town shall designate staff to act as liaisons with adjacent municipalities, Outagamie and Winnebago counties and other regional, state and federal agencies.

 

 


A.                Smart Growth Goals                                                           

 

During the planning process, the Town of Menasha was required by the Smart Growth legislation to address fourteen goals. These goals are listed below along with references to how they are addressed in this plan.

 

GOAL 1: Promotion of the redevelopment of lands with existing infrastructure and public services and the maintenance and rehabilitation of existing residential, commercial, and industrial structures.

 

All land with existing infrastructure was identified during the examination of the existing land uses in the community. Following this identification, policies were developed to limit development outside of areas with existing infrastructure until these areas are fully developed. Areas with existing infrastructure that are underutilized were also identified and policies developed to encourage their redevelopment.

 

Design standards and building code enforcement will help to develop and maintain residential, commercial and industrial structures.

 

The use of Levels of Service is encouraged in this plan. Once the levels are determined, they will be used to limit new development unless the level of service is maintained.

 

GOAL 2: Encouragement of neighborhood designs that support a range of transportation choices.

 

The 1997 Comprehensive Plan encouraged public transit and pedestrian and bike trails. The 2002 Comprehensive Plan further encourages the use of denser developments and neighborhood designs that allow for transit and intermodal trails to connect to commercial areas and work destinations. Future neighborhood designs will be required to connect to the established and planned trail system. All neighborhoods will be required to incorporate access to existing or planned future mass transit. Various incentives will be explored to further encourage designs that support various transportation choices. Incentives may include density increases and road width reductions. Citizen input in the design process will also be encouraged to ensure support of the developments.

 

GOAL 3: Protection of natural areas, including wetlands, wildlife habitats, lakes, woodlands, open spaces and groundwater resources.

 

These areas have been identified and mapped, where possible. Protection will occur through the future land use map, zoning regulations, site plan review process and other development regulations. The Town will work closely with Winnebago County to modify the zoning districts where and when needed to further protect these natural areas.  Additional zoning district overlays will be encouraged by working with the County to provide this protection. The planned reopening of the Fox River Lock System will further encourage the protection and redevelopment of the riverfront area.

 

GOAL 4: Protection of economically productive areas, including farmland and forests.

 

Remaining farmland and forests were inventoried to ensure that all appropriate areas were identified for potential future protection. A new approach to keeping agricultural land outside of the sewer service area in production has been recommended in this plan.

 

GOAL 5: Encouragement of land uses, densities and regulations that promote efficient development patterns and relatively low municipal, state governmental and utility costs.

 

Residential densities that are higher than existing densities are encouraged in this plan. The plan limits development outside of the sewer service area. The plan examined existing land uses and densities and explored methods of promoting efficient development patterns while still providing land uses acceptable to the citizens. Infill or redevelopment of existing land within the sewer service area is encouraged. The Town’s multi-jurisdictional utility district will be used to further promote efficient development outside of the Town’s municipal boundaries. Existing town development regulations will be reviewed to ensure that they do not discourage efficient land use and, if necessary, new regulations that promote efficient development will be adopted.

 

GOAL 6: Preservation of cultural, historic, and archaeological sites.

 

Information on cultural, historic, and archeological sites was provided by the Wisconsin Historical Society’s Division of Historic Preservation. Preservation will be encouraged by both the identification of these sites and through the development of policies that will encourage their protection. Regulations will be developed following public input to encourage the preservation of these sites. The Town’s Site Plan Review process will review proposed development for the potential need for the preservation of cultural, historic and archaeological sites.

 

GOAL 7: Encouragement of coordination and cooperation among nearby units of government.

 

The Intergovernmental Cooperation Element discusses in detail current examples of coordination and cooperation and the plans for increasing it. A copy of the draft comprehensive plan was provided to surrounding communities for their input.  The plan explored the coordination and cooperation among all nearby units of government that will allow the expansion of joint projects. The Town has an established history of coordination and cooperation with nearby units of government. Joint projects already include trails, joint project bidding on street maintenance, equipment sharing, and intergovernmental economic development efforts. Policies have been incorporated into the plan that will encourage and expand the existing joint cooperation and coordination efforts. The plan encourages meeting with surrounding communities on an annual basis to ensure the effective implementation of the plan and to modify policies that have not been effective in promoting cooperation and coordination.

 

GOAL 8: Building of community identity by revitalizing main streets and enforcing design standards.

 

The Town of Menasha is developing a “downtown” with a “main street” through a public private partnership. This “main street” will incorporate commercial and residential development and tie the uses all together with pedestrian trails creating a new community identity. The Town has developed an identity through signage (Bridging the Fox Cities) and the encouragement of designs unique to this community. Commercial and industrial development and redevelopment is reviewed through a site plan review process that includes a design review to insure the preservation and establishment of community identity. Through the use of the site plan review process, design standards will be enforced on all development and redevelopment projects.

 

GOAL 9: Providing an adequate supply of affordable housing for individuals of all income levels throughout each community.

 

The Town of Menasha presently encourages affordable housing through the development of multiple family housing and lower cost single-family sites. The town also has supported high-end residential development. Housing meeting the needs of various projected income levels will be encouraged. Developments will also be encouraged that integrate housing with employment opportunities to further reduce overall living costs by reducing transportation costs for residents of these developments.

 

GOAL 10: Providing adequate infrastructure and public services and an adequate supply of developable land to meet existing and future market demand for residential, commercial, and industrial uses.

 

The Town of Menasha has already developed infrastructure for planned future development and has identified areas for residential, commercial, and industrial uses. The plan determined the amount of developable land needed to meet future market demands for development based on population projections and existing land use patterns. Flexibility was built into the plan due to the inaccuracies of small area population projections to ensure that future development can be more closely tailored to development pressures without taxing existing levels of service. Through the annual review and five-year updates of this plan, the Town will work to provide an adequate supply of land with services.

 

GOAL 11: Promoting the expansion or stabilization of the current economic base and the creation of a range of employment opportunities at the state, regional and local levels.

 

The Town of Menasha will continue to be active in calling on existing business and industry and in working with the Fox Cities Regional Economic Partnership in attracting new firms. The Town will also work to provide additional land for a business park. The Town also promotes itself at trade shows, over the Internet and through ads and other promotions. The Town encourages development through the use of innovative funding methods that support new development through the use of a modified TIF process that uses funds from increased land values to support infrastructure installation.  The plan will reinforce and expand existing development policies by providing for adequate land area for various needed economic activities and also protecting existing commercial and industrial land uses through the future land use map and zoning regulations. 

 

GOAL 12: Balancing individual property rights with community interests and goals.

 

The Town of Menasha carefully listened to property owners concerns that new development does not negatively affect existing development. Public hearings on the adoption of the plan provided residents with an opportunity to comment on the impact of recommendations contained in the plan.

 

GOAL 13: Planning and development of land uses that create or preserve varied and unique urban and rural communities.

 

The plan examined existing unique land uses including Little Lake Butte Des Morts, environmental corridors and existing woodlands. It is anticipated that unique development will be proposed along Little Lake Butte Des Morts to capitalize on the planned reopening of the lock system to Green Bay. The developed base of trails and open space was also clearly part of the identified unique characteristics of the community. Policies are included to preserve, enhance, and potentially create unique characteristics of the community.

 

GOAL 14: Providing an integrated, efficient, and economical transportation system that affords mobility, convenience, and safety and that meets the needs of all citizens, including transit–dependent and disabled citizens.

 

All new development will complement the established transportation system including mass transit and pedestrian trails. The plan encourages compact development that will ensure the use of mass transit, and the trail system. The Town of Menasha will continue to work jointly through Valley Transit, a regional transit system to ensure transit for all citizens including transit-dependent and disabled citizens. The Town explored through the development of this plan integration of its transit system with the proposed passenger rail service that is planned in the next few years. The plan promotes, where appropriate, land uses and designs that will support existing and future transportation systems and ensure that the greatest possible efficiency is possible with various transportation systems while still ensuring desirable land uses and creating consistency throughout the plan. The plan incorporates maps that show transit corridors and includes polices that promote all types of transit.

 


I.                 Implementation of the Comprehensive Plan                       

 

A.     Summary                                                                          

 

The Town of Menasha Smart Growth Comprehensive Plan is intended to guide all decisions related to community development in the Town of Menasha. All public and private sector community development related decisions should be made in the context of the Plan’s goals, objectives, policies and recommendations. Specifically, the Plan should be used as a guide when site plans are reviewed, rezonings are proposed, conditional use requests are considered, subdivision plats are reviewed and public utility improvements or extensions are proposed. The Plan should be used to evaluate the impact of proposed development projects on existing land uses, transportation system facilities, utility systems, park and recreation facilities and other municipal services and facilities prior to issuing permits to commence construction, divide land, occupy buildings, etc.

 

This section of the plan identifies the actions for Town of Menasha officials to follow and implement over the next twenty years of the plan. Implementation will take the form of adopting and implementing a number of regulations, ordinances and policies.

 

B.                Goal                                                                                 

 

To establish and maintain a comprehensive, continuous community development system that results in a high-quality built and natural environment.

 


C.                Incorporation                                                                    

 

The Town of Menasha should consider petitioning the State of Wisconsin to incorporate as a village. The primary reason most towns consider incorporation is to protect their borders from annexation by adjoining incorporated municipalities. The Town of Menasha currently has border agreements in place with the City of Appleton and the City of Menasha but not with the City of Neenah. The towns of Grand Chute, Greenville, Harrison and Neenah are the other municipalities who share a common border with the Town of Menasha.

 

Another reason to pursue incorporation is to be able to exercise “home rule” powers. While towns can only exercise those powers specifically granted to it by the state, villages and cities may exercise any power in the public interest that does not conflict with a state statute. The “home rule” powers give a community a much higher degree of local control and exempt it from as much state legislative control as possible. These “home rule” powers are defined generally in Wisconsin State Statutes 66.0101 and specifically in 61.34(1) for Villages.

 

From a planning and land use perspective, the incorporation of the Town of Menasha as a village would mean the ability to annex land in adjacent towns. The incorporated village can exert extraterritorial review over land subdivisions and zoning within 1.5 miles of the border of the incorporated village and would be required to administer shoreland zoning.

 

Incorporation generally means a more unified delivery of land development services as the process is consolidated almost entirely into the village versus being shared with the county. Specifically what this means to the Town of Menasha is that it would be able to develop and adopt its own zoning ordinance and map and no longer have to follow Winnebago County’s zoning ordinance. Zoning decisions would be made by the plan commission and the village board, not the county.

 

From an economic development perspective, a village has the ability to use tax increment financing, which a town does not. This tool is very important in being able to stimulate private sector investment through the use of public funds to provide infrastructure in a “blighted” area of the community. Two of the most common uses of the tool are to encourage the redevelopment of an older area of the community and to develop business and industrial parks. The purpose is to help increase the value of the tax base and to encourage the creation of jobs in the community.

 

A change in government structure would accompany the incorporation. A village would have a seven person board in contrast to the Town’s five member board.

 

The Wisconsin Department of Administration (WDOA) is the administrative agency charged with facilitating the incorporation process, determining the ability of the territory petitioned for incorporation to meet certain minimum statutory standards, and advising the circuit court to either accept or reject the incorporation petition.

 

Generally, incorporation requests that include the entire town in the area to be incorporated are not viewed favorably by the (WDOA). This means that a portion of the current Town of Menasha would become a village and the rest would remain as the Town of Menasha. Determining the boundary line is a difficult challenge and is based on how best to meet the criteria established by the WDOA for incorporation.

 

According to the WDOA, deciding whether or not to attempt incorporation is a decision to be collectively undertaken and financed by citizens residing in the territory under consideration. Citizens need to consider not only whether or not the standards to be initially reviewed by the circuit court can be met, but also whether the territory, level of proposed services and budget, and other relevant issues meet the more difficult statutory standards required to be evaluated by the department.

 

The WDOA has published the following short list of reports, maps, and statistical information, which will assist it in writing the required determination.

 

Ø       Map or maps showing the boundaries of the territory proposed for incorporation, school, or other special districts, and surrounding communities; topographical, soil, wetland, and transportation maps.

Ø       A description of public works, public safety, administrative functions, or other services desired, or needed to be performed by the proposed village or city, how they will be performed and who will perform them.

Ø       An accurate estimate of the equalized value of the proposed village. A proposed village or city budget, using the state chart of accounts for municipalities as a format.

Ø       A narrative description of historic, economic, or social factors which may demonstrate cohesion and unity of the area, and which tend to establish the community as a village or city, including data concerning shopping and social customs or patterns. (Local groups or clubs, annual organized events, historic celebrations, church groups, etc.)

Ø       A list of businesses and their addresses which are contained within the proposed municipal boundaries. Please describe the type of business, whether it is seasonal or year round, and the number of people employed on a full-time basis.

Ø       Actual or proposed zoning ordinances, including maps together with an explanation of and basis for projected uses. Land use plans and map, or maps showing existing and proposed land use, including residential, commercial and public/community facilities. Please indicate the age of the plan, the last update of the plan, or the proposed time frame to update the current plan.

Ø       A Farmland Preservation plan, erosion control plan, or designated environmental corridors, if enacted, should also be included. A list of all rezones (location, new classification, acres involved) over the past five years. If possible, separate by rezones within the proposed village boundaries. Also include, if possible, a list of rejected rezones, and an explanation for their rejection.

Ø       A list of building permits for the past five years, classified by residential, commercial, manufacturing, or other type of building permit. Separate those issued in the proposed village, if possible.

Ø       Copies of any engineering or planning reports covering all or part of the area proposed for incorporation (i.e. sewer and water facilities, etc.) and information on any other service districts (i.e. lake management districts).

Ø       Information on the level of services available from a contiguous local government, which files a resolution to participate as an intervenor in the incorporation process. Please include a list of all town buildings and town equipment, noting the age of the equipment. Indicate which services the town provides and which the town contracts for.

Ø       Other information such as fire insurance rating, EMS capabilities and coverage, and capital improvement plans to purchase or upgrade town equipment would be appreciated.

Ø       Town "annual reports" for the past five years.

Ø       A description of any impact, financial and otherwise, on the remainder of the town, including supporting data or exhibits.

Ø       A complete list of the existing code of ordinances currently in effect in proposed village and affected town.

Ø       School district enrollment predictions and facility plans in the proposed village or city, affected towns and adjacent municipalities.

 

The timeline for the municipal incorporation process can be lengthy. It is not uncommon for the process to take a year or more.

 

Because the Town of Menasha is rapidly becoming an urban, versus rural, community and because of its desire to exert more local control through the adoption of its own zoning ordinance and map, it is recommended that a study of the feasibility of the incorporation of a portion of the Town of Menasha be completed.