Minutes, May 2, 2023

Plan Commission Minutes

Town of Washburn

Town Hall

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Members present: Kim Bro (chair), Cyndi Belanger (secretary), Tim Schwenzfeier (vice chair).

Members absent: Jim Park (town board representative), Hallie Sandberg.

Others present: None.

  1. Chairman Bro called the meeting of the commission to order at 7:00 P.M. and verified its legal notification (posted at town hall and Tetzner Dairy) on April 28, 2023 and on town website.

  2. The minutes of the April 6, 2023 meeting were approved (Tim moves, Cyndi seconds).

  3. Kim explained that, at the previous meeting of the county Comprehensive Plan Update Committee, the group agreed that it was fine for the county to incorporated the current Future Land Use Map of each town in the county plan until each town updates its own comprehensive plan, When the town updates its plan the new Future Land Use Map will be incorporated into the county plan. Because the. town will be updating its plan after the regional plan commission completes its grant requirements for the county, the is no need to make any changes to the town map at this time.
  4. The commission then considered mapping exercise in which the county asked each town to recommend a minimum parcel size that would be appropriate for five land use categories: agriculture, forestry, rural residential, residential, and “general mixed use. The commission did not have an opinion about the “general mixed use category, which applies to parcels in such unincorporated villages as Cable, Cornucopia, Herbster, Port Wing, Drummond, and Iron River. The Town of Washburn has not areas that would use this category. The commission agreed that 4.5 acres is an appropriate minimum for the “rural residential category. This category currently is marked on the eastern area of the town near existing town roads.
  5. The commission then reviewed the provisions of the state’s model zoning ordinance for the Farmland Preservation Program as a model for the minimum parcel sizes for agricultural and forestry use categories. The state requires a minimum area of 20 contiguous acres. A conditional use is required if a parcel for a non-farm residence to be divided from an agricultural parcel, but non-farm land uses cannot exceed 5% of the parcel, and, if more than one non-farm residential parcels is created, those parcels must be contiguous with each other. In this system, the agricultural or forestry uses remain viable because a the potential for fragmentation is minimized. The commission recommends that the minimum size of the non-farm or non-forestry parcels should be two acres. Thus, there could be one non=farm parcel created for every 40 acres of agricultural and forestry lands, and the minimum area for agriculture and forestry lands would be twenty acres. The commission recommends that the town board approve submitting twenty acre minimum lot sizes for agriculture and forestry lands, 4.5 acres for rural residential, and two acres for residential (Tim moves, Cyndi seconds).
  6. The commission selected Tuesday, June 6, 2023 7:00 P.M. for the next meeting at the town hall.

  7. The meeting adjourned at 8:20 P.M. (Cyndi moves, Tim seconds).

Draft submitted by: Kenneth Bro, Chair, Town of Washburn Plan Commission (May 4, 2023).

Plan Commission Report

The commission recommends that the town board endorse a 20-acre minimum recommended lot size for agricultural and forestry uses in the county’s “Future Land Use Mapping” exercise and also, 4.5 acres for rural residential uses and two acres for residential uses.. This recommendation is merely a recommendation for this planning exercise, not for any official changes.