Regional Land Use (LU) Assessment Report: This report will be developed by the Land Use Task Force. The report will include both the natural and built environments. Our region covers 9,325 square miles, of which 485 sq. miles is water, about 2,500 sq. miles is farmland, and over 5,000 sq. miles is forested. Natural resources are precious to our Region for both economic and quality of life reasons. A primary goal of this effort will be to minimize transportation impacts on the environment.
The Assessment Report will assemble regional data related to surface waters, watersheds, wetlands, prime farmland, forested areas, sand/gravel, land uses, and development constraints such as depth to groundwater or bedrock and steep slopes. The Wisconsin River corridor and watershed, as well as the 5,400 lakes in the Region, will be a major focus. We will collect and utilize existing GIS maps where mapping exists, the natural and built features of our region. A map of current land uses based on 2010 air photos will be compiled for the region and compared to our 2000 coverage to determine change. One method to ensure efficient land use is to promote in-fill development and brownfield development in the region. The RLP will identify the benefits of infill development and brownfield redevelopment, as wells as programs available to encourage it. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources there are 7,282 brownfields sites in our region, of which 365 have not been remediated. A review of local comprehensive plans and regulatory tools related to sustainable practices will be completed as well.
Strategies will be developed for promoting efficient development patterns and keeping governmental costs (and taxes) down, such as multi-modal transportation connections, traditional neighborhood designs as an alternative to subdivisions, new urbanism concepts with mixed-uses, services within walking distance, transit-oriented development, and clustered housing concepts which allow opportunities for trails or open space. Benchmarks and metrics will be established for monitoring and evaluation.