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Plan Commission Minutes
Apr 16, 2012
PDF Version: 20845_2012-Apr-16_Plan Commission Minutes.pdf

  Town of Oregon

Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

Monday, April 16, 2012


1.         Call Plan Commission meeting to order.

Town of Oregon Plan Commission Chair Weber called the Plan Commission meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.  In attendance were Tom Wiedenbeck, Andy Blomstrom, Dave Hagemann, Darryl Weber, Brian Duffin, Sharon Christensen and Deputy Clerk, Jennifer Hanson.  Paul Morrison was absent. 

2.         Approval of minutes from the last meeting.

Motion made by Hagemann and seconded by Duffin to approve the Plan Commission meeting minutes of March 19, 2012.  Motion carried.

3.         Public Comments.

Doug Steinberg, 892 Hillcrest Lane, appeared to explain that he would like to resurrect the Richlieu Banjo business that has gone out of business.  He would not be able to have this as a retail business, so he would like to put a building in his backyard.  He presented the board with a drawing of his lot and the buildings.  The new building would be 24 X 60 building.  There will also be cement slab that is not covered by covered by a building.  The plan commission questioned the setbacks on the property and if they would meet the county standards.  Brian Standing, Dane County Planner, recommended a Limited Family Business in an R-1 zoning district which requires a conditional use permit.  The plan commission reviewed Dane County requirements for accessory buildings.  Mr. Steinberg said the building will be insulated so can work during the winter time.  He also said that there would be very little foot traffic as most sales will be done over the internet.  Christensen mentioned that she worked next to Richlieu Banjos and that the odors of the paint were very strong and she is concerned about the neighbors.  Mr. Steinberg will look into the paint odor and using booths to control the odor.  The plan commission questioned if he would require a commercial zoning.  Mr. Steinberg will contact Dane County Zoning.  Brian Standing suggested he address issues such as vapors, traffic and parking in the condition use permit application.          

4.         Discussion and possible recommendations to the Town Board re: Amendments to the Town of Oregon Comprehensive Plan (adopted April 9th, 2007, last amended June 2nd, 2009) related to Policy 1f, Chapter 5a Agricultural Resources (page 30).

Andrew Bremer, town planner, explained that the town adopted the Comprehensive Plan in April 2007 and then started moving forward with the County approval process and the conservation subdivision ordinance.  During that summer as the county reviewed the plan, the plan commission had questions about the density policy of those properties that are zoned rural housing or RH in rural preservation areas.  The plan commission went back to clarify what was in the plan and went through several versions of the policy looking at potential modifications to that policy.  Duffin had found one of those versions and it didn’t match what was in the adopted plan.  The question was did we adopt what we intended to adopted?  Mr. Bremer gave the plan commission a packet containing the different versions of the policy in chronological order.  The first version, file dated August 28, 2007 was the one that Brian had found.  There was an idea that within these RH parcels that if there was to be additional development, than it would be at a density of 1 unit per 2 acres but wouldn’t exceed more than 4 units so that a subdivision couldn’t be created.  Mr. Bremer refers to an email that deputy clerk Jennifer Hanson sent to him that was a summary of a plan commission meeting asking if there was a way to hold the landowners to the original intent of the RH zoning, such as a 7 acre RH parcel not being allowed any more splits because the intent was to allow only one home?  Mr. Bremer said that the town was thinking about it in both ways, should we allow one house because that was the original intent or does the town allow one unit for per two acres and up to four units? 


Duffin wanted to bring Brian Standing up to speed on what happened.  Duffin explained that previously going to exclusive agricultural zoning, the township didn’t have a lot of limitations or restrictions on development.  If you were a landowner and you had 2 or more acres of land over and above what you needed for your primary residence, of ag land, then you could sell a lot or build a second house.  The only restriction the town had at that time was a minimum two acre lot size.  Brain Standing clarified that at that time you wouldn’t need to rezone, so it would have been just strictly a land division.  Also on RH properties, if you had two or more acres over and above what the minimum zoning district called for you could have an additional split.  For example, if you had an RH-3 property, which calls for a minimum of 8 acres, but you own 12 acres then you could sell one lot or two lots in this case because you would have 4 acres above the minimum.  Brian Standing clarified that this was the policy before exclusive agricultural was adopted and one unit per 35 acres.  There were no other restrictions on those properties unless some properties were deed restricted when a house was built, but most did not.  Then along comes exclusive ag zoning and the density standard for ag land changes dramatically.  However to the town’s knowledge the exclusive ag zoning didn’t do change anything to change zoning on RH properties previous to entering into exclusive ag zoning.  So it is in the town’s opinion that the town is not looking to add density to the township, but maintain density that has always been allowed for on these RH properties.


Mr. Standing understands where the town is coming from, but with both the previous plan and the current plan the county board and the Zoning Department would have a different interpretation of that.  In that there is a distinction between planning areas, areas designated in the plan and identified as farmland preservation areas under the current plan, where the density standard or practice applies is different than current zoning.  Duffin said that splits have been granted on RH properties.  Mr. Standing suggests that one way of getting at this same idea would be to draw up a new comprehensive plan map and identify those areas on the map.  The concern is writing an exception to the density policy because it would be confusing to explain.  The county would expect to see a planning area where policies apply and if there is another planning area then another set of policies would apply in that area so people would have an expectation of how that area is going to look.  The problem with mapping is that the areas are scattered throughout the township and therefore difficult to map.  Another issue is that if the town developed a new category for these RH properties and mapped them, then the town would need to create a new future land use category, because they wouldn’t fit into the rural development category. 


The county can identify the RH parcels that meet the town’s criteria and create a map of those areas.  This would benefit the town because it would be clearly identified on a map.  The current plan is written that density is based upon how your property was zoned in 1994.  The current plan allows for a maximum of one more unit.  Mr. Standing said that the County Board adopted the current plan and just because the town said that they didn’t mean to say what was written, the county board will still see it as increasing the density under the current adopted plan.  The county will ask why?  The town population projections were tight, so that maybe a compelling argument to the county board.  In addition, Mr. Standing wants to caution the town on why now?  The real estate market is down and not a lot of rural development is happening.  Mr. Standing is not discouraging the town, but there needs to be strong reasoning.  Mr. Standing wants the town to consider if this is fair just because you owned the land prior to 1994.  Also, the county may ask if the town is backing away from TDR.  Mr. Standing said the county will need to know how many parcels this affects and the potential number of new homes.  Mr. Bremer said it is potentially 50 to 60 homes. 


The plan commission discussed the historical zoning of parcels in the township and why these parcels were rezoned to RH.  Mr. Standing said there are going to be a couple different issues:  why do you need it and why now?  Mr. Standing said this maybe difficult to explain to the county board because one lot is allowed up to four splits.  Mr. Standing asked the town to consider:  Do we need it, Do we need it now and is this what’s best for the town, especially since it is scattered throughout the township and not clustered.  The plan commission is concerned because if they wait than the history will be lost.  Mr. Standing said the land divisions cannot be dealt with on a case-by-case basis and the town needs to be very explicit on which parcels are covered.  


Mr. Bremer presented the plan commission with a new proposed amended policy.  Mr. Standing is concerned about the equity and would suggest getting public input because the town maybe solving a problem that doesn’t exist.  He understands that people may have bought the land with certain expectations, but they haven’t been asking for it and you have to balance that with people who have bought the land after 1994.  A property owner maybe upset that the town is allowing 4 lots on something they thought couldn’t be built upon.  Mr. Standing doesn’t think the town should feel obligated to change the current policy, especially because this is a much smaller impact than when the town went to one unit per 35 acres.  The law allows for these type of changes if it is for the greater good.  Mr. Standing wants the town to think about equity within the township and how 10 acres in RH is allowed 4 splits, but 10 acres in A1-ex is not allowed any splits.  Mr. Standing said that the proposed density policy will be very difficult to explain to the county board.  Mr. Bremer went through the current policy and explained the rounding up rule.  Mr. Standing feels that the current language is too vague.  Mr. Standing recommends clarifying the current language and the county board would approve.  Mr. Standing feels that the town could make a strong case on clarifying the language.  Mr. Standing is willing to work with the town.  The plan commission will work on clarifying the language to stay with the original intent of up to one unit.                    

5.         Discussion and possible action re: Town’s Submittal Application for Land Division, Rezones and CUP.

This item was tabled.

6.         Communications.

The Village of Brooklyn is requesting that Town of Oregon plan commission members attend an upcoming planning meeting.  Chairman Weber will get email the date.  The Plan Commission clarified with Brian Standing that every new lot requires 66 feet of road frontage.  It can’t be done through an easement and it is required to have legal ownership up to the road.  This is for newly created lots and older lots are grandfathered.  The plan commission discussed the future Farmland Preservation amendments and residential lots being required to do a locations survey.         

7.         Adjournment.

Motion made by Hagemann and second by Duffin to adjourn the Plan Commission meeting at 8:45 p.m. on Monday, April 16, 2012.  Motion carried


Respectfully Submitted,




Jennifer Hanson, Deputy Clerk

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