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Aug 26, 2016
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Joint Oregon Town Board and Plan Commission Meeting Minutes

August 23, 2016


  1. Call Town Board meeting to order.

Town of Oregon Board Chairman Wayne Ace called the Oregon Town Board Meeting to order at 6:30 pm on August 23, 2016.  Clerk Denise Arnold took roll:  Those present were Chairman Wayne Ace, Supervisors Arlen Christensen, Phil Van Kampen, and Fred Clark.  Absent:  Tom Wiedenbeck.  Eight guests were present.


Plan Commission Chairman Brian Duffin called the Plan Commission Meeting to order at 6:32 pm on August 23, 2016 with the following Plan Commission Members present:  Chairman Brian Duffin, Members Arlan Kay, Sharon Christensen, Paul Morrison, Andy Blomstrom and David Hagemann.  Absent:  Tom Wiedenbeck.  Duffin then requested the Plan Commission lead the discussion with Chair Ace running the meeting.


  1. Discussion and possible Action re: conservation subdivision.

Town resident Susan Krebsbach requested the Town consider a Conservation Sub-division.  Duffin shared that the Plan Commission has provided language in the land use plan however none had been presented before.  Krebsbach has addressed the Plan Commission at two meetings, has the approval to proceed from the Village of Oregon and Duffin now feels the Town Board should be aware and included in this and voice their opinions on the subject of a Conservation Sub-division.  Duffin would like to let the petitioner Susan Krebsbach know if she should be encouraged to proceed.  If the Town Board opposes the Plan Commission should be advised along with the petitioner.  There are still many steps to complete. 

Van Kampen:  Not opposed however would want to know if the neighbors approve, whether the road would be private or Town Road and concerns about disturbing the land so a storm water plan would need to be provided.

Arlen Christensen:  Has concerns regarding the run off as his property could be affected. 

Clark:  Questioned the lot size.  Duffin shared that the County does not have any language in their plan for a Conservation Subdivision.  The Plan Commission felt a minimum one acre lot size would be appropriate.  All Conservation Subdivisions are unique and our land use plan does not actually require a certain size. 

Ace:  The Town does not really need or want another road established. Concerns about who would maintain the road as it is more work for the Town.  Ace would not support the Town paying for any portion of installation of this road. 

Kay:  Would like to know how is it owned and maintained. Since the land would be going into perpetuity it is important to know the ownership to insure the proper care.

Susan Krebsbach:  Ms. Krebsbach introduced Mike Calkins of Snyder and Associates who it acting as her planner.  Krebsbach’s greatest concern is to maintain the property as a prairie.  The Prairie Enthusiasts would maintain the tall grass prairie.  There would be a portion of the land that the Prairie Enthusiasts would be monitoring.  The homeowners would be charged a conservation easement $1,000 fee to support this service.  The Prairie Enthusiasts Organization would cut the box elder trees, noxious weeds and see to the proper burning every three years.  

Blomstrom:Stated in the past a subdivision road was graveled by the Developer and when a certain amount of houses are developed then the black top would be completed and maintained by the Town of Oregon.  Blomstrom felt that the taxpayers would deserve a roadway maintained by the Town. 

Hagemann:  Inquired if the walking trails would be available to the public or a private area.  He    questioned the traffic flow to the area if opened to the public. 

Krebsbach:  The ten homeowners would be deciding this.  The homeowners association would be contributing to the care and she thought they may limit it to the residence in the area.  Krebsbach would like it available to anyone. 

Duffin:  If this goes forward there would need to be a reclassification of the property by Krebsbach; currently it is rural preservation II which means the land is held to the 1 to 35 acre rule but plans for                                                                                                       


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development in the future.  It would need to be changed to a conservation subdivision, this would allow for development.  The Town’s land use plan would need to be changed.  This fits our land use plan however a series of meetings would need to be held before approval by Town and County.  One public hearing to accomplish this, a second public hearing to share with the public and a recommendation would go forward to the Town Board.  If the Town Board approves, then a public hearing would be required at the County level.  At that time Duffin felt at least 3 studies would need to be done before progressing.  A traffic feasibility study, storm water management review and a nitrate concentration test completed.  There could be even more studies conducted.  The cost of the studies are at the expense of the petitioner/developer. 

Mike Calkins:  Explained that some of the studies have been included in the estimate for the road fees.  He projects there will be nine lots and one additional for the petitioner.

Duffin:  Inquired if the Town Board was open for consideration on this conservation subdivision. 

Morrison:  An ordinance would still need to be created and approved. 

Duffin:  Shared that there would be a $1,000 impact fee payable to the Town for each of the lots, and there is approximately $850 per lot payable to Dane County which is a use conversion fee based on the acreage.  Brian Standing at the County is aware of this request and they have no language at the County level.  Currently the land located in sections 15 & 16 and is zoned A-2.  Duffin suggested that Krebsbach petition the Town, come to the Plan Commission to start the process.  Krebsbach was encouraged to connect with the neighbors.  There will be a petition meeting, four public hearings total, two local and two at Dane County and one additional meeting with the Town Board.  The Village of Oregon is currently not showing any opposition. 

Krebsbach:  Does not want to establish any sidewalks, she wants to keep as much of the land protected in tall grass prairie.   She plans to contact the surrounding neighbors.

Sharon Christensen:  When acreage that is left from the conservation easement who owns it?  Would the land come off the tax roll?

Duffin:  Expected that the land would be owned by the Prairie Enthusiasts and would be taken off the tax roll. 


3.     Discussion and possible Action re: transfer of development rights (TDR).


Duffin:  Wanted to discuss the Tofte 20 acre parcel locaated at Lincoln and Glenway.  Tofte would like to establish another parcel for the purpose of building a new dwelling owned by a family member.  They do not have a split so typically this request would be denied.  One solution would be TDR or Transfer of Development Rights the other option would be to change the requirements for density.  TDR would allow a landowner with additional splits to sell those splits to others in need of splits.  The Tofte’s feel that they have land available for their children and do not want to purchase a split to buy something they already have.  The 1 to 35 was a ruling that was established at a higher level than the Town of Oregon.  Exclusive Ag. was established in December of 1994 and that requires the 1 to 35 density rule.  In the past the Town treated A-1 and A-3 the same.  Dane County allowed A-3 a density of 1 to 20.  Duffin was unsure if the County would grant a split for Rural Preservation II which it how the Tofte’s are currently zoned. The Town’s rules were stricter than Dane County.  Duffin asked if the Town Board is interested in increasing the density in the Town?  Duffin has heard from the residents that the time is ripe or ready for increased density. 

Clark:  Would like the density to remain the same. 

Arlen Christensen:  Would like to more about the density.  He thought that TDR could be a good program. Christensen would not want to increase density the additional building site would need to be purchased (TDR).

Duffin:  Shared that Dane County would establish transfer and receiving areas for TDR.

Van Kampen:  The Town of Dunn has been effective with using TDR on their borders.  Dunn has no


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vacant commercial lots.  Most have been farmers giving up their splits to preserve the farm land.

Hagemann:  There would need to be guidelines to establish the splits so not to have one family or special interest group establish a sub-division.

Ace:  Would like to see the Plan Commission explore the concept of TDR.  The Town would not control the price. 

Duffin:  The Village of Oregon does not have a problem with a land split on their land.  The problem is that if they allow this particular split it could start a movement of more development.  Duffin feels there are some A-3 landowners that have been shorted of their rights. 

Kay:  TDR is a very strong tool for farmers to continue holding their own agriculture land.  We would be better off keeping the agriculture land in larger parcels of land.  There is a need to provide sustainability to family farms to sell off the splits to keep the farm intact. 


  1. Discussion and possible Action re: Wisconsin Act 178 Opt Out of Dane County Zoning.


Duffin:  Requested that the Plan Commission Members express their thoughts on the opting out of Dane County Zoning rather than hearing his opinion first. 

Morrison:  Is glad that Dane County’s feet are in the fire.  They need to look at their ordinances and work with the local municipalities.  He was concerned about work load and cost for the Town.  He would suggest that the Town send a notice to the County that we might opt out.  Then do the homework to find out what it would cost. 

Blomstrom:  Possibly send a notice however he has concerns about staff being pulled from the County and increased work for their staff and our services could be diminished.  It would be a considerable amount more time for the Towns Clerk and Deputy Clerk.  He feels that waiting the three years to see how it works with other participating municipalities would be best.  He cannot see any advantage to pulling out of Dane County Zoning. 

Hagemann:  The Town is not in position to pull out of Dane County Zoning at this time.  The Town should monitor the Towns that pull out and watch their outcome.  The mapping program should be considered, we may have to hire an associate group as the same amount of work must still be accomplished.  We could learn from the Towns that pull out in this early stage. 

Sharon Christensen:  The Town should stay in and observe the outcome of others.  Perhaps there would be animosity with the County if the Town expressed the option of opting out.  There are concerns about cost with the possibility of hiring a zoning administrator.  More work would be done if the Town went out on their own away from the County. 

Kay:  Three years will go by faster than you think and there really is no rush to opt out now.  He thought perhaps the movement came from an outside source that might stand to be enriched by this change.  The services and time would be effected.  The Towns would lack consistency for Developers and that would make things difficult, however when staying with the County that consistency would be provided. 

Duffin:  There are concerns with waiting three years it seems like if things change at the State level administration would change at the County level and that could result in the opportunity to opt out being lost forever.  There are pros and cons and right now we have been working well with the County.  As in the past one person at the County could make a huge difference.  The County is a great resource for the Clerk’s Office.  The Clerk’s Office is the first line of defense and the County is helpful with solutions that make it so that the Town Board does not have to get directly involved.  Duffin does not like it when the County communicates to the Town that they want a blanket rezone and the Plan Commission must hold the Public Hearing doing the dirty work.  This has happened on more than one occasion.  That is not co-zoning that is dictating.  They never asked the residents or the Town if they wanted to do this rezone.  He does not like it when the Town takes the time and expense to file an amendment to the Towns Land Use Plan and the County tables the item and says it will review it at a later date and it has been six years and

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it has yet to be reviewed.  That is not co-zoning that is dictating.  Duffin feels as though Transfer of Development rights should be possible by all landowners where it is applicable.  The County decides where the sending and receiving areas for TDR are located.  Why don’t they ask us what we want?  That is not co-zoning that is dictating.  When the County comes up with a decision the Town must abide by that decision and when the Town makes a decision they may or may not allow us to do that.  The County is in the driver’s seat and the Town is in the back seat.  The day after a Plan Commission Meeting Deputy Clerk Hanson contacts Dane County explaining what the Plan Commission has decided and asks is this a good fit according to the County?  She reaches out as a partner in co-zoning.  When has the County ever contacted the Town asking if their changes are a good fit for the Town?  The Towns Association has a subcommittee and allows any Town Board or Plan Commission Member to be a part of that however the County picks their own subcommittees.  Where is the opportunity for someone from the Town of Oregon to be a part of a County subcommittee? There are none because they hand pick their members.  Duffin would recommend waiting until January to determine if the Town would opt out of Dane County Zoning.  That would allow more time to consider this decision.  He grew up in Rock County and they do not have zoning and Rock County seems to get along fine and all services are still provided despite they do not co-zone.  Duffin requested that the Town Board share their thoughts on the same subject. 

Van Kampen:  As part of the new law we will be doing our own zoning however we must adopt the Dane County Towns Association Zoning.  We might be trading one master for another.  There is no guarantee that this new plan will be better.  There are special interest groups that could choose to sue the Town and they may have deeper pockets and that may cost the Town a large sum of money. Van Kampen is not in favor of opting out right now.  He feels a better stance is to send a letter stating that we are going to give the County a chance and we want to be an equal fair partner in changing and realize that the County is trying to do a better job. We acknowledge that and would like to stay with Dane County and not withdraw.  We want to be cooperating for the next three years rather than threatening to leave. 

Arlen Christensen:  The cost is a concern and he felt that staying with the County is in the Towns best interest at this time. He agreed with the points that had been brought up. 

Clark:  Staying with the County is best now as the office staff needs their support.  The County tackles many hard situations and they end up being the bad guy to handle that.  We should stay with Dane County. 

Ace:  Ace acknowledged the difficulties and issues that Duffin brought up.  There are no dairy farmers and crop farmers serving at the County level at this time.  We should send a letter of support rather than bully the County that we might opt out.  They are here to help us therefore we should work with the County.  He would like to help the Tofte family but that would really cause problems throughout the Town. 

Jerry Bollig:  (Dane County Supervisor Representative for the Town of Oregon, 5 yrs.)  All the Town of Oregon petitions have gone thru.  There was a County Supervisor that was a problem however now there is a new Dane County Chair and that has changed things.  Your comments are valid and should be shared, documented and let the County know your thoughts.  Tell the County Board Chair and head of zoning along with the staff.   He felt that the Town was making a good decision to stay with the County.  This is a political issue and a financial issue.  The legislation has not been determined whether or not money will be given back at this point in time.  Everyone will need to position themselves to figure out what it costs. Bollig was also unsure if you could return to Dane County Zoning after opting out. 

Clerk Arnold:  In 2016 the Town has not spent a dollar on legal fees and in 2015 $644 was spent and that was on the joint court because we are required to provide a public defender for those that are in need.  We are not a Town that spends money on legal fees and there are concerns about that expense and providing for that in our budget.  The Town pays a levy amount to Dane County and have not been told what if any credit would be refunded for not using County Zoning.  We would need to make a determination by October 20th in order to be considered as a candidate in the opt out program.  We have not learned what the salary is for a zoning inspector.  Do any of the Town Board or Plan Commission want to respond to a call the Clerk’s Office receives with a disgruntled resident regarding a junk or noise

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violation?  We had a Board Member/Plan Commission Member that had a complaint filed against them which of the Plan Commission or Board Supervisors would want to confront that situation.  The Town would need to hire a service to handle these complaints.   We all rely on Dane County quite heavily, we would have to hire a service and we have a service now that does not cost anything additionally per use.  The Clerk received 66 labels from DCTA with no letter of explanation.  After calling to find out it was learned that these were the labels to be used when a Town opts out of Dane County Zoning. This would inform others of our intentions.  Currently there are eight Towns choosing to explore opting out.  The Clerk at one of the Towns is an attorney, I am not an attorney nor is the Deputy Clerk. A more skilled and educated Clerk when you hire replacements would need to be considered.  The cost would be significantly more. A letter of support for cooperative co-zoning is a good idea that Van Kampen suggested.  


Steve Root:  (Park Committee Chairman) Dane County has helped tremendously with some park issues in the Town of Oregon.  There was a resident encroaching on Town Park property and Dane County assisted in that situation.

Blomstrom:  Commented on how awful Rock County is without co-zoning. 

Ace:  Thanked everyone for all the positive input and Jerry Bollig for attending meetings and supporting the Town at the County level.  Ace feels we have a good team in place with the Plan Commission and the Town Board along with an excellent Clerk’s Office staff. 

Bollig:  Repeated that criticisms should be shared with Dane County.  They will listen. 

Ace:  Would like to proceed with a positive letter being sent to Dane County however the Plan Commission should feel the same way. 

Morrison, Blomstrom, Hagemann, Christensen, and Kay:  All are in favor of the support letter being sent to Dane County. 

Duffin:  Respects everyone’s opinion however he still feels that a letter of intent to opt out should be sent.  Duffin is concerned how zoning would proceed in the future and gave the example of O’Brien’s Wedding
Barn.  Will Dane County consult with the Town on that issue? 

Ace:  Asked Duffin if he would support having the letter from both the Plan Commission and Town Board listed as supporting the joint decision to stay with Dane County Zoning?

Duffin:  Responded by saying that the majority of the Plan Commission is in support so the letter could reflect that.  He went on to thank the Town Board for attending the joint meeting.  It is important that we work together. 

Ace:  This has been a very good meeting and thanked everyone involved once again.


  1. Adjournment.


Motion made by Hagemann and seconded by Kay to adjourn the Plan Commission Meeting.  Motion carried.

Motion made by A. Christensen and seconded by Clark to adjourn the Town Board Meeting at 8:50 pm.  Motion carried. 


Respectfully Submitted,

Denise R. Arnold


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