Public Participation Process

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The public participation process was the key element to the development of the Town of Presque Isle Year 2020 Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Plan direction was driven by the opinions and participation expressed by town residents and landowners. Numerous techniques were utilized to gather public input in the plan development process. The public input tools utilized and their representative results are summarized as follows.

It must be noted the meetings listed in the following section were facilitated by Foth & Van Dyke. The Presque Isle Land Use and Lakes Classification Committee met on numerous occasions not listed below, and by no means is the entire plan development process effort encapsulated by the following summary description.

Meeting No. 1 (February 16, 1999) Project Orientation

Foth & Van Dyke met with the Town of Presque Isle Land Use and Lakes Classification Committee and with Vilas County Land Use Plan project coordinator Bryan Pierce at the Presque Isle Town Hall to discuss the planning process, discuss timelines, and identify with Presque Isle’s progress, issues, ordinances, and planning related documents and reports. Foth & Van Dyke and Bryan Pierce discussed the role of Vilas County, project coordination, and how the town plan was to “roll-up”, or facilitate the Vilas County Land Use Plan. A preliminary schedule and timeline was drafted, and a meeting summary list was presented. An Issue Identification workshop was scheduled for May 18, 1999.

The town discussed the opportunity to conduct a Community Planning Survey and decided a survey should be a part of the planning process. Bryan Pierce of the University of Wisconsin-Extension coordinated, developed, and facilitated the survey in conjunction with the Presque Isle Land Use and Lakes Classification Committee.

Meeting No. 2 (May 18, 1999) Issue Identification Workshop

The Town of Presque Isle Land Use and Lakes Classification Committee hosted a Community Land Use and Planning Issues Identification Workshop as the first phase of public input for plan development.

The workshop was conducted at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 18, 1999 at the Presque Isle Town Hall. The meeting purpose was to obtain from the participants their perceptions on the following question: "In your opinion, what do you feel are the most important land use management issues facing the Town of Presque Isle in the next two decades?"

A total of 25 workshop participants registered on sign-in sheets for the session. The workshop was facilitated by John Williams of Foth & Van Dyke, Bryan Pierce, Vilas County University of Wisconsin-Extension, Tiffany Lyden, Vilas County Lake Conservation Specialist, and Fred Hageman, Vilas County Zoning Administrator.

Mr. Williams presented a slide show describing the components for the Town of Presque Isle Year 2020 Comprehensive Land Use Plan. He also described the following for the input gathering session. The ground rules included the following:

1. This is your plan! Everyone's ideas are important. There are no “dumb” or “stupid” ideas.

2. Think long range (20 to 30 years into the future).

3. Think in terms of the “common good.” Your personal self-interests are important, but they should not dominate.

4. Be willing to compromise.

5. Be committed to developing a successful plan.

Following this introductory session, the participants were divided into five groups. Each group followed the same sequence of activities using a nominal group process. First, each person was asked to write down on note cards their own reaction to the primary question. Next, group members shared their issues in a round robin fashion, while the facilitators recorded the responses on flip chart paper.

After all of the issues were recorded, there was discussion within the small groups to clarify statements and consolidate duplicate issues. Then members were asked to privately select and vote for their top five issues on note paper. The votes were recorded on flip chart paper. The 10 issues with the most votes in the small group were then listed on a summary sheet.

The top issues from each of the five groups were then presented by the facilitators to the full group. Obvious issue duplications were consolidated. All participants were then asked to vote a second time among the final list of priority issues. Each person wrote their top five issues on note paper. The final results of priority issues were tabulated by the facilitators.

The results of the workshop were compiled in the Town of Presque Isle Community Land Use and Planning Issues Identification Workshop report. The report was prepared for the Presque Isle Land Use and Lakes Classification Committee by Bryan Pierce, Vilas County UW-Extension with assistance from Janet Christiansen. The lists of issues generated by the workshop participants were used by the Committee and UW-Extension to prepare questions for a Community Planning Survey. This mail-out survey was used as the second phase of public input for the land use planning process, which is subsequently discussed in this section.

The final top 12 priority land use management issues for the Town of Presque Isle can be seen in Table 2-1. The following list includes the final voting of all participants on the list compiled from the highest priority issues discussed in the three groups.

Table 2-1

Final Top 12 Priority Land Use Management Issues for the

Town of Presque Isle, Vilas County, Wisconsin

May 18, 1999

In your opinion, what do you feel are the most important land use management issues facing the Town of Presque Isle over the next two decades?

Top Twelve Priorities:

Rank No. of Group Votes Issue
1
9
Preserve the beauty and natural resources of the town.
2
8
Keeping wild places wild. Preserving unique places.
3
6
Plan sanitary, storm sewer and well water system for downtown area.
4
6
Enforce current town ordinances and covenants.
5
5
All water bodies need to be considered and recognized in the land use plan, including wetlands.
6
5
Develop an economic business plan.
7
4
Minimize development on lakes and water bodies including multi-family dwellings and businesses.
8
4
Promote an area for more dense, rental-type housing with appropriate infrastructure.
9
4
Require all septic systems within the shoreland zone to be tested and brought into compliance (set time table).
10
4
Prevent property tax increases beyond means of local population (ability to pay, research homestead-type tax).
11
4
Set aside areas for business development.
12
4
Limit mobile homes/manufactured homes to mobile home parks.

Other High Priority Issues:

No. of Group Votes Issue
3 Plan for industrial park area for light manufacturing.
3 Preserve a peaceful atmosphere for those who live here permanently, including restrictions on noise pollution.
3 Enhance community image, including downtown (no junk cars, eliminate nuisances).
3 Restrict business development in residential areas.
3 Build senior residential care facility.
3 Need for paved roads (dust control).
3 Provide for senior housing in village.
3 Prevention of multi-family developments on lakes.
2 Keep some green spaces for public use.
2 Designate concentrated areas for land based motorized recreation (including ATV's, snowmobiles on ice).
2 Preserve lake (surface) water quality.
2 Balance long-term community growth (diversity of business use) with bedroom community.
2 Keep high impact developments (i.e. gas stations) away from wetlands and water front.
1 Keep lakeshore frontage at least 200'.
1 Preserve natural shoreline during development.
- Determine location of off water residential development (cluster).
- Protect fixed income residents from prohibitive cost of permits and higher regulations.
- Increase village boundaries.

Town Planning Survey

As the second phase of the public participation process, the Town of Presque Isle Land Use and Lakes Classification Committee worked with Vilas County UW-Extension Agent Bryan Pierce to develop a Town of Presque Isle planning survey. The survey solicited input on a variety of town policies related to planning for the future of the community.

The information gathered from the Land Use and Planning Issues Identification Workshop was used to formulate specific questions for this Land Use Planning Survey. Vilas County UWEX worked with the Committee members to draft the survey questions. The survey questions and format were also reviewed by Barbara Burrell of the Wisconsin Survey Research Laboratory.

The survey was conducted "to learn what you think about future development in Presque Isle." The survey was mailed first class to the households of all property taxpayers in the town in order to give both resident and non-resident property owners an opportunity to respond. The mailing address used was the same as on the most recent property tax billings. Mailing labels were generated from the computer address file provided by the Vilas County Data Processing Department. Labels were screened for duplicates by the Committee members.

In addition to the property tax list, the Committee also announced the survey through newspaper notices. Anyone who rented property in the community could pick up a survey from the Town Clerk's office.

The mailing labels and forms were numbered as a checkoff system to avoid having to send reminder notices out to those who had already returned their surveys. The master mailing list was kept separate from the returned forms to protect the anonymity of the respondents during the compiling process.

The surveys were mailed out in August 1999. A total of 1,470 surveys were mailed first class, with postage already applied to the return mailer portion of the survey. An additional five survey forms were hand distributed. The first deadline for returning the surveys was set for September 24, 1999.

Following the initial mailing response date, a follow-up postcard reminder was sent to the mailing list recipients that had not yet returned their surveys. A final full mailing to non-respondents was then conducted a few weeks later which included a full survey form, again with return postage.

Of the 1,475 surveys distributed, a total of 845 households returned the surveys. The overall response rate was therefore 57.3%.

The planning survey is one method of generating public input for the planning process, and is often used with other techniques such as public workshops, informational meetings, hearings and other direct mailings. For comparison, of about 550 registered voters, 201 Presque Isle residents voted in the spring 2000 Presidential primary elections, 228 voted in the spring 1999 Town Board election, and 321 voted in the fall 1998 elections for state representatives.

The survey responses were hand tabulated and compiled by the Committee members over the winter months with many hours of volunteer time. Vilas County UWEX Resource Agent Bryan Pierce provided an orientation to the tabulation process and compilation forms. Spot checks on a sample of survey responses were conducted by UWEX to check for accuracy of the compilations.

Narrative responses were recorded in full by Janet Christianson from the Vilas County UW-Extension/Advertising Office.

The Community Planning Survey was a key element in drafting the Town of Presque Isle Year 2020 Comprehensive Land Use Plan. No other public involvement tool can solicit and leverage public opinion as a direct-mail survey. The culmination of public response and support from the Issue Identification Workshop and Community Planning Survey built the foundation and framework upon which the plan was constructed.

Meeting No. 3 (June 28, 2000) Committee Meeting

The meeting was held at 7:00 p.m. at the Presque Isle Municipal Building. Foth & Van Dyke presented the draft goals and objectives with the Presque Isle Lakes Classification and Land Use Planning Committee. The Committee reviewed and discussed the information length as to how the Community Planning Survey, Issues Identification Workshop results, and existing ordinances were to be addressed in plan development. The Planning Committee discussed the format and timing, and notification process for the planned public informational meeting, which was set for Saturday, August 19, 2000 at 10:00 AM at the Municipal Building. The project schedule was also revised and the vision statement was deferred until meting 4, which was set for July 18, 2000.

Meeting No. 4 (July 18, 2000) Committee Meeting

The meeting was held at 7:00 p.m. at the Town of Presque Isle Town Hall. The Committee reviewed and finalized the plan goals and objectives and revised project schedule. The Committee also reviewed, discussed, and finalized the vision statement. The Committee then reviewed the land use, zoning, resource protection, water feature data, and lakes class maps. Information related to population, housing, permit data, and was discussed. The format, schedule, and notification process was decided for the planned public informational meeting, which was set for Saturday, August 19, 2000 from 10:00 a.m. to noon at the Town Hall. The Committee also decided to try and have the preferred land use public informational meeting in June, 2001, which decelerated the schedule. The Committee also set the sixth meeting for September 13, 2000, 7:00 p.m.

Meeting No. 5 (August 19, 2000) Public Informational Meeting

A public informational meeting and open house was held at the Presque Isle Community Center from 10:00 a.m. to noon. The meeting was attended by 110 town residents and landowners and the Presque Isle Land Use & Lakes Classification Committee. At 10:00, Foth & Van Dyke presented an overview of the plan goals, objectives, and vision statement; inventory data highlights and trends related to housing, population, economics, and growth; overview of the community planning survey and issues identification process; and GIS mapping, including land use, zoning, land and resource protection, water feature data, Vilas County lakes classification data, zoning, and land use. Meeting participants were handed a copy of the goals, objectives, and vision statement, and had access to review the mapping and inventory information as displayed throughout the Town Hall. In general, the public comments were complimentary to the work effort. There were several questions relative to zoning and land use, lakeshore development, and how the plan will address use, location, and density of future development.

Meeting No. 6 (September 20, 2000) Committee Meeting

The Committee met at 7:00 p.m. at the Presque Isle Community Center to begin the process of developing the Year 2020 Preferred Land Use Map. The Committee discussed in general the process that would be used to draft the preferred land use map, including: 1) review existing maps and acetate overlays to assess the existing conditions that affect property in the town, 2) discuss the existing development pattern to review where uses occur and what uses are allowed, 3) review completed plans to learn from others, 4) discuss preliminary preferred land use classifications and how they will be used to build the map, 5) review the Community Planning Survey and other forms of public opinion to facilitate the general public concern, and 6) analyze the town to determine the appropriate future use, location, and density of property. The Committee also discussed general policies, related to the goals and objectives, that would help define map boundaries. Foth & Van Dyke presented examples of land use classifications, and the Committee discussed at length the relationship between the existing land use map and preferred land use classifications. The Committee decided the existing state public lands would be classified as preferred forestry, existing R-1 (single-family residential zoning) areas would be classified as preferred residential, the non-R-1 areas within the lakeshore areas should be evaluated and classified differently based on a combination of the existing development pattern and lakes classification. The next meeting was scheduled for October 11, 2000.

Meeting No. 7 (October 11, 2000) Committee Meeting

The Committee met at 6:30 p.m. at the Presque Isle Community Center to continue work on the preliminary draft of the preferred land use map. The Committee discussed potential preferred land use classifications, with each classification based on consistency of uses between the existing and preferred uses, the location in which uses would be preferred, and the associated density of the development that would be recommended in the classification. The Committee decided to classify the unincorporated Village of Presque Isle as a dedicated commercial area, with CTH W west designated as commercial within 500' of the road in accordance with the survey and existing development pattern. The Committee also felt the town should dedicate areas for exclusive forestry (Forestry Management) uses that are 40 acres in size, non-residential, are in industrial forest, that do not have public road access or access and service would be difficult, and include areas that are dedicated forestry areas. A wooded residential area was also discussed that would be a 10 acre minimum lot size, allow both residential and limited commercial uses allowed through conditional use permits), and would be located in area that are currently zoned forestry and lands that re enrolled in WDNR forest management programs. Lakeshore areas besides the four areas planned in meeting 6 should be planned for residential uses and should designate such areas with a border of the existing road or a 500' buffer, whichever is less. The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 PM and the next meeting was set for Thursday, November 09, 2000.

Meeting No. 8 (November 9, 2000) Committee Meeting

The Committee met at 7:00 p.m. at the Presque Isle Community Center to continue work on the preliminary draft of the preferred land use map. The Committee discussed potential preferred land use classifications, with each classification based on consistency of uses between the existing and preferred uses, the location in which uses would be preferred, and the associated density of the development that would be recommended in the classification. The Committee reviewed a draft preferred land use map that represented decisions made in meetings 6 and 7. The unincorporated Village of Presque Isle, now called the Town Center, should be the focal point for future commercial uses. However, without a sanitary disposal system available in the area, additional expansions will be determined by the sites ability to handle septic waste, not by the areas intention to support commercial uses. Therefore, CTH W, west of the Town Center, was designate commercial within 500' to CTH P, and CTH B north to Stateline Road was also designated as preferred commercial. Much discussion took place concerning uses and density along the existing town road network (wooded residential with smaller lot sizes or rural residential with larger lot sizes). The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 PM and the next meeting was set for Tuesday, January 16, 2001.

Meeting No. 9 (January 16, 2001)

The Committee met at 7:00 p.m. at the town hall to continue work on the preferred land use map and classifications. The Committee also worked on the permitted and conditional use table that was associated with the preferred land use classifications.

Meeting No. 10 (February 6, 2001)

The Committee met at 7:00 p.m. at the town hall to continue work on the preferred land use map and classifications, permitted and conditional use table, public informational meeting details, and to discuss proposed implementation strategy. The Committee discussed the existing zoning relationship between Vilas County and the town, as each regulates land use in the town. Several zoning options were discussed, as well as the use of a town administered land division code that could work in conjunction with the land use plan. The Committee wanted to research the impacts and options of the proposed preferred land use map while it was being constructed to understand potential impact on town and county administration, and to assess viability of the ideas being discussed.

Meeting No. 11 (February 27, 2001)

The Committee met at 7:00 p.m. at the town hall to continue work on the preferred land use map and classifications, permitted and conditional use table, public informational meeting details, and to discuss proposed implementation strategy. The Committee preliminarily set the revised the public meeting schedule to June 09, 2001 at 10:00 AM. The town will coordinate a mailing to all property owners in early May, 2001 to notify landowners of the land use planning process, the proposed preferred land use, and to solicit as much public participation as possible at the June public informational meeting. The Committee discussed the public informational meeting process in detail and decided on information to include in a public mailing.

The Committee met several times to review the coordinate the town wide mailing/packet of information that was sent to all property owners.

Meeting No. 12 (June 9, 2001) Public Informational Meeting

The Town of Presque Isle hosted a community public informational meeting at the Presque Isle Town Hall from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. 66 people attended one of the larger public meetings in the history of the town. A brief overview of the planning process and progress to date was summarized, and the Year 2020 Preferred Land Use Map was presented in detail. Each Presque Isle property tax payer was sent a packet of information prior to the meeting which included a poster plan, survey, Permitted and Conditional Use matrix and an introductory explanation letter. Meeting participants also had available the Year 2020 Preferred Land Use Map and a survey asking for their input. The plan was presented for an hour, followed by an open question and answer session. All maps were also on display. There were many comments for and against the plan as presented. Also, there were some property owners who did not receive the mailing as they were in transition to their seasonal residence in Presque Isle. The Committee was directed to review the Lakeshore Residential uses, review areas that have been designated as Lakeshore Mixed Use, assess the proposed density in the Wooded residential area, and assess the location of proposed commercial uses. The Committee was to evaluate al the survey response from the mailer, review the public comment and feedback from the meeting, and determine if another public informational meeting or mailer would be necessary.

Additional Committee Meetings

The Committee met several times after the June 9, 2001 public informational meeting to review thee public responses, assess revisions to the preferred land use map and classifications, and determine how to proceed. The Committee and town decided to send another mailer to all property owners, which was coordinated and face lifted by the Committee. The mailer was sent out in early January, 2002, with a public hearing date set for Saturday, June 29, 2002. The Committee felt this would allow sufficient time for all property owners who wanted to be involved the opportunity to do so.

Direct Public Mailings

As a key public participation tool for the land use planning process, the Town of Presque Isle coordinated three direct mailings to all Presque Isle property owners. The first was a post card notice mailed direct to all property owners notifying them about the August 19, 2000 public informational meeting ( see previous discussion). The next two mailings were similar in content and included one copy of an explanation letter, the draft preferred land use map, the preferred land use classifications, a suggested permitted and conditional use worksheet that defined the preferred land uses, and a property owner survey. The mailing for the June 9, 2001 public informational meeting was mailed in early May, 2001, and the June 29, 2002 public hearing packet was mailed in December, 2001. The Land Use and Lakes Classification Committee tabulated all the responses and logged the written comments from the survey responses for both the June 2001 and June 2002 meetings. (The property owners responses are included in Appendix 2-2 and 2-3.) The Committee felt very strongly that the public meeting schedule should be coordinated for the summer season as most property owners are seasonal in Presque Isle and a summer public meeting schedule would be most conducive to maximum public participation.

Meeting No. 13 (June 29, 2002) Public Hearing

The Presque Isle Land Use and Lakes Classification Committee and the Town Board held a public hearing at 10:00 a.m. at the Town Hall. The official attendance as counted on the sign-in sheets was 160 people; a few people said they counted 197 (the largest meeting in the entire county planning process). The formal hearing was from 10:00 to noon, followed by open discussion for one hour thereafter. The public hearing notes can be viewed in Appendix 2-4 and any public correspondence is on file at the Presque Isle Community Building with the office of the Town Clerk. There were many issues brought forward during the public hearing including proposed lot sizes in the Forestry & Recreation classification, uses along the lakeshore in areas designated Lakeshore Residential-B, commercial uses and their respective location, and general use issues with individual property owners. The general and overall response was favorable; however the Committee was directed by the public comment to address the concerns as identified.

The Committee met several times subsequent to the public hearing and modified the plan in several areas, including eliminating the Rural Residential classification and re-designating the areas within 2,000 feet of public roads to Wooded Residential (which took the place of the Rural Residential classification), expanding the Lakeshore Residential area to 600' within the shoreline of Crab Lake as the R-5 zone in the town zoning ordinance already has those provisions for lot size and area within 600', the Town-Center Commercial area was expanded to include the intersection of CTH M and CTH B, commercial designations were added in section 30 as pre-existing development was identified, and the Forestry & Recreation lot size was changed from 40 acres to 10 acres.

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