Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk Sets Out Bold Plan to Control Sprawl in Dane County

February 23, 2004
Sharyn Wisniewski (608) 267-8823
County Executive

NOTE: The graphic images shown at the presentation today are available electronically in jpeg or PDF format by contacting Nicole Anderson, Vandewalle & Associates, at 255-3988. Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today set out a bold plan, called “Attain Dane!,” for controlling sprawl through a regional, comprehensive approach to housing, transportation and open space issues. In a conference room at the Exhibition Hall of the Alliant Energy Center, Falk asked the members of a special joint meeting of the county’s Strategic Growth Management Committee and the Comprehensive Planning Steering Committee for their review and support of the approach she laid out. “I’ve come to believe that a bold initiative is needed, or we will simply plan ourselves to sprawl to death,” said Falk. Dane County added more people than any other county in the state during the past 10 years. The county is adding 60,000 people a decade—that’s the equivalent of adding a Mount Horeb every year. “Our natural areas and farmland are seldom equaled anywhere. Much of the built environment is a treasure, too,” said Falk. “Today the qualities that define us are at risk. If we continue on our present path we will lose forever much of what makes Dane County so special.” Economic development is also tied to her proposals, Falk said. “Protecting the county’s high quality of life is vital in attracting new business and keeping our best and brightest here.” Major points of Attain Dane! include: · Citizens and local units of government would create a “build out plan,” or map, to identify the best long-term development pattern, including integration of land use, infrastructure, environmental protection and community character. · The areas designated for preservation (large tracts of farmland and natural areas) would be protected through a transfer of development rights (TDR) or purchase of development rights (PDR) program. · A system of tax base sharing could be implemented, to share the benefits of development and to reduce competition for development among municipalities that often results in poor planning. · The plan could operate through an intergovernmental agreement of the units of government in the county. Falk said “Attain Dane!” builds on her two earlier major reports addressing land use and growth issues—“Design Dane!” and “Farms and Neighborhoods: Making Both Strong.” These reports spawned a number of land use initiatives, including the 1999 Conservation Fund referendum supported by more than 75 percent of Dane County voters. “I see three choices. We can try to stop Dane County from growing, but that has not worked anyplace. We can watch the current trends continue and slowly but surely lose the quality of life we treasure. Or, we can take an approach similar to the one we have outlined today, with efficient, attractive growth in the right places, while preserving the farmland and natural areas we treasure,” said Falk. Falk said, “We can save what we love about Dane County for ourselves and our children’s children. # # #