Land Use Planning

Land Use Planning
Kyle Noonan

Location & Mailing Address:
224 South Second Street
Medford, WI 54451

Phone: 715.748.1485
Fax: 715.748.1415

Land Use Plan 2007

Land Use Plan 2017 Revisions


HISTORY: In 2002, Taylor County Land Use Advisory Committee (LUAC) worked closely with local municipalities and Northwest Regional Planning Commission (NWRPC) to prepare a grant application for funds to complete a comprehensive plan for Taylor County and 22 of the local municipalities. When funding was awarded, it was only a partial award and therefore, the partial award was declined.

In 2005, the LUAC and County Board decided to proceed with the county plan. The county will self-fund the project as there was no chance of obtaining a state grant without a significant number of towns participating.

In February 2006, LUAC contracted with NWRPC to complete the County Plan within 18 months. On May 17, 2007, the Final Draft was completed and available for public viewing.

Public hearings were held on June 26 & 28, 2007 on the plan. Comments from hearings were incorporated by the LUAC.

Final Draft Plan was approved by the LUAC on July 12, 2007. Ordinance was presented to the County Board at their September 25, 2007 meeting and adopted.

The Department of Administration posted Taylor County’s Land Use Plan as being received on November 29, 2007.



The LUAC worked with NWRPC to complete the plan. The process took 18 months to complete. The LUAC met 14 times and 11 Open House / Public Hearings were conducted.

The LUAC consisted of the following members:

John Werner, Chair Joyce Balciar Lester Lewis
Tim Peterson Terry Schultz Dan Olson
Mike Roiger Brian Kulas Greg Knight
Joe Sweda Patti Smith Allan Mueller

The comprehensive plan is required to consist of 9 elements. They are as follows with a brief description of each.

Issues and Opportunities – background information on local government and its objective, policies, goals and programs. Information is used to guide future development of the local government.

Housing – objectives, goals and maps to provide housing supply to meet existing and future housing demand.

Transportation – guide the future development of modes of transportation, including systems for persons with disabilities.

Utilities and Community Facilities – guide future development of future sanitary sewer service, storm water management, water supply, solid waste disposal, onsite wastewater treatment, recycling, parks, cemeteries, public facilities, etc.

Agricultural, Natural and Cultural Resources – conserve and promote effective resources management; ie. forests, groundwater, threatened and endangered species, surface waters, wetlands, recreational resources, etc.

Economical Development – promote stabilization, promote retention or expansion of economic base, and promote quality employment opportunities.

Intergovernmental Cooperative – objective, policies and goals for join planning and decision making with other jurisdictions.

Land Use – guide the future development and redevelopment of public and private property.

Implementation – implement specific actions of the above listed objectives, policies, maps, etc., such as official maps, changes to ordinances, control ordinances and building, sanitary and subdivision codes.



All nine elements are listed below with Goals, Objectives, & Actions.


Promote a range of safe and affordable housing units to meet the diverse needs of existing and future County residents, while maintaining a predominately rural/agricultural atmosphere.


  1. Support the development of rural subdivisions that fit within the character of Taylor County.
  2. Promote single-family housing on land other than prime farmland and conservation lands.
  3. Promote multi-family housing where community utilities are readily available.


  1. Recommend a minimum of 2 acres in non-developed areas.
  2. Develop a pamphlet showing current areas of development and describe subdivision regulations.
  3. Look at different areas for development, i.e.: forested, agriculture fringe areas, etc.
  4. Identify which areas that already have community facilities (Westboro & Chelsea)



Promote a safe and adequate transportation system for multiple users that advances and supports the economy of the County.


  1. Encourage the development of more main corridor highways.
  2. Promote and encourage more public transportation in Taylor County.


  1. Work with Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) and the North Central Regional Planning Commission (NWRPC) to ensure that Taylor County transportation system is coordinated with surrounding regional systems and that the County’s interests are well served when major transportation facilities or programs are proposed.
  2. Plan for the extension of County highways and other major aterial streets as necessary to complete connections, provide for appropriate routes for trucks and emergency vehicles, and serve planned development areas.
  3. Working with towns and cities, plan for a network of interconnected new roads in planned development areas to control highway access, preserve rural character, and improve access to these areas.
  4. Continue to aggressively search for State & Federal funds to complete transportation projects.
  5.  Investigate, evaluate, select and support viable options for those without access to an automobile, including the elderly, disabled, and children.



Promote the development of area utilities and community facilities that serve residents of Taylor County.


  1. Promote future development towards communities with existing municipal sewer and water systems.
  2. Promote development of alternate fuels for operation of local utilities.
  3. Work with utility companies to plan for future development or expansion.
  4. Plan future utility lines on edge of road right-of-ways.
  5. Ensure all households in Taylor County have access to recycling services.


  1. Encourage municipalities with sewer and water to maintain up-to-date sewer/water maps and Taylor County Zoning Department to have available copies of sewer/water maps. This should also include other utilities, i.e. fiber optics, electric and telephone.
  2. Continue to support and participate in County and local programs for hazardous waste, tire collections, recycling and other programs.
  3. Encourage appropriate placement and locations of towers for cell phones.
  4. Encourage development of high speed internet.
  5. Acquire usage for tower locations and businesses.
  6. Search for funding to help support development of alternative energy production and its use, i.e. wind farms, ethanol, bio-diesel.
  7. Encourage annual reports to County and affected municipalities of utilities expansion and regulation changes.



Goal 1:
Protect, preserve, and efficiently utilize natural resources in Taylor County, while still providing employment and recreational opportunities.
Goal 2:
Protect and promote the preservation of productive agricultural lands in Taylor County.
Goal 3:
Identify, promote and preserve the ethnic, rural and historic character of Taylor County.


  1. Protect lakes, rivers and shorelands from pollution, degradation and over-development.
  2. Promote the wise use of Taylor County’s mineral resources.
  3. Encourage proper timer management on Federal, State and Managed Forest Lands.
  4. Take steps to protect our groundwater resources.
  5. Promote continued use of prime farmland for agricultural purposes.
  6. Encourage use of small, specialized agricultural activities.
  7. Protect farm operators from incompatible farm uses and activities that adversely affect agricultural lands.
  8. Seek educational opportunities for people to learn more about our local culture.
  9. Continue to support and encourage community functions within Taylor County.


  1. Study and prepare groundwater and surface water protection strategies and to preserve water quality.
  2. Promote development and agricultural practices which protect surface and groundwater quality, including proper erosion control, manure management, and stormwater management strategies.
  3. Conserve productive forest land and farmland as key parts of the County’s economy, rural character and lifestyle, recreational resource base, and wildlife habitat.
  4. Implement recommendations of the Taylor County 15 Year Forestry Management Plan and 5 Year Land Conservation Department plans and programs.
  5. Promote the continuation of the “family farm” by supporting the introduction and operation of agricultural support-based businesses, and by allowing opportunities for small non-farm businesses to supplement farm income.
  6. Support efforts to regulate large-scale livestock operations and to mitigate their impacts so they do not degrade community and environmental sustainability.
  7. Work with County/State/Federal and private forest owners in providing education and information to the public on management plans for local resources.
  8. Develop policies and procedures for the review of non-metallic and metallic mineral extraction operation requests.
  9. Work with Taylor County Historical Society regarding local history and cultural heritage.
  10. Work with local Chambers, County Tourism and private sector to promote ethnic events.
  11. Explore potential innovative tools for protecting environmentally sensitive areas, such as purchase or transfer of development rights, land trusts, and conservation easements in planned developments.



Promote, attract and maintain the expansion and development of the economic base in Taylor County.


  1. Encourage more, high paying skilled jobs in Taylor County.
  2. Promote and encourage manufacturing related business and industry where infrastructure is readily available.
  3. Promote the education and skilled training of the work force.


  1. Adequate and dispersed supply of land for development.
  2. Inventory available commercial and industrial areas suitable for related land use activities.
  3. Balance the need for economic development with the desire for quality of life issues including odor, noise, pollution, and property rights.
  4. Work with local educational institutions to help provide for education and training to prepare local workers for current and future job opportunities.
  5. Support and investigate Federal, State, regional and local economic development programs to provide revolving loan funds, small-buniness loans, and tax credits to local businesses.
  6. Promote retention and expansion of existing business and labor force.



Encourage and promote new and existing avenues of intergovernmental cooperation both within and outside Taylor County.


  1. Inform public of current policies and practices.
  2. Try to influence State and Federal agencies to stop unfunded mandates.
  3. Promote the opening of new avenues of communication with governmental agencies.
  4. Discourage duplication of services by municipalities in Taylor County.


  1. Encourage local governments to consider joint service agreements where consolidating, coordinating, or sharing services will result in better services or cost savings.
  2. Work with other government agencies to implement the objectives, policies, and recommendations included in other chapters of the Plan that are dependent upon intergovernmental cooperation for success.
  3. Work to resolve current and potential conflicts between County and local plans through discussions, cooperative initiatives, and amendments to this Comprehensive Plan where appropriate.
  4. Continue to work with the UW-Extension on educational forums and ongoing communication designed to inform local officials and residents of opportunities related to land use, growth management nad intergovernmental relationships.



Work cooperatively with towns, villages and city governments to promote an economically efficient, environmentally sustainable and compatible development pattern that also respects private property rights.


  1. Continue to educate public on what Comprehensive Planning is and is not.
  2. Strive to uphold the principle of not taking private property without due process of law.
  3. Review existing County and Town regulations related to land use to ensure they are consistent with adopted County and Town plans.
  4. Promote the communication between private and government agencies.


  1. Periodically review the need for County ordinances and other land use tools.
  2. Periodically review the need for and update current Shoreland Zoning oridnance, Subdivision Control ordinances, etc.
  3. Update existing county ordinances to accommodate changing conditions.
  4.  Plan for a sufficient supply of developable land for a range of different uses, in areas, types, and densities consistent with local town wishes and service requirements.
  5. Work with town and cities to resolve remaining incompatibilities between local land use plans.
  6.  Continue to have the Taylor County Zoning Committee monitor the County’s performance against the Taylor County Comprehensive Plan and work with other entities to resolve conflict.
  7. Continue to work with the UW-Extension on educational forums and ongoing communication designed to inform local officials and residents of opportunities related to land use, growth management and intergovernmental relationships.



Copies of the following County/Town land use plans are available at the Zoning Office for review.

Lincoln County (Volume I and II)
Town of Scott (Burnett County)
Town of Johnson (Marathon County)
Clark County
Town of Holton (Marathon County)
Town of Bern (Marathon County)


County agencies that may be involved in the preparation of the Land Use Plan are:

County Surveyors Office
Highway Department
Land Conservation Department
Real Property Lister
Forest Administrator
County Clerk
Zoning Committee Chairperson
County Administrator