Community Update – Zoning Code Guides Growth and Development; Aquatics Update; Community Tree Sale
Zoning Code Guides Growth and Development
With a view to adopting best practices to make our community an attractive and welcoming partner for residents, newcomers and businesses, the City of Wisconsin Rapids over the past few months has begun the process of rewriting its zoning code to make it more modern and user friendly. To expedite building and landscaping decisions, the new zoning code will be readable and understandable, with no overlapping or contradictory provisions. Photos, graphics and drawings will be used as much as possible to increase user comprehension so residents and business people can be fully cued into provisions and standards.
Part of the rewrite process has involved gathering input from you, our citizens. During a two-hour workshop at City Hall on November 3, 2015, our consultant, Civi Tek Consulting, facilitated a dialogue among members of the Planning Commission, the Zoning Code Rewrite Task Force and invited residents to identify general and specific major policy issues the new zoning code should address. The ultimate goal was to develop consensus on what construction, landscaping and parking standards should be addressed in the rewrite, and to gain sufficient direction to begin drafting the updated zoning ordinance.
On February 16, 2016 Civi Tek Consulting representatives shared with the Planning Commission the results from the November 3, 2015 dialogue session. They actively engaged Commission members to determine their views on the degree of flexibility a new code should have; their confidence in how well the current code answers potential development questions; and how frequently they reference the current code.
The representatives also provided a blueprint for how they would prioritize issues in putting together a draft proposal, expected within 14 to 16 months. Considerations would include: identification of priority zoning districts (e.g., Downtown Riverfront, 8th Street, etc.); procedures and standards related to granting permits; and identifying how the Planning Commission and the Common Council share administrative and appeals authority.
This draft ordinance will be reviewed and refined by the Commission and City officials. Residents also will have opportunities to weigh in with comments, at public meetings and online before we go forward with the final updated ordinance.
Along the path to a zoning ordinance that meets the needs of a growing and progressive community, we continue to post updates at the City website. We also encourage you to call Adam Tegen, Director of Planning & Economic Development, at 715-421-8225, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aquatics Survey Update
A big “Thank You” goes out to residents who have responded to the “call” for feedback on our community’s recreational aquatics needs. To gauge your thoughts and desires on the best course of action, the City, through a partner researcher, conducted a telephone survey about Mead Pool and other potential aquatic facilities in Wisconsin Rapids.
The survey was designed to help provide insight into the community’s aquatics needs in terms of facilities and programs; the amount of money people would be willing to pay for a new aquatics center; and views on collaborating with partners.
Options under consideration include:
- Build a outdoor new pool with features at a cost of $3.5 to $5 million, while considering installation splash pads in neighborhood parks; or
- Partner with the South Wood County YMCA to construct a regional public aquatics center; or
- A combination of both.
To further ensure public input, we will also conduct an email survey, focus groups and a community forum to report findings. I encourage you to continue making your voice heard-the City Council and I are relying on public feedback to make our decisions on the future of aquatics in our city.
Community Tree Sale
The Mayor’s Council on Beautification is offering another opportunity for citizens to spruce up and add color to their properties, as well as their neighborhoods. Starting right now, residents can select from three varieties of six-foot, bare-root flowering crab apple trees for just $55 apiece, with pick-up in early May. You can also order a tree in remembrance of a special loved one – memorial plaques are available for an additional $35. For more information and to order, please contact Sue Winch at 715-213-1747, or email email@example.com.
Thanks for reading.
Mayor Zach Vruwink