Governor Doyle recently signed into law important clarifications and a limited delay to the state’s comprehensive planning law, Wis. Stat. § 66.1001, that give towns reasonable opportunities for compliance.
Formerly dubbed SB 601, 2009 Wisconsin Act 372 adds definitions and language that was overlooked in the original draft of the comprehensive planning law.
Act 372 defines “comprehensive plan” as “a guide to the physical, social and economic development of a local governmental unit.”
It furthermore defines “consistent with” as “furthers or does not contradict the objectives, goals, and policies contained in the comprehensive plan.
Enactment of a comprehensive plan by ordinance does not make the comprehensive plan by itself a regulation.
The new law also provides for a limited delay in the consistency requirement that otherwise came into effect last January 1, 2010 for either of these two scenarios:
(1) the local government applied for but has not received a grant and adopts a resolution stating that the local government will adopt a comprehensive plan by January 1, 2012; this scenario extends the consistency requirement until January 1, 2012; or ?
(2) the local government has received a grant and has been granted an extension of time; this scenario extends the consistency requirement for the duration of the extension.
A town may adopt a comprehensive plan whether or not it exercises village powers. Previously village powers would have been required.