By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

In a nod to the changing and evolving community, Whitewater officials are in the midst of freshening up a so-called comprehensive plan document that touches primarily on the city’s various land use designations.

The city has brought in outside expertise to assist with the project. Jackie Mich and Mike Slavney of Vandewalle and Associates have been hired to guide the city through the process.

Mich and Slavney in recent months have been meeting with municipal staffers, including City Manager Cameron Clapper, to review the last draft of the comprehensive plan.

Vandewalle has assisted Whitewater in the past with large-scale planning matters.

Meeting as joint bodies, the Common Council and Plan and Architectural Review Commission met Jan. 17 to comb through the plan, though no formal action has been taken.

Council members handed the decision-making process over to the members of the PARC, which will review the document in greater detail in the coming months.

The city’s last thorough review of its comprehensive plan occurred in the midst of the last formal U.S. Census in 2010, though key data from that federal-level endeavor was not included in the last draft.

In addition to the standard population counts that are an oft-cited statistic, data from the last Census — including economic information and housing — will be incorporated into the updates.

To that end, Mich said the proposed revisions “reflect changes that have occurred since the comprehensive plan was adopted … and include the latest housing and economic data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the latest land use data from the city.”

Beyond the new demographic information, the plan revisions will encapsulate other changes that have transpired within the city throughout the past seven years, including the recognition two new zoning designations have been created.

The city in recent years has designated some residential areas R-2A and R-3A, which are overlay zoning districts and, in part, are designed to address student housing accommodations near the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater campus.

Additionally, the comprehensive plan is incorporating some of the new developments that have dotted the city’s landscape in recent years.

Although many of the proposed changes into the document take a rear-view mirror look at what has transpired in the city, Mich said its overarching intent is to look ahead.

“A primary purpose of the comprehensive plan is to recommend a future pattern of development for the community,” Mich said. “To accomplish this, the comprehensive plan establishes distinct future land use categories.”

Some of those future land use categories include agricultural preservation, single-family residential for the urban areas of the city and a new designation known as community business.

Mirroring a scenario in other municipalities abutting unincorporated townships, Mich pointed out the review of the comprehensive plan not only encapsulates the city’s existing boundaries but abutting areas outside the municipality.

“Future land use categories are assigned to every parcel of land in the city and in the city’s one-and-a-half-mile extraterritorial jurisdiction,” Mich said.

 
 

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