Development rules got a little more flexible in the Town of Dunn last week after the Town Board approved changes to its comprehensive plan.
The comprehensive plan is a state-mandated document used to guide future development and land use. The changes allow for variances from a large environmental corridor in the town while tightening rules for lot line adjustments, planning and land conservation director Ben Kollenbroich explained last week.
A major environmental corridor runs from the northeast corner of the town to the southern and western areas. Its purpose is to protect environmental resources and private property from damage, as well as to preserve wildlife habitat.
Kollenbroich said the change doesn’t affect how the town wants to preserve those resources; rather, it more accurately reflects where sensitive areas are on the plan’s future land use map.
“We found that the corridor was created before we had the mapping done, so we found that didn’t always map what was on the ground,” he explained. “It actually goes far past where the woods are located, and we thought that if someone wants a variance to develop in that area where the woods aren’t located, we could consider that.”
Kollenbroich said that the town would prefer people still develop outside of the corridor, and that the town would be cautious about what it approves in that area. Development would only be allowed along the edges of the corridor, and all changes would still need to be approved by the Plan Commission.
An example of what the board would consider approving would be a new deck, or improvements for homes that already exist there.
Another change the board approved was aimed at making the process of lot line adjustments more transparent.
When applying for a lot line adjustment, the new policy would require landowners to show there’s either a “good” cultural or environmental purpose for such a change. Kollenbroich explained the current process leaves wiggle room for maximum lot sizes to be abused, and the board wanted to be “proactive” in preventing a problem.
“If you have a 2-acre lot and you want two more because you have a CSA and you want to expand, that could be a good reason. But if you want to expand just because you want a bigger yard, we might not consider that,” he said. “We wanted to let people know we’ll look closely at lot line proposals and make sure there’s a good reason.”