Natural Resources

Air

Support of policies and programs which protect the health of the people and preserve the natural resources of the state, including:

  • A survey of air pollution problems;
  • Development and implementation of a state plan for air pollution control;
  • Establishment of minimum standards for air quality.

Land

Support of policies and programs which encourage acquisition of the following for conservation and recreation:

  • Undeveloped areas with the primary purpose of leaving them in their natural state;
  • Selected new areas of development for intensive use as well as development of some of the presently owned natural areas, particularly near urban centers;
  • Additional scenic highway easements and lake and stream shore accesses.

Support of a continued state program of research and action on soil and water pollution.

Support of:

  • The exercise of planning and regulatory functions by the state for land areas and activities of statewide concern and for land areas and activities that cannot be planned for and regulated on a strictly local level. Planning and regulatory involvement by the state, either directly or indirectly, is needed in the following general areas and activities:
    • Fragile and historic lands subject to irreversible damage and of state or regional significance;
    • Renewable resources lands subject to productivity losses of statewide significance;
    • Natural hazard lands where dangers to public health and to life and property may result if planning and regulation are not exercised;
    • State and regional public facilities and institutions;
    • Private development that has regional or statewide physical, social or economic impact;
    • Activities for which there is a demonstrated state or regional need not met by the private sector;
    • Restoration of native plant and animal species in areas in which they formerly thrived;
    • Restoration and preservation of areas that were once wetlands.
  • Indirect involvement by the state through development of state standards and use of state review combined with strengthened regulatory and enforcement authority at lower governmental levels, when this approach can be shown to protect sufficiently the interests of Wisconsin citizens.
  • Direct planning and regulatory involvement by the state to protect fragile, historic, and natural hazard lands of state or regional significance.

Support of a state organizational framework for land protection that:

  • Integrates land use planning into the state's comprehensive planning process and coordinates it with plans and policies of local and regional agencies;
  • Requires impact statements for public and private development of regional and statewide significance;
  • Provides for appeal boards at appropriate levels to arbitrate disputed land use decisions between governmental bodies and between citizens and government;
  • Requires substate regional bodies with authority to plan, advise, review, and comment on land use matters of regional concern;
  • Requires local government to exercise at least a minimum of land use planning and regulation, and encourages maximum local decision making;
  • Requires the adoption by the legislature of a statement of goal and objectives for land use planning;
  • Provides for the coordination of state agencies whose decisions affect land use.
  • Requires all local units of governments, including counties, municipalities and townships, to adopt a comprehensive land use plan, which incorporates elements of a comprehensive plan recommend by the state, and empowers counties to draw up land use plans for municipalities and townships that fail to do so.  The planning process should also:
    • Require local units of government to adopt zoning ordinances and other land use regulations in conformity with their land use plans;
    • Require coordination among local and regional units of government and agencies in drawing up land use plans and land use ordinances and regulations;
    • Require public participation in land use planning;
    • Require public hearings before adoption of zoning ordinances and land use regulations.
  • Provides state assistance to local governments to carry out local land use management function, including: a) state financial aid for research and planning, b) increased state technical and data-gathering assistance to include a comprehensive statewide Land Information System that is easily accessible to all citizens and, c) statutory authorization for local governments to exercise innovative land use and regulatory techniques.

Support efforts to preserve agricultural and conservancy lands of regional and statewide significance by means of land use plans developed at the county level or higher and implemented through regulatory methods—such as zoning, urban service districts, development timing and subdivision regulations—and through financial incentives such as use value taxation. When agricultural and conservancy zoning or districting is coupled with financial incentives to help carry out preservation goals, entry of lands should be mandatory with penalties for premature withdrawal.

Support preservation and redevelopment of existing urban lands through zoning and other regulatory incentives and tax breaks.  Encourage brownfield restoration as a priority in urban areas.  Encourage neighborhood designs that support a range of transportation and lifestyle choices including affordable housing and a range of densities.

Note: Further positions affecting land are under Pesticide.

Copyright League of Women Voters of Wisconsin