Walworth County, WI Comprehensive Land Use and Farmland Preservation Ordinance
Status: Endorsed by Agriculture and Extension Education Committee and to be voted on by County Commission on 10/9/07. Results of vote have yet to be posted on county's website.
WHEREAS, 2178 acres of agricultural land has been converted to nonagricultural use in Walworth County from 2002 to 2005; and,
WHEREAS, in Walworth County agriculture accounts for $433 million in economic activity, provides for 4,279 jobs, contributes $147.2 million to the county’s total income and pays about $14.1 million in taxes not including all property taxes paid to local schools; and,
WHEREAS, the Walworth County Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance of 1974 created prime agricultural districts with a minimum 35-acre parcel size for the purpose of preserving farmland and the County continued this commitment by becoming the first county in the state to have its Agriculture Preservation Plan certified by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection in 1978; and,
WHEREAS, the preservation of prime agricultural lands as recommended by the Land Use Plan for Walworth County Wisconsin: 2020, approved in 2001, provides the following benefits to Walworth County:
• Protects the environment by providing storm-water retention, flood control, ground water recharge, and a buffer for wildlife habitat
• Preserves areas for agriculture that can help avoid conflicts which may arise between farm operations and abutting residential areas
• Helps avoid adverse impacts of urban development on existing farm operations
• Helps maintain an important sector of the county’s economy
• Helps control public service costs in rural areas
• Helps avoid the need to extend urban services to scattered, isolated urban enclaves
• Helps to preserve productive soils—an irreplaceable resource
• Helps maintain the scenic beauty, rural character, and cultural heritage of the County and,
WHEREAS, the plan allows for controlled development while preserving working farmland and natural areas in Walworth County, preserves the rural character, agricultural base, and natural resources of the countryside and contributes to the high quality of life and prosperity of the communities. This plan reaffirms the longstanding commitment to the preservation of prime farmland in the County; and,
WHEREAS, the plan identifies and plans for growth in communities within the County that have the infrastructure and physical characteristics to sustain development while protecting and preserving the natural resources and rural character of A-1 lands.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Walworth County Board of Supervisors recognizes and supports the premise that farmland preservation must be strengthened by comprehensive land use planning that includes a mechanism of enforcement within local land use regulatory arenas, including the ability of the local government to implement sound land use and development policies through zoning and land division regulations, capital improvement planning, infrastructure and facilities siting, environmental regulations, and other decisions.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED Walworth County will adhere to the provisions of the 2020 Land Use Plan as approved, to retain land classes I, II, and III on the USDA-NRCS land capability maps as prime farmlands as identified in 1978 by the Walworth County Agriculture Preservation Plan.