What is the value of town plans in Jefferson County?

The Town of Concord has just invested $26,000 in updating the town’s comprehensive plan, and it may not be worth much!

The look and feel of Concord may change! There is lots of speculation going on. Particularly around the I-94 and Hwy F area.

Concord has remained a nice rural town for years because people have expressed their desire for it to stay rural through the town’s comprehensive plan. Jefferson County is now saying to Concord residents that they—instead of you—will decide what Concord’s land use policy will be.

An abrupt change in county policy--for unclear reasons

For years the county has followed Concord’s plan when it is more restrictive than the county’s plan. This is the way I think it is supposed to work. Last March the county staff announced that the county was taking back a decision made by the Zoning Committee that followed the Concord plan; they held a revote and this time advised the county Zoning Committee members not to follow the town plan. The Zoning Committee then changed their vote, as advised by the county staff.

At the public zoning committee hearing for that zoning decision, more than 40 people had expressed interest in continuing to follow the Concord Town Plan. Only one person spoke against following the town plan, and he was the realtor handling the transaction.

This seems to have some legal problems.

By law the county has to follow its own plan, which states that it has to follow the town plan. It seems the county is scrambling to figure that out.

As far as I know, the county hasn’t made a public announcement explaining why they seem to have broken the law and ignored all of the county residents’ desires at the county Zoning Committee hearing.

All the while, the county attorney was assuring the committee that all of this was not a legal problem.

Appealing the county's decision

A group of residents (not the Town of Concord) is challenging the county’s wisdom. They have a website that lays out the case pretty well. Here is the link:

https://defendtownplans.org/

As part of updating the Town of Concord Comprehensive Plan, a questionnaire will be mailed out to the residents of Concord. There was some strong feeling to not put the above information in with the questionnaire mailing. But I feel it is important information for people to know, so I’ve posted it here.

Dale Konle

Chairperson, Town of Concord