What is the value of town plans in Jefferson County?

The Town of Concord has just invested $27,000 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 in turn 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:


Here is information on how you can help. Based on the returned questionnaires from the town plan update, as well as the three all-town meetings we held, town residents are strongly in favor of keeping Concord "rural" as it is now. 

As many of you know, I ran for town chair because of my interest in keeping Concord the nice rural community that it is. I was very involved in creating our first town plan, which seems to have been an effective tool in keeping our town rural for the last 10 years. The plan must be updated every 10 years so I was interested in seeing the update process through. Of foremost interest to me was how people have felt about Concord while living here for the last 10 years (since the last plan was completed in 2009).

As part of the plan update process we have had three all-town meetings at the Community Center and sent a survey to all Concord residences with mailboxes. The survey results so far have been running about 85% in favor of maintaining Concord’s rural character.

What I have written here makes it clear that I’m part of the 85%. But if the numbers had been reversed, with 85% of the town wanting development, I would have accepted that. I strongly feel it should be the people’s choice.

Recently the county has decided to back developers and allow development over the wishes of most people in Concord. Hopefully we will be able to work together as a town to straighten that out.

Dale Konle

Chairperson, Town of Concord