MADISON (WORT) — A provision in the proposed state budget mandates that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources approve or reject applications that change Dane County’s water quality plan to 90 days.
By limiting the application process to 90 days, Kamran Mesbah, the Director of Environmental Resources Planning at the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission states that the provision leaves his organization roughly a month to analyze a proposal.
CARPC, which is responsible for advising the DNR on an area-wide water quality and development plans will have to share the 90 day limitation with the DNR.
According to Mesbah, the DNR uses roughly 30 days to analyze a proposal. Then, a public hearing must be held, which requires a 30-day public notice.
“It only really leaves us about 30 days for our analysis of the impacts on a very complex proposal, such as the Fitchburg Proposal, which took almost a year to analyze. After that year, the DNR still said they didn’t have enough information.”
The Fitchburg development, mentioned by Mesbah, is also called the Waubesa Wetlands Northeast neighborhood development. CARPC advised against Fitchburg Land LLC to develop on 985 acres of the wetland. The DNR ultimately approved 375 acres for the proposed development but Fitchburg Land has filed a lawsuit in order to gain access to the full 985 acres.
Phyllis Hasbrouck the chair of the Waubesa Wetlands Preservation Coalition responded to Fitchburg Land’s legal battle against the DNR’s decision.
“Imagine how different our county would be if our lakes became stinky slimy cesspools. Thoughtless development has resulted in too much nutrient-rich runoff in the past. And millions of public dollars have been spent to improve things,” said Hasbrouck.
The new budgetary provisions are not expected to affect the Northeast Neighborhood development. However, the provisions will have an impact on developments in the future.