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The Capital Area Regional Planning Commission is one of nine commissions in Wisconsin established to coordinate planning and development among area municipalities. The Capital Area Regional Planning Commission develops and promotes regional plans, provides objective information and professional planning services, and focuses local attention on issues of regional importance. CARPC’s planning region includes Dane County and the cities, towns, and villages with incorporated areas in Dane County.


Mission Statement

The Capital Area Regional Planning Commission strengthens the region by engaging communities through planning, collaboration and assistance.

Services and Functions

The Regional Planning Commission prepares and updates regional land use and water quality plans for the greater Madison region (within Dane County). It assists local units of government with planning services, data and analysis, and education and outreach.

The Regional Planning Commission carries out land use planning and areawide water quality management planning for the greater Madison region. State statutes charge it with the duty of preparing and adopting a master plan for the physical development of the region. The Department of Natural Resources contracts with the Commission to maintain a continuing areawide water quality management planning process to manage, protect, and enhance the water resources of the region.


The Regional Planning Commission was created on May 2, 2007, by Executive Order of Wisconsin Governor James Doyle, pursuant to Wisconsin’s regional planning statute (§ 66.0309). The Executive Order identified the need for regional planning in the greater Madison region:

“Local units of government need to work together to meet challenges that transcend municipal boundaries and effectively protect the natural resources and beauty of the capital area, as well as promote economic growth and sound land development practices.”

The Governor’s order was issued in response to adopted resolutions from local units of government in Dane County representing over 87% of the population and equalized property valuation. The resolutions identified the need to “pool scarce resources to create a public agency which can act as a resource for community development efforts of local units of government in the capital area of Wisconsin.” Local governments petitioned the Governor to create the Regional Planning Commission as “the agency capable of developing effective areawide water quality plans for Dane County. . . [which] define areas that should be protected from development . . . and can be developed with measures to protect, restore or minimize degradation of water quality.”