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Our Mission

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

Our Vision

A region where communities create exceptional quality of life for all by working together to solve regional challenges.

Services and Functions

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

CARPC is legally responsible for two main regional planning endeavors for the greater Madison region: land use planning and areawide water quality management planning. State statutes charge CARPC with the duty of preparing and adopting a master plan for the physical development of the region. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources contracts with the Commission to maintain a continuing areawide water quality management planning process to manage, protect, and enhance the region’s water resources.


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.”