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End-of-Year Message from Our Director

End-of-Year Message from Our Director

What a year it has been! Who could have imagined in January that we would face public health, economic, racial justice, and political crises this year, along with the climate crisis that keeps rolling on?

Like many organizations, CARPC worked to adapt to the shifting realities while carrying out our work and keeping our eye on the long-term horizons that planning focuses on. This involved watershed and regional land use planning while reviewing local Urban Service Area boundary amendments and providing local planning assistance. Here are highlights of these 2020 efforts:

Ongoing watershed planning. In the Starkweather Creek watershed, CARPC is leading a collaborative effort with DNR, the Friends of Starkweather Creek, the City of Madison, the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, and local businesses and community members to develop a chloride management plan for the creek. Knowledge of the quantity and sources of chloride will inform strategies to reduce chloride pollution that has been increasing in recent years. In the Black Earth Creek watershed, CARPC is working with state and local partners on a green infrastructure plan that will reduce the threat of flooding, which has been a recurring problem in these communities, as well as improve the water quality of this highly regarded trout stream.

Amending Urban Service Area boundaries. CARPC processed seven amendment applications, more than double than recent years. A recurring issue was stormwater management, which has been exacerbated by increased precipitation due to climate change. One highlight was a collaborative effort to secure funding for a monitoring station on Swan Creek to track water quantity and quality as recommended by the UW-Madison study of the Waubesa Wetlands. CARPC played a key role in promoting this collaboration.

Preparing a Regional Development Framework. CARPC adopted draft goals and objectives based on local government input and the priorities established from the A Greater Madison Vision initiative. We prepared interim population, household, and employment projections, established and facilitated meetings of a Technical Advisory Committee, conducted outreach and education, and started to prepare a regional development map.

Supporting local planning efforts. CARPC assisted three Dane County communities with comprehensive plan updates this year. The Village of Mazomanie’s updated plan, prepared in partnership with CCL Consulting, was adopted in December. Plan updates for the Villages of Rockdale and Blue Mounds are still underway, with adoption anticipated in early 2021.

Continuing to strengthen our collaboration with the recently renamed Greater Madison MPO. While the pandemic kept us physically apart from our shared office, we worked jointly with the MPO on regional plan updates, branding, and outreach and education.

In addition to all of these efforts, it was also a year of transition. At the Commission, we thanked commissioners Lauren Cnare and Bruce Stravinski, and welcomed Dane County Cities and Villages appointee Jim Schuler (Village of Maple Bluff) and Mayor of Madison appointee Nick Zavos. Staff members Tony Vandermuss and Sarah Fuller moved on to other positions and were replaced by Melissa Breyer and Nick Bower. We wished Linda Firestone a happy and well-earned retirement and welcomed Haley Smith.