“Smart Growth” Law Could Be Weakened

10/8/11 – Wisconsin’s 12-year-old “Smart Growth” law would be weakened under a new bill proposed by G-O-P legislators. The law was signed by former Republican Governor Tommy Thompson in 1999. It ordered all of Wisconsin’s local governments to develop comprehensive land use plans by January first of last year – and it provided two-million dollars a year in state grants to help communities get that done. The new measure would do away with those grants – and it would let communities opt-out of the “Smart Growth” requirements, even if they previously adopted a land use plan. Ninety-five percent of Wisconsin communities made the deadline for adopting their comprehensive plans. Republicans have attacked the program for years, saying Madison has no business telling local communities how to plan for their futures. Steve Hiniker of the One-Thousand Friends of Wisconsin environmental group calls the bill a solution in search of a problem, since only five-percent of communities have not adopted land use plans.