Salem officials consider draft comprehensive plan

These maps, displayed at at Wednesday's meeting, laid out Salem's present and future land uses.

Salem town officials will be pondering what types of economic development they might want to plan to attract as part of the state-mandated planning process.

A draft of the plan was considered by the Town Board and Planning and Zoning Commission at a special meeting Wednesday. The nearly four year process is nearing the end, with approval of a plan anticipated for some time within the next two months.

Representatives of the Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, who have been assisting the county with the planning process, reviewed the proposed plan for Salem at the meeting.

One area that drew some discussion was what type sof business the town might want to include as being desirable for attracting to Salem.

The town’s planner Patrick Meehan explained an earlier draft of the plan included some land uses for businesses he figured the town was not interested in, such as racing facilities and amusement parks.

“I think what they’re (the county) trying to do is create magnets,” Meehan said, where related businesses would cluster.

Town Chairman Linda Valentine urged the board memebrs and commissioners to give some thought to the what kind of business would be good for Salem.

“I just envision us being more of a service town than a recreation town,” Valentine said. As examples, she cited the need for a nursing home and medical facilites.

Board members and commissioner will submit their ideas on business types to town administrator Patrick Casey, who will forward them for inclusion in the plan.

Supervisors and commissioners also expressed support for mechanisms to preserve hamlets — such as Wilmot, Trevor and downtown Salem — largely as they are. However, the process of preserving those areas would likely go on after the comprehensive plan is approved.

“They all want their own identity,” said Shirley Boening, chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission.

Said Valentine: “Of all the towns around here, we have more old hamlets that I think people want to keep. They want to look the way they look today.”

The next step for the plan will be to have changes approved by both boards Wednesday incorporated into a draft version that will be available to the public for review. A public hearing on the plan will then be held on Feb. 22.


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