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North Hudson awarded grant for new comprehensive plan

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Members of the North Hudson Village Board spent most of their meeting last week discussing a new comprehensive plan for the village.

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Clerk Administrator Mitch Berg said the village had been awarded a state grant, along with the towns of Hudson and St. Joseph, to help defray the cost of developing the document. The current plan was adopted in 1987.

Katie Larson of Cedar Corp., the village engineering firm, estimated that a new plan would cost between $30,000-$50,000. To update the existing plan is estimated to cost $15,000. Larson said that if the village accepts the state grant, they must comply with state requirements for a comprehensive plan that includes nine specific elements and quarterly progress reports on the development of the plan. Larson said that an updated plan would likely not meet state requirements and that the village may be better off "starting over."

Berg told the trustees the village had received a grant of $10,000 to write the plan and an additional $5,000 because they agreed to work in cooperation with the towns of Hudson and St. Joseph. Each community will develop its own plan but will work with their neighbors to promote shared services and greater cooperation when it comes to land use.

Berg said that if the village agrees to a new plan that falls within state guidelines, the village would receive the money over the next four years and would have 36 months to complete the plan. The village would be responsible for the balance of the cost over that time. In addition to the completion of the nine-element plan, the village would also need to do some new mapping, conduct public hearings about the new plan and get citizen input via a survey or other means of communications. Berg said some of the costs of the plan could be reduced by using UW-River Falls staff and students to conduct the citizen survey, hire an intern to assist village staff in completing portions of the plan and handle communications about it.

Berg said he had not yet received the contract from the state that spells out the grant agreement. Trustee Marc Zappa questioned whether the village, considering the limited amount of land available for development and the boundaries of the village, needed a comprehensive plan or if the old plan could just be updated at a lower cost.

The village attorney pointed out that if North Hudson does not have a comprehensive plan in place by 2010, they would forfeit any right to make zoning changes or control development within the village. Trustee George Klein was concerned that without a comprehensive plan in place the state might limit North Hudson's access to grants and other state money.

After an hour and a half of discussion, the board agreed to refer the matter for further discussion and review of the state contract to the plan commission, which meets next week. The board will take up the issue again at its March 30 meeting.

In other business the board allocated up to $1,000 to pay to update the corporate boundaries of the village that would include the property annexed last year at the north end. The new maps will be drawn by Cedar Corp.

In other business, the board authorized the payment of $199,829.71 in claims. It also accepted a bid from RiverBank to finance the purchase of a new public works pickup truck at an interest rate of 2.75 percent. Members also authorized the purchase of an LCD monitor for use by the municipal clerk of court at a cost not to exceed $275.

Trustee Joe Cothern, who heads the ad-hoc building committee, said the committee believes it will have a plan in place in time to put the issue of a new public works building to a public referendum sometime this summer. If voters approve the expenditure, Cothern said construction could begin this fall, and the building could be used next winter.

For more information about the board meeting, or issues raised in this story, contact Berg at (715) 386-5141 or go online at www.northhudsonvillage.org.

Meg Heaton can be reached at mheaton@rivertowns.net.

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Meg Heaton
Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
(715) 808-8604
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