Suit is Filed to Stop Dissolution of Dane County Regional Planning Commission
September 19, 2002
Dane County Executive Kathleen M. Falk today announced that several municipalities and organizations have filed suit in Dane County Circuit Court against Governor Scott McCallum over his executive order to dissolve the Dane County Regional Planning Commission (RPC), effective October 1, 2002.
County Executive Falk, the Cities of Middleton and Stoughton, the Town of Dunn, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, the Dane County Chapter of the League of Women Voters, the Friends of Pheasant Branch Watershed, the RPC and seven of its employees are plaintiffs in the suit.
“Last month the Governor signed into law an extension of the RPC to October 2004. Then, two weeks later, by executive order, he ended it as of next month. The Governor cannot himself legally undo what he signed into law two weeks earlier,” said Falk.
County Board Chair Kevin Kesterson said, “I fully support filing this suit. The work of the RPC has a direct impact on how we grow and develop in Dane County.”
The RPC, formed in 1968, is responsible for county-wide water quality planning, approving sewer service extensions to new development outside the urban service area, community planning assistance and demographic data collection.
The complaint, prepared and filed September 18 by Dane County Corporation Counsel, states:
-- The Governor exceeded his authority in dissolving the RPC
-- No existing agency qualifies to replace the RPC in its duties as a water quality planning agency and in approving or denying extensions of urban service areas
-- The governor’s findings regarding the RPC’s outstanding debts and expenses, and unexpended funds are unsubstantiated
-- The dissolution would cause confusion and uncertainty in planning, causing irreparable harm.
The case has been assigned to Dane County Circuit Court Judge Moria Krueger, who has scheduled a September 27 hearing on issuing a temporary injunction, which would keep the RPC operating pending the final outcome of the case.
The suit seeks a declaratory judgment that the governor’s executive order was unlawful, and a permanent injunction prohibiting dissolution of the RPC by executive order.
“Faced with a growing population, we cannot let up on the planning we are doing within Dane County,” said Falk. “Let’s work together to keep our communities livable, to save farmland, prevent sprawl and keep Dane County a great place to live.”
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Sharyn Wisniewski, (608) 267-8823