Letter to the Editor: Get Involved With the County’s Comprehensive Planning Process

Our ability to influence public policy goes beyond voting. Yet, some opportunities to make an impact get little public attention or participation. People are more likely to gather in town halls, call elected officials or display outrage and dismay after the fact once the ink has dried on policies and regulations affecting our day-to-day lives.

An opportunity now exists for Door County citizens to participate in an important blueprint that will shape our future. 

The Door County Comprehensive and Farmland Preservation Plan is being updated. The process currently underway will result in the long-range policy guide for how the county plans to manage growth and development in the coming years. 

The comprehensive plan offers guidance to local governments, elected officials, citizens and organizations for creating sustainable, resilient and vibrant communities. It affects housing, transportation, land use, agricultural, natural and cultural resources and much more. 

Gaining public input on the plan is mandated by the State of Wisconsin and the county has outlined a public participation process. Robust participation means more informed decision-making by local government and stronger solutions for the challenges facing Door County. 

Now is everyone’s opportunity, before land use maps are updated, before new zoning codes are drafted, to look at what leaders and influencers envision for the county’s future. It’s a chance to speak up on the spaces, places and topics we care about.

The League of Women Voters of Door County encourages public participation in this process, a critical instrument of government not to be taken for granted or ignored.

What can you do? For starters, learn about the process and timeline. The land use services/planning section of the county’s website is a good place to start. Draft land use maps will be available soon for public input. Ask your town or village to put the Door County Comprehensive and Farmland Preservation Plan on the agenda of an upcoming meeting to help spark public awareness and input. 

Government works for us and it’s a two-way street. It requires an informed and engaged citizenry. The public participation process allows everyone to make an impact in positive ways.

Susan Kohout, LWVDC Chair, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Ann Smejkal, LWVDC Observer Corp/Action Chair, Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin

Maryanne Giustino O’Dowd, LWVDC Program Chair, Ellison Bay, Wisconsin