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Departments » Planning » Natural Resources
FAQ

Natural Resource Planning
1. What is an ESA?

An ESA is an Environmentally Sensitive Area. ESAs may include waterways, wetlands, sloping land, Karst features, floodways, and other areas. ESAs oftentimes have an adjacent setback. ESAs and ESA setbacks are not buildable areas. Development and earth moving activities should not occur within ESAs or ESA buffers without approval from Brown County Planning Commission.


2. Can I change an ESA boundary on my property?

ESAs may be changed by petitioning for an ESA amendment. Changes to an ESA must be approved by County Planning staff and oftentimes the Brown County Planning Commission Board of Directors as well as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. An amendment application can be found at the end of the Brown County Sewage Plan and on this website.


3. Does Brown County have a bicycle map?

A Brown County Bicycle Map that establishes preferred street routes and major bicycle trails was created in 2008. Hard copies of the map are available for $3 in the Brown County Planning Commission office. The website also provides a list of government offices and businesses that have copies of the map available. The website also provides a background regarding the types of bicyclists the map was designed for.


4. Does Brown County have a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit?

Brown County has an urbanized area. Per the requirements of the Clean Water Act, Brown County is required to have a MS4 permit that addresses urban non-point storm water, illicit discharges, and other storm water issues on county highways and on county properties. Brown County obtained the Phase II permit on October 11, 2006. To find information regarding how to better address storm water on your residential property, click here (a non-Brown County site supported by the county): www.newsc.info


5. Does Brown County have a Park Plan?

The Brown County Park and Outdoor Recreation Plan 2008-2013 is available online, along with several municipality park plans. The website also includes an inventory of hard copy park plans that are available for review in the Brown County Planning Commission library.


6. I received an ESA violation letter in the mail. What does it mean?

When staff identifies that an ESA or ESA buffer has been developed or disturbed without permission or approval from the Brown County Planning Commission, a "violation" oftentimes occurs. Typically, Brown County staff attempts to resolve violations with property owners before fines or penalties have to be implemented. Oftentimes, a letter sent to the property owner with a timeline, say 30 days, to respond with with the following information:

- Proof that the violation has been identified in error.
- Proof that the violation has been promptly corrected.
- A solution and effective timeline for correction.
Violations that are not promptly addressed by property owners may be forwarded to the Brown County Corporation Counsel for action. Thus, staff makes strong efforts to work with property owners to prevent this from occurring.


7. I see someone disturbing an ESA. Who do I tell?

Disturbance to ESAs (earth moving, building, etc.) may be considered violations. If you see it and you know who is doing it, say your neighbor, you may want to ask them to verify they received permission from Brown County and/or the WDNR to disturb the ESA. If you do not know the person, contact Brown County Planning Commission with the following information:

- Who performed the activity (i.e. company or name on the truck that is doing the work).
- Type of activity.
- Date of activity.
- Location of potential violation (address or parcel number).
This information will help us to resolve any violations quickly, or determine if an approval was previously granted for the activity.


8. Why have I been directed to the county planning staff for a town or village planning project?

There are two potential reasons for this:

First, a local municipality may be working with a resident on a site plan or a permit and recognize that issues that are enforced by the County may impact their project. For example, towns do not enforce the protection of certain wetlands but Brown County may. In this case, a town inspector or administrator may refer a resident to the County.

Second, a village or town may have contracted the county planning staff to operate as their "village or town planner." If this is the case, the county planning staff reviews projects on the behalf of the municipality, acting as if they were a municipality employee, not a county planner. The benefit to the public is the planner also has a background in related some county requirements that could impact a project in the long-run.There are three "local assistance" planners in Brown County: Aaron Schuette, Peter Schleinz, and Jon Motquin. Each are assigned to specific municipalities.


9. Will Brown County develop a local municipality park plan?

Yes. Brown County has developed several park plans over the years in cooperation with local municipalities. Brown County works with the local municipality to establish a desired plan. Brown County can establish a cost to develop a park plan for a municipality and its residents.


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