The Town of Rushford, in western Winnebago County, is a community, which strives for preserving values and encouraging opportunities — A community that is citizen supported, and future-oriented.  With approximately 1,400 members as part of the Town of Rushford Community and the willingness to accomplish identified goals, the Town of Rushford is in a desirable position to take the next step in the Comprehensive Planning process — the creation of a Town Comprehensive Plan. 


In October of 1998, the Town of Rushford contacted the University of Wisconsin-Cooperative Extension Agency to help in the process of land-use planning.  With the help of University of Wisconsin-Extension, the Town of Rushford created a Comprehensive Planning Committee including 35 citizens and board members, which would serve as the first step in creating a Town Comprehensive Plan[1].  Since 1998, this partnership has administered a land use opinion survey that identified many citizen concerns and needs, educated citizens regarding Comprehensive Planning purpose and consequences, and most of all, a "Vision" representing the future direction of the Town of Rushford was created.  A direction that would entail a 10-20 year horizon.

Through this visioning process, committee members as well as citizens of the Town of Rushford have become sensitive to the impacts of unplanned development that could possibly occur in their community if action is avoided, or even delayed.  A vision statement was developed in acordinance with respecting and preserving present and future community values. The vision statement will serve to support and guide future Comprehensive Planning within the Town of Rushford (see Figure 1).

Text Box: Figure 1 - Town of Rushford Vision Statement

Text Box: We Will Achieve…

Open Space Preservation
Using Land Wisely
Rural Atmosphere

Valuing Strong Morals
Inspiring Community Organized Activities
Supporting Farming and Agriculture
Integration of Regional Comprehensive Plans
Our Culture and History be Preserved
Natural Resource Preservation

….through the successful implementation 
of an effective Comprehensive Plan that balances community and private property rights.

                          	Rushford Visioning
With a vision in place, and community values established, the Comprehensive Planning process can proceed to the next level with the creation of a Town Comprehensive Plan.  The process will begin with the development of a Community Profile Report[2], followed by plan preparation — the Town Comprehensive Plan.  The Community Profile Report identifies existing conditions in the town including past and projected growth trends, and the identification of issues and needs.  That information is presented in this document.  Following the Community Profile Report, is the development of the Town Comprehensive Plan whereby implementation strategies and a future land use map are created.


In any Comprehensive Planning process, it is not only important to evaluate and draft a consensus of community values such as what the Town of Rushford has already accomplished, but it is very important to consider the legal planning framework from which the town has to work under.  Various local governments including town governments, in most instances, experience multi-jurisdictional claims on planning authority.  Therefore, identifying appropriate levels of planning authority specific to a locality is crucial to the success of any Comprehensive Plan.



Identification of Initial Goals & Objectives


The following goal statements were reviewed and established by the Town of Rushford Comprehensive Planning Committee as a framework for the development of this Comprehensive Plan.  Overwhelming support for these goals was gained through public meetings, committee meetings, a citizen survey, and through a Visioning Process conducted by University of Wisconsin-Extension.  Noticeably, there is some overlap among goal statements.  However, each statement attempts to address a topic in itself.  Without any order of importance, the Town of Rushford has identified the following goal statements to function as the basis of their Comprehensive Plan:

Text Box: 1	Promote Water Resources as an Economic Tool while Protecting Wildlife and Aquatic Habitat through Water Traffic Regulation.

The Fox River has long been a great asset to the Town of Rushford, Winnebago County, and the greater Fox River Valley Region.  Protecting this natural resource while promoting economic activity in a way that encourages efficient water use and awareness, is an important aspect of rural atmosphere in the Town of Rushford.

Text Box: 2	Conserve and Enhance the Water and Wetland Resources that make the Town of Rushford an Attractive and Healthy Environment to Live and Work in.

Text Box: 6	Preserve our Historic Landmarks and Culture.

Conservation and enhancement of existing water resources can increase recreational opportunities, maintain and expand wildlife natural habitats, and also discourage improper land use practices on adjacent lands.


Text Box: 7	Encourage Open Space Preservation and the Efficient Use of Land through the Proper Placement of Development on the Landscape and the use of Tools such as Clustering and Maximum Lot Sizes.

Text Box: 3	Preserve the Open Space that Defines the Town of Rushford's Rural Character.

Large tracts of land primarily used for Agricultural purposes exist within the Town of Rushford.  These tracts provide open space very desirable to the Town of Rushford.  To maintain rural character in the Town of Rushford is to recognize opportunities of preserving this open space by encouraging the use of farming and protection of natural resources.


Text Box: 4	Manage Development so that it Occurs Near Already Developed Areas (ie; Waukau, Eureka, Delhi).

Cluster development is a means of directing new construction to areas already developed.  The unincorporated areas of Waukau, Eureka, and Delhi are areas in Rushford which contain a majority of housing units and public facilities.  In order to preserve existing land mass in the Town of Rushford, would be to manage development so that it occurs in these already developed areas.  Coordinated development patterns also enhances fiscal capacities of local governments. 

Text Box: 5	Direct Development into the Areas Most Developable.

Likewise, development should not occur in environmentally significant areas or areas where prime farmland exist.  Areas which already contain residential or non-residential development, that are not within a floodplain or wetland area, are areas where future development should be designated.


The Town of Rushford is a unique place to live because of its character, its physical attributes, and its history.  Recognizing the historical and cultural significance of Rushford is the first step in preserving the past, present, and future identity of the Town of Rushford.


The Town of Rushford recognizes that proper placement of new construction and the use of cluster developments and maximum lot sizes will result in open space preservation throughout the Town.  Fiscal awareness of development patterns and types of uses also factor into the equation of Text Box: 8	Preserve Wildlife Habitat and Natural Beauty through the Proper Placement of Development on the lot.

efficient land use and open space preservation.


The Town of Rushford would like to preserve wildlife habitats and natural beauty by regulating building sites.  Influencing lot design and building placement are two ways of achieving this type of preservation.

Text Box: 12	Control the Demands on Government and other Public Services through Growth Management Policies.

Text Box: 9	Preserve a Critical Mass of Productive Farmland through Equitable Growth Management Policies (ie; preserve land and landowner rights).

Growth management policies are a means of controlling and influencing the direction of future growth in a community.  Policies such as Farmland Preservation, and Purchase of Development Rights (PDR's), are only a few tools for preserving productive farmland and landowner rights.  


Text Box: 11	Provide a Safe Transportation System that Promotes Efficient Use of Land and Fiscal Resources through Maintenance of Arterial Roadways, Limiting Access Points on Major Transportation Routes, and Focusing Development to Areas Near Major Thoroughfares.

Text Box: 10	Encourage the Revitalization and Preservation of 
Diverse Agricultural Activity Through the Protection of Highly Farmable Areas by Focusing Environmental Preservation and Residential Development to Areas Less Important to Farming.

Prime farmlands are lands that are most productive and adaptive to an agricultural industry including a diversity of activities, as well as the revitalization of older, smaller, and even struggling farming operations.  It is important to identify where these prime farmlands are, and to reserve them strictly for agricultural use.


In the Town of Rushford are a number of public roadways including town roads, county trunks, and state highways.  To fully realize the benefits of proximity to major highways and design/condition of local roads, the Town must encourage efficient use of land and fiscal resources.


Evaluating the various tools for growth management can give the Town of Rushford an opportunity to manage and control the demands on public services such as maintenance of town roads, emergency services, and public water/sewer systems. 

Text Box: 13	Limit Clear-cutting of Wooded Areas When Land is Developed.

The Town of Rushford can also enforce regulations limiting the amount of trees that can be cut down when parcels of land are developed.  This would provide for a more desirable, natural-looking lot. 


Text Box: 14	Support the Preservation of Existing Wildlife Habitat and Natural Beauty of the Town of Rushford.

Before any development decision is made, or any permit is granted, it is important to consider the impacts that future developments have on existing wildlife and the natural beauty in the Town of Rushford.


Text Box: 16	Work with Public Agencies (eg; DNR, County) to Identify and Acquire Pristine Areas.

Text Box: 15	Limit Shoreline Development to Protect Environmental and Aesthetic Resources.

Protecting the Fox River by limiting the amount of development that can occur near it shoreline, is important if environmental and aesthetic resources are to be maintained.  Regulating the amount of density and location of development are effective means of preserving the natural environment.


Working cooperatively with adjacent or overlapping jurisdictions such as the DNR or Winnebago County can provide a means of identifying pristine areas for potential purchase.  This is especially true since a significant amount of land within the Town of Rushford is owned by Winnebago County.







Issues & Opportunities


Prior to the development of the preliminary goal statements a series of educational sessions where utilized to inform participants of planning principals, expert opinion of growth impacts and to generate a detailed list of Issues and Opportunities. By using the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (S.W.O.T.) facilitation methodology, participants in four sub-working groups identified what they perceive to be Rushford's predominant issues. The four working groups where assembled to focus on specific topical subject matter. These groups dealt with 1) Population, Housing & Economics, 2) Transportation, 3) Agriculture, and 4) The Natural Environment.






Text Box: Town of Rushford
Issues & Opportunities - S.W.O.T. Summary


Natural Environment Working Group



Uncontrolled development

Water system (river: creeks: lakes: wetlands)

Housing growth

Recreation availability

Minimal economic contributions by tourists

River in Eureka

Boats are too loud

The pond in Waukau

Boats wash out the shoreline

The nature preserve

Dangerous boat speeds on the river

Last of the "good" riverbank

Development limiting waterfowl habitat

Farmlands for wildlife

Loss of wetlands

Woodland protection

Ag. Runoff

Traffic control

Water quality of the Fox River

Preserve farmland for future

Shorline development

Preserve open space, prairie grasses and flowers

Local & up stream non-point source pollution

Good location & shopping available nearby

Failing septic systems

Economic contributions by tourists

Increased recreational use of the Fox River

More hunting preserve

Growth impacting wildlife corridors

Game bird preservation

Long Driveways

Control over how building is being done

Large housing and lots

Control over where building is being done

Increased cars and trips generating air pollution

Control over river traffic

Animal predators


Public hunting grounds being left littered


Trend of newcomers wanting city services


Dead animal pick up by county not occurring quickly


Trash in ditches of river roads


Too few family farms


Urban sprawl


Property tax base on land desirability rather than land use


Everybody wants beauty & peace of rural life


Narrow country roads do not accommodate high traffic volumes


Highway system not keeping up with traffic


Large corporate farms


Development pressure from Fox Valley




Agricultural Working Group



Low prices drive more land sales for development

No feed mill

Small farms are struggling

Medical access (vet & human)

Less productive farms

Farm industry services (support system)

Clay soils

Good economics

Only one bridge across river

Dairying is about the best deal

Lots of "wet" lands = Farmer's problems

Access roads

Farm runoff into waterways & marshes

Close to rail & highway network

Growing residential pressure

Good distribution system

Government restrictions

Lots of farmland - critical mass

Farmers and residents much opposed to development

Productive land

Conflict between farm & residential needs/wants

Holding back urban proximity

Farm taxes are too high

Low development of land (housing)(so far)

New schools = higher taxes




Transportation Working Group



Traffic on Hwy. 91, crossing going to Ripon

Scenic/country roads maintain rural atmosphere

Speeding through Waukau & Eureka

Well maintained for winter driving

Potential four lane improvement to Hwy. 21 would destroy some homes

Proper speed limits

More $ needed to improve/maintain quality

Good police patrol level

Some roads have more traffic than they're designed for

Clear view at intersections

School busses have difficulty on some roads/narrowness

Limited access on State roadways

Improper speed limit on River Road

Proximity to Fox cities, Omro, Berlin & Oshkosh

Too many access points on roads

Major highways go through town

Speed limit not enforced

Central location

Farm machinery versus cars & trucks

Rustic roads maintain rural atmosphere

Brush control along sides of roads

Speed limits adjustments needed in some areas due to changes

Good roads attract development


Only one bridge across river


Tree, brush and shrub trimming needed to keep roads safe/currently visibility is limited




Population, Housing & Economics Working Group



Aging housing base

Abundance of recreational lands and opportunities

Lack of retirement housing facility

Nearby water resources (i.e., Fox River)

Threat of dumps moving into township

River is a developable economic resource

Surface and groundwater pollution

Many employment opportunities

Next generation doesn't want to farm

Prison at Red Granite

Limited industry in Town

Profitable natural resources (i.e., water & gravel)

Development spoiling rural atmosphere

Land good for farming, hunting, and boating

Higher population could mean higher crime rate

Good rental housing

Road maintenance costs increase with sprawl

Ability to work together towards the future

Road maintenance currently marginal

Community interest in welfare of the Town

No education facilities in Town

Limited industry in Town



Issues & Opportunities

Goals, Objectives & Policy Statements


While some overlap between working group statements exist, it is clear that the Town of Rushford faces a number of issues and opportunities.


Goal #1

Throughout the remaining elements of the Comprehensive Plan, each of these issues and opportunities, as they apply, will be raised for discussion.



Goal #2

Appropriate solutions and implementation recommendations will be made including those involving intergovernmental relations.


Goal #3

The Town of Rushford is committed to its adopted Public Participation Plan. On going public input through multiple venues and forms will continue throughout the planning process.



Goal #4

The Town of Rushford's Comprehensive Plan will be a living/working document. As new issues arise methods for incorporating them into the plan will be followed so that the plan remains current with changing community needs. At a minimum the Comprehensive Plan shall be up dated once every five (5) years as required by law.


Issues & Opportunities Planning Process


Text Box:  Text Box:  Flowchart: Process: TOWN OF RUSHFORD
Flowchart: Alternate Process: GoalsFlowchart: Alternate Process: Vision StatementFlowchart: Alternate Process: Priority IssuesFlowchart: Alternate Process: EducationFlowchart: Alternate Process: Value(s) IdentificationFlowchart: Alternate Process: Organize Committee(s)Flowchart: Alternate Process: Town Hall Findings MeetingFlowchart: Alternate Process: Community SurveyRounded Rectangle: On-going Community Outreach Assistance

[1] Town of Rushford, Comprehensive Land Use Planning Committee Visioning Report. October 18, 1999. Mike Koles UWEX - Winnebago County.

[2] Town of Rushford, Community Profile Report. Vierbicher Associates, Inc. January 2000.