Key to collective vision as Cambridge and Deerfield get closer | Cambridge News / Deerfield Independent
The villages of Cambridge and Deerfield are distinct communities and certainly have distinct cultures. But they are supposed to, in the years to come, continue to grow towards each other. More and more, they can benefit from a unified voice.
The City of Deerfield’s New Comprehensive Plan, adopted in 2020, shows how the future of the villages should become intertwined.
The city map shows that the extraterritorial zoning areas of the two villages actually overlap in the Prairie Drive and Munson Road area, stretching roughly half a mile from this intersection to the north, the east and west and over a mile south into the town of Christiana.
An area of extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction – or ETJ – is where a village or town says it expects to develop in the future by potentially annexing city land in the years to come. . There is no certainty that a village or town will do this, but it is a sufficiently high probability that it will show up in their overall plan and in the overall plans of the adjacent affected townships.
Through its ETJ zone, a village like Cambridge or Deerfield has limited say over proposed development in an adjacent city, ensuring its ability to develop that direction without being blocked by a city’s unilateral development decisions.
The ETJ areas of Cambridge and Deerfield both extend 2.5 km beyond their borders into the towns of Deerfield and Christiana, which lie between them.
The overlap of their ETJ areas indicates that Cambridge and Deerfield expect to continue to move closer to each other and hypothetically meet in the corridor of US Highway 12-18. The fact that their paths slide towards each other in the highway corridor has recently gained in importance as the two villages, the towns of Christiana and Deerfield, and the school districts of Deerfield and Cambridge assess the potential implications. of a large-scale solar farm proposed to line up both sides of the United States 12-18.
The Wisconsin Public Service Commission is currently reviewing an application from Invenergy, LLC of Chicago to build a 300 megawatt solar project and 165 megawatt battery storage facility, for a total capacity of 465 megawatts, in the towns of Deerfield and Christiana. . A CPS decision is expected by November.
We hope that the recent joint local solar park meetings are the first in a long series and that in the future, cities, towns and school districts in the region will continue to be more than a collection of communities. separate jurisdictions, but rather a community working on a response that does not go well by everyone. Because we live and work in too close a proximity for the decisions of a city, town or school district to affect everyone.
There are also other opportunities to speak as separate municipalities, but as one community.
The release of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation’s Connect 2050 plan later this summer will provide an updated vision for the US Highway 12-18 corridor through the Deerfield and Cambridge areas. We hope that local towns and villages respond to what is proposed with a unified voice.
The future of the Koshkonong Creek watershed, with an updated regional approach needed to control stormwater that does not increase the financial burden on farmers via drainage district assessments, is another chance for Cambridge, Deerfield and the surrounding cities to speak in one piece.
Recreationally, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources already sees us that way.
In 2017, MNR established an area stretching west from Palmyra to Deerfield and south of the village of Lowell in Dodge County to Milton as a Glacial Heritage Area. It is defined as “a coordinated series of parks, reserves, wild and natural spaces, and other conservation lands that are linked to each other and to neighboring towns and villages with different types of trails”.
Dane, Jefferson, Dodge and Rock counties and area volunteer groups have since found many ways to work together to maintain and improve the trails and natural areas that we collectively enjoy near us and to which we invite visitors.
As local fire and emergency services move into a future that may involve more full-time hires, it is also incumbent on Cambridge and Deerfield to keep an open mind about the merger. This does not mean that the combination is a given. But being open-minded to the possibility can, if it does, help keep the focus on objective facts and community-wide benefits and help keep municipal-centric strong emotions at bay.
And, in years, if Cambridge and Deerfield find themselves in a position to envision a school district merger or perhaps a smaller proposal like a unified high school jointly controlled by two independent school boards, the same open-mindedness might become. beneficial. Objective examination of the facts and the best potential outcomes for everyone will be the key to better serving all local school children and families in the future.
As the gap between Cambridge and Deerfield potentially narrows in the years to come, making critical decisions as separate municipalities but a unified community may make more and more sense.
Embracing a separate but collective mindset now, when the growth of the highway corridor and the resulting mergers of schools and services are still hypothetical, not real, will only make the future easier to navigate.