Waterloo partners with students to analysis urban planning - The Courier: Local

Waterloo partners with students to analysis urban planning - The Courier: Local

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Waterloo partners with students to analysis urban planning

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Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:47 am

Residents and those who work in Waterloo will soon receive a survey to find out how the city can be promoted in the future.

The Waterloo Common Council approved a partnership with the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and its urban planning students to find out how the city can best leverage its existing assets to ensure a vibrant community in the future.

The survey will be sent along with the next utility bill.

The request to work with the university came through the city’s Community Development Committee, Alderman Dale Van Holten told fellow council members Feb. 20.

“We reached out to UW-Milwaukee several years ago for a series of concepts, and previous semesters none of the ideas were picked up,” Clerk/Treasurer Mo Hansen said. “This semester they identified Waterloo as a good fit,” he said.

On the recommendation of the Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, the graduate students from the university will look for strategies, data and research related to buying local, Hansen said. “It is an opportunity for the urban planning students to generate new ideas with new eyes, fresh eyes on how Waterloo can best promote itself going forward in time,” he added.

With a focus on sustainability, five students will provide a commuting analysis and how existing retail establishments are affected by out-of-town vehicle trips. The survey questions pertain to living, working and shopping in the city, along with questions about transportation.

The scope of the project is to provide an analysis of retail purchasing for a typical Waterloo household or Waterloo employee and identify public and private strategies to persuade residents to modify their shopping habits in ways that save money, time and the environment.

There is no cost for the project. “It is like a free project,” Tom Fleming, student member told the council. It is a stepping stone to other projects, he added.

The students plan to conduct an analysis of how Waterloo compares to other communities in being friendly to pedestrians and cyclists; identify strategies to market Waterloo as a community that is a good place to live and work; and identify strategies to build on existing strengths, increase a “walk score” and increase the share of trips taken by walking and cycling.

A written report will be prepared identifying and making the case for three strategies to market Waterloo while building sustainable practices.

Following the meeting, Fleming of Lake Mills said the key for revitalizing many small towns is revitalizing the downtown. “This is a good location,” he said. “There is a lot of potential for bicycle activity in the area,” he added.

Fleming said he hoped to get at least 800 responses to the survey. “Hopefully, we can make Waterloo residents more proud of the city they live in.”

Other business

• Approved an amendment to an ordinance relating to planting and removal of trees in the public right-of-way. According to new language, “trees planted in public right-of-way shall be planted no closer than 40 feet from the nearest intersection of 10 feet from any driveway opening, buried cable or other utility. No permit will be issued if the tree lawn, defined as the public right-of-way between a public street and a public sidewalk is less than six feet wide. Similarly, no permit will be issued for the planting of a tree beneath utility lines.

If a tree is removed from a tree lawn less than six feet wide, a tree will be provided by the city at 50 percent of the city’s cost to property owners and will be planted on the property owner’s front lawn, provided there is sufficient space. All municipally provided trees become the responsibility of the property owner.

• Approved an amendment to the ordinance relating snow and ice removal from sidewalks and the process for removal by the city if not cleared. According to new language, the entire sidewalk from edge-to-edge must be made safe for passage within 24 hours after a snowfall has stopped. If not, the snow will be removed by the city and the property owner will be billed for the time spent at the task with a minimum charge of one hour per visit. The public works director or designee, will identify sidewalk hazards and present the list to the police department. Police will visit the property and issue a warning or citation after which the list will be redirected to the public works department for shoveling, sanding or salting.

• The council met in closed session to negotiate parameters with multiple businesses expressing interest in land acquisition and development incentives in Tax Incremental District No. 3.

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