Tuesday, August 25, 2009


In a previous blog post, we reported that SEH is working with both CFS-LLC and the Town of Russell. Although, according to published Town of Russell meeting minutes, CFS-LLC contacted SEH to “do a master plan for their development”, Mike Darrow of SEH has informed us that “SEH has not entered into a contract with CFS-LLC.” The CFRLU appreciates SEH’s commitment to high ethical standards, and their decision to avoid this obvious conflict of interest. We thank Mr. Darrow for this clarification.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dysfunctional Planning

The Shadow Wood Landing Commercial Development is approximately 10 miles from Bayfield, and 12 miles from Cornucopia. This huge commercial development in the midst of forest lands sticks out like a sore thumb in the midst of our rural Town. It is not only inappropriate, but also looks extremely out of place on the Comprehensive Planning map, which was unveiled at the August 11th public Comprehensive Plan open house.

If the Town proposes that the Village of Red Cliff, whose commercial development takes up less than 40 acres of land now, will, in the next 10 years, grow along a 3 mile strip of Highway 13, to within a few miles of the Shadow Wood Landing development, then, perhaps, it won’t look quite so out of place. However, it is ludicrous to believe that Red Cliff commercial needs will expand 20 fold and utilize approximately 720 acres of residential, tribal, and forest lands.

Let’s preserve our premier viewshed and lobby for a clustered commercial village development that would be aesthetically pleasing, and also promote easy vehicular and pedestrian access. Urban planning principles dictate that commercial development should be situated adjacent to towns. To repeat our last post, a competent urban planner could assist with the design of a well thought out, visually appealing and consumer friendly, commercial village design that would appeal to current residents, and promote tourism.

The Town of Russell residents have clearly expressed their preference for maintaining the rural character of the Town. One has to wonder if this substantial change in the Land Use Plan/Comprehensive Plan Future Land Use Map hasn’t been made to accommodate the extension of sewer service out to the proposed Shadow Wood Landing Development. If this is the Town Board’s hidden agenda, what will the eventual impact be on taxpayers, and on corridor residents who will likely be forced to connect to this line and pay an assessment? Think about it, and ask yourself why the Town is “selling out” our greatest asset to accommodate an out of town developer.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What is a viewshed?

A viewshed is a term used widely in urban planning and is used by SEH in the handouts available at the Comprehensive Plan meeting on August 11th. A viewshed refers to an area visible to an observer from a certain vantage point. It usually includes elements of natural interest and precludes unwanted visual incursions like tall buildings, towers, and scattered, poorly sited commercial buildings. The Town of Russell’s premier viewshed is the view of surrounding wildlife, trees, and Lake Superior that people presently enjoy from Highway 13 on the scenic drive to Red Cliff and Bayfield from the west. Preserving this viewshed requires a commitment to ensure that the area’s unique natural setting is kept intact and not undermined by the sight of new structures looming over the trees, or commercial buildings dotting the roadside.

To preserve the viewshed in Russell, commercial development should be clustered in or adjacent to the Town of Red Cliff, rather than strung along a narrow, 3 mile strip along Highway 13. A clustered commercial development would not only improve aesthetics, but also promote easy vehicular and pedestrian access. A good urban planner can assist with the design of a well thought out, visually appealing and consumer friendly, commercial village design that would appeal to current residents, and promote tourist shopping.

Our next post: How this applies to the Shadow Wood Development.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Town of Russell Comp Plan Meeting, August 11

Be sure to attend the Town of Russell Comprehensive Plan Public Input Meeting , Tuesday, August 11, 5 - 7 pm at the Community Center on County K. This is your opportunity to comment and provide input. For questions, call Dave Good, Town Clerk, 779-5401.

You can view the “Land Use Table and Illustration,” “Existing Land Use Map,” and “Future Land Use Map,” on the Bayfield County Comprehensive Plan site, http://www.sehinc.com/online/bayfieldco/russell.html. Look at the land use categories in the “Land Use Table and Illustration,” and note that there is seemingly no category listed to accommodate a large scale commercial development and jet landing strip in a rural or forested area.