The Town of Dunn's PDR program is a voluntary farmland protection method that compensates landowners for inhibiting future development on their land. Through this program, the Town purchased the development rights to its first piece of property in April 1997 and continues to use this tool today in order to fulfill the mission, goals, and strategies of the program:
The Mission of the Rural Preservation Program is to protect and enhance the rural character of the Town of Dunn, preserve a land base to support a robust agricultural economy, and promote ecological resilience to provide a sense of certainty about the future and sustain a high quality of life for all members of the community.
To pursue this mission, the Rural Preservation Program endeavors to:
In an effort to fulfill the mission of the rural preservation program and achieve its goals, the Land Trust Commission and Town staff work to:
The Town's Land Trust Commission oversees the PDR program. Meeting dates and agendas, see a list of commissioners.
Currently the Town holds 38 conservation easements on 37 protected properties, covering 3,763.45 acres and representing about 13.4% of the area of Dunn.
When including the conservation efforts of other organizations, about 24% of the Town's area is currently protected.
|Conservation Organization||Number of Acres|
|Town of Dunn||3,863.42|
|The Nature Conservancy||153.66|
|U.S. Fish and Wildlife Org.||69.70|
(Note: Easements are Private Property - No Public Access is Granted)
See an enlarged map and a legend.
The Town of Dunn regularly mails pre-application forms to all eligible residents - those that own 35 acres or more of contiguous land in the Town. When the Town receives an application, staff will score the applicants' property using an objective ranking system (see Land Ranking and Selection Criteria below). The scores determined by the ranking system help the Land Trust Commission determine properties for which to pursue a PDR transaction.
The Town of Dunn purchased its first property for the PDR program on April 22, 1997 from the Sinaiko Family. It was the first Purchase of Development Rights transaction in the state of Wisconsin, as this plaque on the property now explains. The property held a former Native American campsite, and a portion of the property is now a Town Park.
In order to better leverage limited funds, the Town of Dunn seeks grant funding from sources such as the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the United States Department of Agriculture, and Dane County Parks. Grants and donations have paid for 51.20% of the cost of purchasing development rights, saving tax payers $4,490,491.
The Town of Dunn also partners with Groundswell Conservancy (previously Natural Heritage Land Trust). With every easement purchase, the Town pays Groundswell Conservancy an endowment fee of roughly $8,000 to assist in enforcing and monitoring conservation easements. Read the Memorandum of Agreement Between the Town of Dunn and Groundswell Conservancy.
A conservation easement is the legal contract which the Town uses to acquire development rights. A unique conservation easement is crafted with each landowner to best protect the significant features of each individual property.
Many studies show that agricultural and open space uses greatly reduce the tax burden on residents as compared to residential uses. The following studies enumerate the relationship between revenues generated by various land uses and compares the tax burden that servicing each use places on the tax payers of a community.
Cost of Community Services Study for Three Dane Towns: Dunn, Perry, and Westport 1999
Listed below is tax information for conservation easements. These materials are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.
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4156 County Rd. B | McFarland, WI 53558
P: 608-838-1081 | F: 608-838-1085