June 15, 2022 – Richfield, WI – During June is Dairy Month the Village Board in Richfield is considering trying to do away with agriculture zoning by implementing a number of changes. The current ordinance codes date to 1978 and the Village Board is looking to shift A1 and A2 agriculture to RR1 and RR2 residential.
|John Jeffords||Village President||2023||(262) 628-0385||Email John Jeffords|
|Dan Neu||Trustee||2024||(262) 628-0177||Email Dan Neu|
|Tom Wolff||Trustee||2023||(414) 520-3566||Email Tom Wolff|
|Bill Collins||Trustee||2024||(262) 628-4278||Email Bill Collins|
|Don Kriefall||Trustee||2023||(414) 803-3488|
Jim Healy – Village Administrator (262) 628-2260 ext. 115
Wolff has been a resident of Richfield 20 years. He said there’s been a lot of changes, but there’s also a reason why he moved out here.
“I wanted the country life, and I would certainly hope that’s the way people are looking at it right now,” he said. “Some of the other ordinance changes we’re looking to make, are trying to support the growing agritourism industry that’s popping up all over all over rural America.
“I think if the board does its job, we will make some minor alterations that will make the farmers happy and then we’ll get the ordinance book approved.”
Questioned if the Village Board would listen to the farmers concerns, Healy said, “That was the whole purpose of us having the meeting was to get their feedback to provide back to the village board.”
Village President John Jeffords was quoted in the notes from the public meeting saying, “the current atmosphere of the village, is different than it was when the current code was written.”
That statement was made as an explanation on why it’s necessary to move from an A1 and A2 to an R1 and R2.
Calls were placed to Jeffords for more insight and no calls were returned.
Healy was clear that the comments were made by Jeffords, he did add, “It’s safe to say we’re far more residential as a community than what we were in 1978 or 1983.
“I think that’s unequivocally a fair statement. You only have to look at the population projections. Going back to that point, are we a different community? You know, I don’t know that I would go that far and say we are a quote unquote, different community. We’re still very much tied to our rural agrarian past, and it is very much a part of the fabric of our community. We’ve got generations of farmers, who live in the Village of Richfield, who farm our lands, it’s quite literally why people came to Richfield is because of our rich fields.”
Healy continued and raved about the farming history and atmosphere. “Going through the rolling hills and the Kettle Moraine, seeing old farm buildings or farm buildings that are still being utilized or being repurposed is part of what makes Richfield unique. It is great to see some new life being breathed into these old buildings,” he said.
From an agricultural standpoint, Healy estimated Richfield had about 24,000 acres and 5,000 to 6,000 of open land.
“You would be hard pressed to drive around the Village of Richfield and not see farms being worked on every street,” he said.
“I look out my office every day at a field that day and the owner is a part-time farmer works a regular job and does farming on the side. I think there’s lots of that and there’s lots of people who do hobby farming for their own personal enjoyment or for selling eggs or honey or what have you. So, if your question to me is do I think farming is a dying industry in Richfield? No, I don’t at all.”
Healy said the village did try to keep the community informed on the ordinance book review through its village webpage and monthly newsletter.
Healy has met with Jeffords and at Thursday’s meeting there is expected to be a briefing or staff report prior to the public comments. “So, people can understand we truly and honestly listened to the feedback and took their concerns to heart,” said Healy.
He said the village is expected to open lines of communication with the agricultural community and hopes to start a subcommittee where farmers and citizens can have the sort of ongoing discussion.
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Click HERE to view the agenda.