Berry Town, Dane County, Wisconsin

(Profile Revised: October 29, 2020)

The Town of Berry, population 1,188 (2018), is one of 61 towns, villages, and cities within Dane County, the county that surrounds Madison, Wisconsin. Farmland is remarkably intact here despite the fact that the Wisconsin State Capitol and the University of Wisconsin are less than 15 miles away.

Berry adopted a TDR program in 2018 to preserve farms and reduce sprawl by redirecting growth to places suitable for residential development. The sending area is the entire town. Owners interested in transferring their development rights begin by obtaining a Density Study from the town. The program offers one dwelling unit per development right in order to maintain the number of development rights allowed town-wide in 1981. Development rights are granted after a conservation easement is recorded on sending sites. 

Owners wanting their properties to become receiving sites must apply for a zoning change and plat approval. These applications are evaluated for consistency with the goals and policies of the Town Comprehensive Plan.  

In 2020, Berry adopted a TDR policy requiring the Town Clerk to maintain a list of all property owners interested in selling their development rights. The policy permits the town to acquire development rights. The policy further pledges that Berry cannot sell its rights when private property owners are offering their TDRs for sale. However, Berry reserves the right to assign or sell development rights accrued to the Town at any time in areas anticipated for annexation in exchange for deed restrictions obligating the owners to oppose annexation for at least 20 years. Development rights from a property acquired for a park are deemed permanently terminated.