City of Ashland, WI

How can A small community leverage its sense of place to remain attractive to future generations?


czb was retained to update the comprehensive plan in this city of 8,000 on the shores of Lake Superior. Ashland wanted a plan that would be concise and actionable and would help the city remain attractive, sustainable, and viable into the future.

Ashland’s long stretch of lakefront presented both an incredible planning opportunity for recreation and economic enhancement as well as an imperative for environmental protection.

czb analyzed market data from a variety of sources and qualitative data from online surveys, focus groups, and small group meetings. We also worked with a 19-member steering committee to develop priorities, test new land use ideas, and present draft concepts to the public.

"The intent of this comprehensive plan moving forward is something that can help city staff and elected officials make better decisions that align with the values of the community."

- April Kroner | Planning and Development Director (former)

Planning is Paying Off

The plan was adopted by Ashland’s Planning Commission and City Council in February 2017. The city has used it to inform planning and capital investment decisions as well as zoning changes. Ashland also completed a detailed housing assessment and waterfront development plan in 2019, which were specifically recommended in the comprehensive plan.