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Alder Sara Eskrich

Alder Sara Eskrich

Home Address:
502 Edgewood Ave.
Madison , WI 53711

Phone: 608-669-6979

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Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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The City Process

"Due diligence" Inquiries

Frequently developers contact city planning staff with inquiries about properties across the city.  These informal inquiries typically involve requests for information about city plans and regulations that would influence what may be allowed on potential development opportunity sites.  These inquiries do not always materialize as actual projects.  When a project does materialize as an intent to file a formal land use application, the following procedures for notice, preapplication review, and formal land use application review apply.


Procedures for a variety of land use approvals are outlined in MGO 28.181 - Madison Zoning Code.  These procedures describe the formal notice requirements (in Table 28L-2. Notice Requirements).  Applicants must notify the registered neighborhood association(s) in the area where the property is located, any business association(s), DPCED staff, and the Alder of the district within which the property is located.  Failure to provide the 30-day preapplication notice does not invalidate any action taken on the application by the Plan Commission or the Common Council. The neighborhood notice may be waived, if approved by the Alderperson, and Director of Planning, Community and Economic Development.  

Notice for public hearings required for map amendments (rezonings), conditional use applications, and demolitions require class 2 notification in the official city paper.  Additionally, the Planning Division sends notices by first class mail at least 10 days prior to a public hearing to:

  • the alderperson of the district in which the affected property is located
  • property owners and occupants of multi-tenant buildings within two-hundred (200) feet of the boundaries of the properties affected
  • the owners of adjoining property

Signs are also placed on the property that is the subject of the application at least 21 days prior to the public hearing.  The signs must be placed facing each public right of way that abuts the property, and the sign must be visible from the sidewalk or other public right of way. The signs provide information about the times and locations of public hearings.  Application contents and information received from the public are included in an electronic file associated with project on the City's legislative information system, Legistar, and available from Planning staff on request.

Preapplication Phase

While the preapplication process is optional, development teams almost always adhere to some level of preapplication review with Alders, neighborhood associations, and city staff.  Typically, a development proposal will be reviewed at one or more neighborhood meetings hosted by the Alder, and we strongly encourage some review by Planning staff to ID any glaring inconsistencies with adopted plans and zoning. 

Urban Design Commission preapplication phase

It is a the standing policy of the Urban Design Commission that any project where Urban Design Commission review is requested or required, the applicant must have a preapplication meeting with the Secretary of the UDC.  During this preapplication meeting the UDC Secretary helps project teams bring their proposals into compliance with the adopted Urban Design District standards, as well as with other urban design standards that may be embedded in the relevant zoning regulations.

Formal Land Use Application review

After the 30-day notice period applicants may proceed to review by relevant bodies which may include Urban Design Commission, Plan Commission and Common Council.  Typically these reviews include an informational presentation at UDC (which includes an opportunity for public comment), a meeting to secure initial approval by UDC (which includes a noticed public hearing), and a meeting to secure final approval by UDC (which also includes a noticed public hearing).  Projects are not always approved at the first meetings and some are referred for multiple reviews with additional opportunity for public comment. After initial approval by UDC (if their review is requested or required), an application proceeds to Plan Commission for a public hearing. Some decisions end with the Plan Commission or Urban Design Commission, while others are decided by Common Council (an overview of Commission and Council involvement in development decisions may be found here:  The formal land use review process typically takes 60-90 days, though this timeframe may vary due to any number of extenuating circumstances over which the Planning Division has limited control.

Oftentimes meetings with neighborhood groups, Alders, and staff continue outside of the required informational meetings and public hearings.  These meetings typically result in changes to development proposals to bring them into closer alignment with the spirit and intent of plan policies, and into compliance with the zoning standards.  In the case of the 820 S. Park St. proposal, for example, meetings between the development team, staff, the Alder and the neighborhood association led to seven revisions to the proposed project.

Shortcomings of our Process

As we review our system for improvements, we recognize that better coordination between developer, staff, Alder and neighbors during the preapplication phase is needed. The need for an improved process was also identified by the Development Process Improvement Initiative report that Common Council adopted in 2011. This report called for the Planning Division to establish a "predictable, consistent process and expectations for staff review of development proposals during the Pre-Application Phase of projects." 

The development of a formal process will make it distinct from the day-to-day calls and meetings that planners, administrative leaders, neighborhood groups, and elected officials may have with potential developers as part of their due diligence.  Due diligence is an informal and discretionary process; it is not controlled by the Planning Division, though Planning staff may avail themselves to inquiries from project teams, neighborhood residents, and elected officials.  

By contrast a formal pre-application process could draw a distinction between developer due diligence and a real proposal.  The Development Process Improvement Initiative acknowledged the need to standardize this process in order to improve communication and coordination of various stakeholders.  The purpose of establishing a formal preapplication process would assist with neighborhood coordination in the following ways:

  • Predictable process. It will establish a set of prescribed steps that all projects must follow. This action will ensure a consistent threshold of review and public engagement for every proposal.
  • Enhanced communication. It will establish clear expectations for the conveyance of information to applicants, administration and elected officials, the community, and partner agencies involved in the review process. This action will ensure that all stakeholders are uniformly informed about applicable plan policy guidance, regulations, and the standards for review.
  • Project readiness. It will allow the Planning Division to gather necessary information to advise potential project developers about a proposal's consistency with plans and regulations and to conduct informed meetings with neighborhood residents who may be affected by a proposal. This action will ensure a standard of proposal readiness for formal review by our Commissions and/or Common Council.

The Planning Division is working a Pre-application Process which will be reviewed by stakeholders during the first part of 2016.

What the city can and can't do

Development is driven by private investment. The City has a lot of "no" power but very limited power to force action. We'd say "no" if a foundry asked to build on Park St. but the City cannot tell a developer, "You must apartment building" (or anything for that matter). The City's updated Standards for Review can be found here.

Once a private developer has committed to a project the City can influence the design but we're limited by the developer. They aren't required to invest their money; they can always pull out. Ultimately we endeavor to make the proposed building as great as it can be, or at least to the level of acceptability.
What neighbors can do 
  1. Tell me and your neighborhood association your opinions.
  2. Email your opinion to review commissions below. 
  3. Speak at public hearings of those bodies.  Ask your neighbors to do the same. 

Jade Garden Redevelopment 

The team is proposing 

Monroe Street Reconstruction

This area will continue to be updated with information regarding the Monroe Street reconstruction process, which is currently in the city capital budget for 2018. For the most up to date and comprehensive information, please see the city engineering webpage.

  • Report from the March 9, 2016 Neighborhood-led Monroe Street Reconstruction Planning Process Meeting

Barriques on Park Street Conditional Use

Barriques is applying for a conditional use permit to continue coffee roasting operations on-site. You can find their application and information here

  • Neighborhood Public Information Meeting, March 30 at 7pm
  • Plan Commission Hearing, Referring to September 19 at 5:30pm
    • The applicant and Bay Creek Neighborhood Planning & Economic Development Committee have requested referral from the May 23 meeting to September 19. This will allow time to install a new, larger catalyst in the existing afterburner and pursue modifications to the exhaust stack to further mitigate impacts on neighbors. The conditional use request to continue roasting will be evaluated and formally either permitted or denied in September.

Here is some background information, as well as the formal channels for providing input to the Plan Commission (the decision making body for this application):

  • In the city's zoning codes, there are certain "permitted uses" and "conditional uses" of property based on the type of zoning district. Permitted uses may occur without special permission. Conditional uses require approval from the city's Plan Commission.
  • When the city adopted new zoning codes in 2012, much of Park Street, including Barriques, was zoned as a Traditional Shopping Street (TSS) district. This zoning did not include limited production and processing of food as either a permitted or conditional use. This oversight put many operating businesses in the TSS out of compliance with the zoning code. Barriques has been roasting on-site since they opened in April 2011.
  • In 2015, the city amended the code to allow for conditional small scale food production permits in the TSS. The information on this change can be found here.
  • In December 2015, Barriques notified me and the neighborhood association that they intended to file for such a conditional use permit to come into compliance with the zoning code. You can find their application and information on the city approval process here.
    • Comments to be included in the staff report should be sent to Tim Parks.
    • There will be a public hearing at the Plan Commission on May 23 prior to their deliberations on the application. Please attend and share your thoughts directly with the decision-makers.

Sconnie Bar (Former Lucky's) at 1421 Regent Street

Sconnie Bar LLC, dba Sconnie Bar, is applying for a Class B Combination Liquor and Beer License and Entertainment License at 1421 Regent Street. This license will eventually replace the current Class B Combination Liquor and Beer License No. 76559-88479 held by Lucky's Madison LLC, dba Lucky's Bar & Grille.


1605 and 1609 Monroe Street 

Gregg Shimanski is proposing the 1603-1609 Monroe Street redevelopment project, which will consist of demolition of the current office building at 1603-1605 Monroe Street and a residential rental house at 1609 Monroe Street. The proposed structure will include first floor retail/office/ commercial use; three floors of upscale residential apartment homes; and top floor of owner-occupied condominiums. Parking will be underground and consist of 1:1 ratio of parking for apartments, 2:1 parking condominiums, and 14 stalls of public parking. The anticipated time frame is to begin demolition and construction in early summer 2016 with completion in spring/summer 2017.

  • Neighborhood Meeting: Feburary 10, 2016 at 7pm at HotelRED
  • Urban Design Commission: February 24, 2016 at 4:30pm in room 300 of the Madison Municipal Building, 215 MLK Jr. Blvd
  • Plan Commission: TBD

820 South Park Street 

This project has been approved.

Site Plan

Front View

Delaplaine view

Project Description: JT Klein Company, Inc. is proposing an affordable housing development adjacent to St. Mary's Hospital. The proposed development would include affordable housing for individuals, families and seniors in a multi-family building along S. Park Street, Delaplaine Court, S. Brooks Street and Haywood Drive. There would also be a small portion of market-rate apartments. 

Steering Committee: A group of neighbors from Greenbush and Bay Creek are serving on a project steering committee to delve into this and help provide in-depth input. This was the first presentation to the steering committee on the project, on 7/29/15. We will also host two full neighborhood meetings.

Neighborhood Meeting 1:

Traffic Impact Analysis

Neighborhood Meeting 2: November 5 at 6:30pm at Neighborhood House (29 South Mills Street)

Project Page on City Planning Website

This project was approved with conditions on January 19, 2016.

1313 Regent Street
Project Description : Convert auto repair shop into restaurant-brewpub and reception hall with outdoor eating area and non-accessory temporary outdoor event area related to Camp Randall.
  • Site Plans on the City Planning Website
  • Plan Commission Review: October 19, 2015
    • Updated Plans here
    • Passed with conditions of approval
  • Alcohol License Review: October 21, 2015
    • Passed with conditions of approval
    • Alder Comments here

Wingra School: Design Drawings

This project has been approved.

Wingra School




Wingra School

Wingra School

101 S Mills St.

This project has been approved.

Link to the PDF version for easier viewing.

View my comments to Plan Commission here. 

101 S Mills St.



1313 Regent Street Site

1313 Regent Street Views


edgewood high school parking

Parking lot expansion concept.

DMNA Street reconstruction Schedule

Map linked here.

1004 & 1032 Park Street

This project has been approved.

Pic 1

Pic 2

Please find an updated parking strategy to be proposed by the developer here.

New city review dates (click on the links for minutes/action taken):


3414 Monroe Street

This project has been approved.

Version 3

Patrick Corcoran is proposing an updated design that was shared with the neighborhood on 2/5. The new proposed building is 25,800 sf above ground, 10,000 sf below ground, includes 19 apartments (studio to 3-bedroom), 3,400sf of commercial space, 30 parking spaces (21 below ground), 25 bicycles spaces, 4 moped parking spaces, and a public dog watering station. The massing of the building as compared to the previous design is pulled back from the Arbor house, moving the removed mass to create a 4th floor stepped back on all sides. The materials are cedar, natural plaster, and masonry.

The project will go before the Plan Commission at a public hearing on 4/22 4:30PM at 215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. Room LL-110 (Madison Municipal Building)

Depending on the recommendation of the Plan Commission, it's likely to then go to the Common Council on 5/6 for the final public hearing and vote.




view from monroe

view from glenway

comparison of versions

comparison of version

view from monroe

view from monroe

roof plan

floor plans

floor plans

site plan


1414 S Park St

1414 S Park St is approved.




Madison taxi - 1403 Gilson St

Madison Taxi is approved.
Gilson St facade:

107 S Mills

107 S Mills is approved.

Longfellow School, 210 S Brooks

Longfellow School is approved.



St James Ct is approved.  


1902 Monroe St has been approved.
View from Harrison, across from Trader Joe's:

2620 Monroe St and 665 Knickerbocker

This is approved.

1129 S Park St - Gas station

The new gas station is complete.



1033 High St

This proposal for 1033 High St is approved.  It has 67 units and underground parking.  



Wingra shores 2nd building, 2628 Arbor dr

This proposal for 2628 Arbor Dr is approved.  36 units, underground parking. 


Back (toward Monroe St):


Lane's Bakery, 448 S Park St

This proposal to redevelop the Lane's Bakery site, 448 S Park St, is approved. This will be a 5-story, mixed use building. The first floor will have 6500 feet of retail space. The upper 4 floors will have 40 apartments.  There is underground parking.


Southeast, view from Park & Drake:


THE IDEAL, 502 s park st

The Ideal, at 502 S Park St, is complete.



Meriter Daycare, 201 S Mills St

Meriter's daycare building, at 201 S Mills St, is complete.





Beth Israel Center, 1406 Mound St, has proposed a major renovation and addition.  We had a neighborhood meeting and there was strong support for the proposal.  They hope to begin construction in summer 2014.


Wingra Clinic, 1102 S Park St

Wingra Clinic is completed.

      Wingra Clinic building