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Alder Lauren Cnare

Alder Lauren Cnare

Home Address:
5218 Kevins Way
Madison , WI 53714

Phone: 608-235-9179
Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Plan Commission Details and Tips

March 1, 2012 8:11 PM

I both thank you and apologize that two of your nights next week will be taken up by this proposal. You have all been yeoman and devoted countless hours to participating in this process and no matter what your position on the issue, many of you have demonstrated a level of engagement and commitment to your city and neighborhood that we can all be proud of. I hope the interest continues!

This blog will give you tips for a productive meeting on Monday, the Plan Commission, and on Wednesday at Urban Design.

Plan Commission
WHEN: Monday, March 5 at 5:30 pm. Public hearings, which this proposal falls under, begin at 6 pm.
But, we are items number 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16, so you may arrive at 6 pm and have plenty of time to register. You may choose to arrive earlier to get a seat in the gallery.

WHERE: Room 201 of the City County Building
210 Martin Luther King Blvd. (This is the more modern building on the west side of MLK; it will be on your left as you face the Capitol.) Room 201 is one floor up the staircases from the lobby. There are also elevators around the stairs on the right.

Parking is available on the street around the building (free after 6 pm) and in the Government East ramp on the corner of Wilson and Pinckney.

Review the Plan Commission agenda on-line:

Get the current facts:
There are many documents here and I encourage you to read them all. The most crucial ones are the two Staff Reports:
The Comprehensive and Neighborhood Plan Amendments here:
And the Zoning amendment here:

Other documents of interest include maps, the text of the proposals detailing history, uses for buildings in the area, other commission reports, citizen comments, the protest petition and the traffic analysis. Stock up your paper tray if you intend to print 'em all!

Come to the meeting to speak, register your support or opposition and be available to answer questions, or register your support or opposition, but not speak.

  1. When you get to the lobby outside the room, forms will be available and a staff person and I will be there to help you complete the form. You will fill in your name and address, the items upon which you wish or register (Just put in Items 12-16, since they will be taken up as a group and likely your comments will be relevant to all of them.) There are questions if you are being paid or acting as a lobbyist for the topics. Turn your slip in to the staff person who will be in the hall until the meetings starts, then sitting in the first row, end chair, right side of the room as you enter.
  2. Your slip will be grouped with others who have registered on the items. For those who do not wish to speak, your names will be read out loud after speakers.
  3. This is a public hearing, which is the ideal place for all to be heard in a formal atmosphere in front of the decision-makers. It may frustrate some that it's not a back and forth dialogue, which I know some still want. But, it is recorded, provides balance for all views to be heard and if changes are requested or made, everyone understands why or why not. Please watch at home if you can't come. (No phone in testimony, though!)
  4. The proposers will be called up to present first. They will likely have a couple speakers to address key aspects of the project. This may be a bit of a re-run for some, but for Plan Commissioners it is the first time they've seen the proposal in this stage.
  5. Then, registered speakers will be called up, alternating for and against. You will have 5 minutes to speak. If there are as many speakers as at previous meetings, you can get a sense for how long testimony will go. To keep things flowing, you will be asked to have unique comments – in other words, if what you wanted to say has already been said, focus on another point. Plan Commissioners will appreciate thoughts on all aspects of the project and you help provide that by not repeating comments already made.
  6. The chair will call a person's name, and note who's next, so listen for your name and get out of your seat and stand near the podium so when the person ahead is done, you can step right up. Most unfortunately, the room is practically falling apart and now only one microphone works (we used to have two) so unless a miracle of technology emerges in the next couple days, we will use the mic on the left side of the room as you enter it. Seating is still available on both sides.
  7. In addition to your opportunity to share your thoughts, this is the opportunity for the Plan Commissioners to learn everything they can about the project to make a decision. It's helpful if your points are written down to keep you on track; it's helpful to be prepared for follow-up questions if a Commissioner wants to know more about your point. It is not necessary to have copies of your testimony.
  8. It's no secret that this is an important and contentious proposal. When a lot of people are in the room and the difference of opinion is strong, it works best if conversations are kept to a minimum while others are talking and everyone listens carefully without harrumphing and commenting. I note this because I've seen people do it at other meetings and it makes them look like idiots. There is an ample lobby area for conversations and you may come and go as you wish. Bathrooms are nearby and there are munchie machines in the lower level.
  9. When speakers are done, Commissioners ask questions of speakers, so if you can stay, please do in case you are asked a question. After all questions are asked, the testimony portion is done. You may not speak again or ask questions, which can be frustrating because you may want to react to something or clarify. If you have something you want asked of other presenters or staff, I am happy to ask it, as I will be participating in the discussion (although I do not vote), just catch my eye and I'll come over to the gallery.
  10. Then, Commissioners ask questions of staff. Finally, they move into debate and vote. 

This is a very important meeting for your voice to be heard on this proposal and I can't encourage, urge or pester you enough to come if you care at all about it. E-mailed comments are good, but since there have been so many, this time, your presence is powerful.

So, off to your weekend of homework. Call or e-mail if you have questions and I hope to see a packed gallery next Monday.

Then, get ready for:
Urban Design Commission
WHEN: Wednesday, March 7, 4:30 pm
WHERE: Not sure yet, but likely same room as last time to accommodate the interest.

The agenda is not out yet, and I will send it when it is.

Assume same tips for speaking as above.

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