Alder Marsha A. Rummel,
Council President Pro Tem
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Rummel’s Updates
MNA online newsletter April 2014
702-706 Williamson St
Join me for the second neighborhood meeting Wednesday April 23 at WilMar Neighborhood Center @ 6:30p to review Marty Rifken's proposal to demolish the one-story commercial building and construct a new six-story mixed use building with 60 units of apartments and approximately 7500sf of commercial space. There would be a 30-stall lower level garage on site and 30 stalls of surface parking in the lot across the street at 651 E. Wilson Street.
Since March, neighbors have been working with the development team to look at setbacks at the ground level to improve visibility at the Blount St intersection; review upper story treatment including stepbacks to protect Capitol views from Jenifer St; evaluate the proposed height in regard to the Williamson St BUILD II recommendations, the guidelines in the Third Lake Ridge Historic District Plan and the standards in Third Lake Historic District Ordinance; and discuss whether there will be affordable units in the development.
The TSS/traditional shopping street zoning permits 3 stories or 40' with additional height permitted through the conditional use process. The Plan Commission must approve all conditional uses. The Williamson St BUILD II recommends 5 stories for this portion of the block which is identified as Zone III. The Third Lake Ridge Historic District ordinance requires the gross volume of any new structure shall be visually compatible with the buildings and environment within its visually related area, and, the height of any new structure shall be visually compatible with the buildings and environment within its visually related area. According to the City Attorney, the BUILD plan can be used to inform the underlying primary zoning district, but, if there is a conflict, the provisions of the Third Lake Historic District Plan would take precedence for the purposes of a Landmarks Commission decision under MGO 33.19(5)(b)4.c.
The Madison Board of Parks Commissioners approved La Fete de Marquette and a brand new event The Central Park Sessions at their meeting of April 9.
La Fete de Marquette returns to Central Park after many years' hiatus to officially launch the opening of the new park from July 10 to July 13, 2014. In their application to the Parks Commission, the WilMar Neighborhood Center presented a petition from approximately 30 neighbors on S Few, S Ingersoll and 1000-1200 blocks of E Wilson in support of La Fete's return to Central Park and the proposed 11pm closing time. The signatures represent a majority of owner occupied households. I want to thank Gary Kallas and other volunteers for informing residents about the return of the four day festival and ask for their support for an additional hour past the usual 10pm park closing time. Other approvals still needed are street use closures for Ingersoll and S Few St., approval from the Common Council for the 11pm closing and approval by the ALRC and the Council to sell beer.
The second event approved was the Central Park Sessions, three concerts on consecutive Thursday s July 31, August 7 and August 14, from 5-10p. Organized by Bob Queen and other volunteers, the Central Park Sessions propose a culturally diverse array of music that will feature national/international and regional bands and pair them with local musicians. Proceeds from the sale of food and beverages will support Dane County area nonprofits. One of the conditions from Parks staff states that the sound must be kept to a reasonable level at all times. These events will also need approval from the ALRC and Common Council to sell beer.
On March 6, I convened a neighborhood meeting to get feedback on protocols and expectations for Central Park in light of the Central Park Master Plan recommendation to allow three festivals. About 20 neighbors discussed the process for park rentals with Dawn Grosdidier, the new Community Services Manager in the Parks Division. She said triggers for additional notification of the alder and the neighborhood association would be a crowd estimated to be larger than 300 and amplification. With large events, Parks will ask for safety plans. Several neighbors shared concerns about noise, litter, theft and illegal parking based on their experience with other events and the general impacts from nearby bars and nightclubs. The majority of those present didn't want to limit the number of festivals to three as recommended in the CP master plan, but everyone agreed that applicants should follow the existing rules set by the Parks Commission. In a straw poll, a majority agreed to review after the first year of events and make adjustments if needed.
The design consultant team, Stantec and MSA, continue to develop the design for the Central Park Skatepark. Two well-attended public meetings were held earlier this year to gather input from area skaters and neighborhood residents. The project is anticipated to go out for bid in May with construction starting by the end of July. The total project budget for the construction of the Skatepark is $750,000. Of this amount, the Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Foundation is proposing to donate $250,000 towards construction of the project. In recognition of this gift, City will name the skatepark at Central Park the Irwin A. and Robert D.Goodman Skatepark in honor of the donors.
Yahara River Bank Stabilization
Parks Division staff is working with City Engineering on improvements to the Yahara River between Jenifer St and Rutledge St to stabilize the stream bank where the existing wooden retaining walls are deteriorating. The retaining walls are located on the north side of the river by Riverside Dr. The project will be bid in April with a start date of July.
A letter was sent from City Engineering to nearby residents in January with a description of the work. There are currently three sections of retaining wall; these will be replaced with a combination of glacial stone riprap and cut limestone steps. The city will install two sections of steps; one 20-foot section will be placed near the bike path bridge. A second, 30-foot section will be placed near Riverside Drive and Rutledge Street intersection and will serve as a canoe access, as well as general river access.
In order to complete this work, up to nine trees may require removal; five of these are 1-inch diameter or smaller and are primarily cranberry bushes. The other four trees to be removed include one, 2-inch diameter pin cherry; one, 5-inch diameter mulberry; one, 6-inch diameter willow; and one, 14-inch diameter willow. The trees have been marked with pink surveyors tape for identification. An attempt will be made to save the existing crabapple tree and some of the cranberry bushes; however, the proximity of the construction may damage the root systems, ultimately requiring their removal. With the exception of the pin cherry, the trees are located near the bike path bridge. Native trees and/or shrubs will be replanted in this area after construction is complete. Additionally, the City is proposing to remove one, 6-inch diameter ash tree that is growing in the center of a stand of river birch. This will be done to maintain the health of the birch. The letter reminded residents that a public meeting was held in 2012 at which a general project plan was developed with input from the neighborhood.
Two Straws cocktail lounge at 1380 Williamson St.
At their March 20 meeting, the MNA Board voted to support the alcohol license application for Josh Schwentzel , Hastings Cameron and Gil Altschul for 16 Spoons LLC dba Two Straws. The ALRC will hear the application at their April 23 meeting and the Council will review the ALRC's recommendation April 29. The bar will be two-stories and the applicants propose to have a capacity of 50 people. There will be a focus on house made mixers and local craft alcohol distillers. The owners estimate 20% food service and plan to occasionally invite guest chefs and feature locally sourced products. No live music is proposed.
Emerald Ash Borer
The city is stepping up our response to the Emerald Ash borer now that we seen evidence of EAB in Warner Park and other locations in the city. Madison has approximately 21,000 street ash trees. A budget amendment will be voted on April 29 to authorize spending $365,000 from the Contingent Reserve fund to provide additional resources for mitigation and to borrow approximately $60,000 in general obligation debt to purchase additional vehicles. Parks plans to preemptively remove and replace as many ash trees as possible in 2014 and to chemically treat 1/3 of eligible trees. In 2012, the Common Council approved the following guidelines to remove street trees: the tree is in poor condition, the tree is located under high voltage electrical line, and the tree measures less than 10 inches in diameter.
Did you know: Evidence of woodpecker damage is a sign the ash is infested with EAB or other pests.
The City Forester has received inquiries about whether last winter's polar vortex and would affect the survival of EAB. Bill McNee of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources says experts predict that many EAB larvae will die, but the ash tree pest isn't going away. The larvae are partially protected beneath the tree bark from the effects of wind chill and have adapted to colder temperatures in their native habitat in eastern Asia.
The biggest question that everyone is asking is why the city is aggressively going after trees under power lines. We all have seen the effects of MGE pruning trees by removing the center of the crown and turning them into Y. According to the City Forester these trees are categorized as in 'poor health' which greatly reduces the efficacy of chemical treatment. Additionally MG&E has said they will follow the lead of power companies in other EAB infested communities and become even more aggressive in the pruning of these types of trees which will further damage the tree and further reduce the efficacy of chemical treatments. Given that these trees are already in poor condition and likely to become much worse as MG&E prunes, the recommendation was made by the EAB taskforce and approved by Council, to remove these types of trees and begin replanting the urban forest.
Residents who would like to save ash trees should consider three specific actions. 1) Consider treating those ash trees in good condition on their property outside of the terrace 2) Consider adopting a healthy park tree for chemical treatment 3) Consider giving to the Madison Parks Foundation's replanting fund which will help us replant trees in the Parks after the ash are removed. To get updates and more information go to the city's website http://www.cityofmadison.com/parks/services/forestry/pests/EAB/
Water Utility's Paterson St facility
Al Larson from the Madison Water Utility and consultants from Mead and Hunt came to the March 19th MNA preservation and development committee to share the options the Water Utility is considering for the operations facility at 110 S Paterson St. I reported on this in February. The Water Utility Board directed WU staff to work with Planning staff look at additional locations for a parking ramp to serve the needs of the Cap East District. They will report back to the WU Board at their June meeting.
The P&D committee wants to ensure the neighborhood is part of the decision making process for the future of the Water Utility operations center. There was a consensus that as many of the existing jobs at the WU operations and fleet service should stay in the Capital East District as possible to implement the employment goals of the CE district. MNA P&D members requested more communication with the city about the location of the parking ramp. Since a Citizen Advisory Panel process was established it should be continued and include neighborhood stakeholders.
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