Alder Marsha A. Rummel,
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 August 2014
Public Market District proposed for E Washington at 1st Street
The Madison Local Food Committee, which has been leading the public market effort for over two years, passed a motion on July 29, 2014 recommending that the city move forward with the E Washington and 1st St as the preferred location for the Madison Public Market District. If the resolution is approved by the Common Council, the city's Office of Real Estate Services will begin negotiations with the owners of the privately held portions of the E Washington site. The Madison Local Food Committee recommended that the Park St and North side sites be considered as alternative locations. The Committee also called on the Mayor, Common Council, Food Policy Council, and City staff to continue to explore ways to address food access issues throughout the community. The resolution will come before the September 2 meeting of the Council for adoption.
Advocates for the South side location may ask the Common Council to reconsider the decision.
I have supported the Public Market concept through many budget cycles and two mayoral administrations. Initially proposed for the Brayton lot in the First Settlement neighborhood, Mayor Cieslewicz decided it was not a suitable location. In 2009, I was able to convince my Council colleagues to support a budget amendment to study other locations. In May 2010, the Mayor selected the Government East parking lot as the best choice among the sites studied. The Public Market eventually would become part of planning for the downtown high speed rail station. When Mayor Soglin was elected in 2011, the downtown location for the Public Market was jettisoned. Mayor Soglin preferred a "gritty not pretty" location and urged the newly created Local Food Committee to look at locations that would provide less expensive rents for vendors, more affordable prices for customers, expand job opportunities in the local food economy, and create a vibrant and diverse public space. The Committee has urged the city to pursue a food district, not just a standalone retail public market, which would provide options for wholesale and retail sales.
Landmarks Ordinance revisions
After several years of work, the Landmarks Commission has recommended a new draft ordinance that was introduced to the Common Council on July 1. At the initiative of several alders, including myself, the Common Council created the Landmarks Ordinance Review Committee to create a public engagement process to discuss procedural changes to the Landmarks Ordinance (Phase 1). The Committee will finalize the recommendations and report to the Common Council by October 7, 2014. The Landmarks Commission will begin a review of specific historic district criteria (Phase 2) soon and initiate a public engagement process for local residents. I serve on both committees and will keep you informed about meetings that affect the Third Lake Ridge Historic District.
Quiet Zone update
The city has approved a contract to install signals and crossing gates at Baldwin, Dickinson and Thornton with funds from the 2014 Capital budget. This is the first step toward creating a Quiet Zone in this area. Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) regulations 49 CFR 222 and 229 establishes procedures and standards for the establishment of Quiet Zones within a municipality. At a minimum a quiet zone must have signals and gates at every railroad crossing within the Quiet Zone and be at least (½) one half of a mile in length. In a quiet zone, railroads have been directed to cease the routine sounding their horns when approaching at grade crossings once improvements have been made. Train horns may still be used in emergency situations or to comply with other Federal regulations or railroad operating rules.
The FRA regulates train safety, not the city. Train horns must be sounded in a standardized pattern of 2 long, 1 short and 1 long blasts if no quiet zone is in place. The pattern must be repeated or prolonged until the lead locomotive or lead cab car occupies the at grade railroad crossing. The rule does not stipulate the durations of long and short blasts. The maximum volume level for the train horn is 110 decibels which is a new requirement. The minimum sound level remains 96 decibels.
If you are interested in the status of funding for future Quiet Zones, the upcoming 2015 capital budget process will be the place to get information. You can go to the City's website and access the Agencies tab, select Finance. Please email Mayor Soglin at email@example.com to urge him to continue to invest in Quiet Zones and improve the quality of life for residents from Blount to Waubesa St. And please send letters of support to firstname.lastname@example.org once the budget is introduced in early Sept.
Bike Path Improvements at Brearly St.
At Ped Bike Motor Vehicle Commission July 22, the Commission got an update about improvements to Brearly St. Staff recommends adding traffic control for motor vehicles Brearly St and the bike path. I've copied most of the memo from Traffic Engineer David Dryer below. The complete memo is in legistar along with the map from Blount to Waubesa with proposed improvements and minutes from Feb 2013 PBMVC meeting that launched this initiative. I have worked with MNA and SASY traffic committees to improve safety along the Capital City bike corridor and will continue to work on future phases.
"As indicated last spring, Phase 1 of the project is proceeding this year (page two of the enclosed plans). The intersection of Brearly Street with the Capital City Path will have traffic control reversed, requiring Brearly Street traffic to come to a stop, and giving right-of-way to path users. This conversion necessitates the installation of an additional streetlight to maintain nighttime visibility. The streetlight base, to be installed by the contractor, is expected to be in by September of this year. Upon completion, we will monitor the conversion, determine compliance with Brearly Street traffic giving right-of-way to path users, and record public comments. We will move forward with conversion of the other path locations in 2015 as City Engineering and Traffic Engineering budgets allow."
1216-1226 Williamson St.
At the August 4th Landmarks Commission meeting, the Commission approved a Certificate of Appropriateness for a new exterior alteration in a historic district. In the application to LC, the property owners, Madison Appliance Parts Inc., stated that they had moved to a new location, and the owner sought to remodel the street façade and add two new glass entry systems to the building. A salon and already existing local restaurant are interested in becoming tenants.
740 Jenifer St/739 Williamson St.
Michael Matty is proposing to divide the through lot parcel and construct a new 3.5 story, 12-unit apartment building with six structured parking spots on the Williamson St side of the parcel. The historic home on the Jenifer St side would be renovated, including demolition of the addition on the back. The project was at the Landmarks Commission on July 21 and received a Certificate of Appropriateness for demolition of the addition to 740 Jenifer and on August 4 received a Certificate of Appropriateness for the new construction and an advisory opinion to the Plan Commission in support of the land division. The proposal is scheduled for August 20th for UDC, August 25th for Plan Commission and September 2nd for the Common Council.
702-706 Williamson St.
Marty Rifken applied for a demolition and conditional use permit to construct a 6 story mixed-use building containing 7,800sf of commercial space and 55 apartments. On July 17, I filed an appeal of the Plan Commission's July 7th, 2014 decision to grant conditional use for the project because no commercial entrances were shown in the renderings submitted by the developer but ground floor articulation for commercial entries is required in the zoning code for the TSS district. Considering the public interest in protecting and appropriately developing in the Third Lake Historic District and with the general consensus that the 700 block is the gateway to the historic district, I decided to file the appeal to insure that design standards required in the zoning code are carefully reviewed by the Plan Commission and not by Planning Division staff after the proposal is adopted.
I will request that the Council refer the decision back to the Plan Commission in order to insure a public review of the design of street level entries at this important corner. The appeal was introduced on August 5 and referred to a public hearing to be held during the Common Council meeting of September 2. I will need 2/3 vote of the Common Council to modify the decision of the Plan Commission. I have been in contact with Mr. Rifken who is willing to address my concerns about the ground floor commercial entries. I welcome his offer but I also want to have the discussion with my Council colleagues about the policy questions raised by conditional use approval process. In the old zoning code, most new developments were Planned Unit Developments and would go to Urban Design Commission to address design standards. A proposal would never move forward that did not have commercial entries shown. Now, only the Plan Commission reviews conditional use applications and I want to insure there is the opportunity for public input on all required design elements .
722-734 Williamson St.
Last August, the Baldwin Development Group proposed to construct a 10 story mixed use building. They worked with the neighborhood to refine their plans which now call for an 8 story mixed-use building with 5,425sf of commercial space, 2,375sf of co-working space, and 209 apartments. On July 8, the developer asked for an indefinite referral while they investigate the city's position and timeline on their TIF request. The developers are requesting approximately $5.9M TIF loan to construct the underground parking in response to requests from me and many immediate neighbors to reduce the height of the project to be more in line with BUILD II recommendations. But it turns out that TID 36 only has $1.5M available. There will need to be additional discussion with elected policymakers about future options for TID 36.
Paterson St.Operations Facility Update.
On June 24, the Water Utility Board voted to reconstruct and remodel the Paterson Street Operations center at its current location and authorized WU staff to amend the Mead and Hunt contract to add final design, bidding, and construction services. The 2006 plan to rebuild the Operations Center will be updated and brought before the neighborhood, and reviewed by UDC and the Common Council. The WU has funds in this year's capital budget for construction. The building facade will be retained and several feet of height will be added to the building to enable lifting vehicles for repair. Additional landscaping will be included. There will also be improvements to the yard and fence surrounding the E Main St side of 'Big Blue', the fleet building across the street, as part of the final design.
There is a commitment by the Mayor and city staff to continue working with adjacent property owners – MGE, the Mullins Group, Common Wealth Development and Union Pacific- to look at the former railroad track spur right of way for new uses and to continue to look for a location for a parking structure in the Cap East District close to Breese Stevens. The Operations building had seemed to be a good location for a potential parking structure and that idea interrupted the planning process for remodeling the facility. Planning and Water Utility staff reviewed 10 options prepared by Mead and Hunt and Planning Division staff. I was satisfied that staff did their due diligence, but disappointed that some interesting options for using the WU parcels were not possible. Unfortunately the timing did not work for a parking structure or some hybrid of office and parking structure at this location.
The June 19th announcement of a mixed use redevelopment of the Madison Dairy Produce site on the 1000 block of E Washington by Stonehouse Development that includes a proposal by Frank Productions to construct a 2000 seat entertainment venue has increased pressure to develop structured parking options in the Cap East District.
Yahara Parkway planning
Planning staff has held four well-attended meetings beginning last September to review seven existing plans that make recommendation for the historic parkway and to update planning visions for the Yahara River Corridor. Staff has been gathering input and presented three concept plans at a meeting July 16 for residents and stakeholders to review and evaluate. The three corridor option plans can be found here: http://www.cityofmadison.com/planning/yahara.html
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