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
Marling Lumber development approved
At the Council meeting 3/29/16, I supported the zoning change from industrial to traditional employment, amending the land use recomendations in the Cap Gateway Corridor Plan for the Marling parcel and the adjacent parcel to the east to become Community Mixed Use, and the land use approval for the development proposal by the Campbell Capital Group for the Marling Lumber site at 1801 E Washington. The development proposes to add 228 residential units and 20,000 sf of commercial space. The building is four stories along E Wash and steps down to two stories at E Main St and the river.
I think the proposal, while not meeting all of our neighborhood goals, did respond to many of the concerns from neighbors and staff and was improved by the public process. I appreciate that MNA continued to push for affordable housing and setbacks along the Yahara but respectfully disagree with their conclusion to not support the project.
?In addition to two neighborhood meetings, the joint MNA and SASY preservation and development committee, adjacent neighbors and Friends of the Yahara River Parkway were in very active conversation with Michael Campbell and the Campbell Capital Group from the very beginning regarding affordable housing and a range of other issues including connections to and setbacks from the Yahara River Parkway, parkway path connections to E Main St, residential entrances on E Main St that are compatible with existing homes across the street, protecting terrace trees, traffic impact on E Main St, building materials, and treatment of the E Washington facade and corner tower.
The developer has proposed a townhome style approach to E Main St with individual entrances and stoops. They propose to allow the sidewalk to go onto their property to save an additional four canopy street trees.
Working with Parks and Engineering staff, the developer agreed to provide an easement to allow a public sidewalk from E Wash along the riverfront side of their building to E Main St. This is a compromise from purchasing more land for the parkway but it creates a condition where the developer will maintain this public benefit and create a connection that didn't exist before. There may have been additional remnant land to purchase but Parks staff thought most people wouldn't realize it was for public use and thus not be a good use of public investment.
After much study of the hairpin sidewalk in the parkway from E Wash to the bike path under the bridge, Engineering and Parks staff determined it was still needed. The ramp takes up a lot of space but the grade change is significant. There will be a new connection and easement from the proposed sidewalk to the bike path to allow improved access. The design is still in progress and will be reviewed by UDC
In response to concerns from the Landmarks Commission, the developer changed its treatment of a courtyard facing the river and simplified building materials to make it visually less intrusive. The Yahara River Parkway is a local landmark and on the National Register of Historic Places. The developer must address overall lighting at UDC before they get final approval. They were also specifically asked to ensure lighting affecting the parkway is not intrusive.
There are three internal courtyards and all will provide stormwater infiltration because they do not sit on top of a parking structure. The parking structure is a four story structure accessible to the adjacent residential sections of the development. There will be more pervious surfaces than exist now. UDC will also review the stormwater plan before final approval.
The corner tower at E Washington frontage was addressed. There will be a grade change to bring the building closer to street level and the treatment of green space at the corner was improved. UDC requested review of the facade treatment along E Wash and that is still being reviewed.
From the beginning, the developer was asked by the neighborhood steering committee and staff about including affordable units in the project. The developer stated repeatedly that they were a market rate housing developer and not experienced with seeking tax credits or using other affordable housing funding tools. MNA asked them to take a look at some of the WHEDA loan instruments besides Section 42 tax credits and at Plan Commission on 3/28 they stated they would do more research. The city can't require a developer to provide affordable units in the land use approval process because Wisconsin Statute 66.1015 prohibits rent contral by municipalities.
Reps from MNA, SASY. TLNA and neighborhood community development experts have wrtten a draft report about Isthmus neighborhood goals for affordable housing. I strongly support this effort and hope the final report will be widely circulated. We need both market rate and affordable units to make a dent in the very low rental vacancy rates in the city. We clearly need more affordable units to make sure that our city provides residents with a range of price points, especially in the central core of the city.
The city has created an Affordable Housing Fund whose goal is to award $1M a year to local developers in advance of deadlines for WHEDA Section 42 tax credits application to help applicants get more points in the competitive scoring process. In 2014, the proposal for transitional housing and wraparound services for chronically homeless individuals at Rethke in D15 got tax credits, it should open this spring. Last year, two projects got Section 42 tax credit awards - at Union Corners and Tennyson Lane in D12- construction timelines TBD. Stonehouse is applying for a tax credit award for this year for the Madison Dairy site on E Wash. A developer on S Park St also received land use approval for an affordable housing project and is seeking Sec 42 for this year. Our east isthmus neighborhoods have been the beneficiary of this program.
WHEDA will be announcing their awards for Section 42 tax credits this month. Generally speaking, Section 42 projects are mixed use with some market rate units, some units targeted for workforce housing (50% area median income) and some units provided for very low income individuals (30% area median income). They must also be located in qualifying census tracks. The Marling site was not in a qualifying census track.
The development adds residential density (58 dwelling units per acre) that complements the character of the surrounding residential neighborhood. Most adjacent residents were thrilled by a four story building that stepped down to the river and to E Main from E Wash. The zoning change from industrial to TE made sense to me because it is more consistent with the surrounding area. Some neighbors hoped that the setbacks along the river could be increased but this could not be achieved without changes to the design that the developer was not willing to make. As it stands, the developer exceeds the setbacks required by Urban Design District 8 along the Yahara Parkway.
We need to continue to work with developers from the beginning, as we did with this group. to seek inclusion of affordable units. Through this process, we learned more about the different types of affordable housing products out there - we need to continue to educate ourselves and developers to help them meet the needs of the community.
After looking at the Marling proposal in totality, I support it. Several details still need to be addressed by UDC, I will post meeting information on the list serve.
I want to thank everyone for participating in this process.
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