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Alder Scott J. Resnick

Alder Scott J. Resnick

Home Address:
661 Mendota Ct # 1404
Madison , WI 53703

Phone: 608-807-7962
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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Zoning conflicts on Brooks Street

February 22, 2012 7:53 PM

After receiving approval at the Urban Design Commission, the Plan Commission determined to refer the discussion of a 14-unit, five story student apartment at 202-206 Brooks Street.

Before the referral, the commission raised two intriguing concerns with the proposed construction: city zoning and condemnation rights.

In regards to zoning, the project is zoned for campus development in accordance with the Regent Street Neighborhood Plan and 2005 Campus Master Plan. Only the Regent Street Neighborhood Plan has been accepted and approved by the City Council, and admittedly, one of its authors testified that the zoning on the 200 block of Brooks Street was not given much thought.

The proposal is similar to other new development on campus. The apartment building would replace two houses constructed around 1922 that have outlived their lifespan. The project would provide ample bike and moped parking, while utilizing sustainable building practices such as a blue roof. In general, committees have found the building itself suitable for campus.

City Staff and the UW oppose the construction. Since the ideal use for the property is academia, City Staff has recommended the project be placed on file (or in other words, terminated). This is because the University's long range plan calls for a 105,000 sq ft expansion of Education Sciences building and green space on these parcels. While this development would not block the expansion, the eventual academic building would be taller and include substantially less green space.

However, the University does not have a timeline for the new expansion. And although the University had a purchasing opinion for the parcels, the University allowed these agreements to lapse in 2006.

To complicate matters, the property owner's lawyer has argued that by blocking the construction the University and City would effectively devalue the property. Primarily for this reason, the project has been referred to the March 5th meeting, in anticipation of an opinion from the city attorney.

Regardless of the final decision by the Plan Commission, this raises a number of questions concerning future land use and the University. Hopefully the city can work with the University to develop a precedent so conflicts within this neighborhood and the Spring Street neighborhood can be avoided in the future.

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