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BACKGROUND

The Regent Street – South Campus Planning area covers approximately 90 acres located generally between Camp Randall Stadium and the Kohl Center, and between Regent and Johnson Streets. It includes both sides of Regent Street. The neighborhood is close to downtown and several major institutions, such as Meriter and St. Mary’s Hospitals. Thoroughfares bordering the area carry a combined 60,000 cars per day, providing exposure to many people who don’t live in the immediate area. It is an important and visible part of the community.

In general terms, the planning area can be described as having two distinct, but closely interrelated sub-areas. The first is the Regent Street corridor. It is typical of an older, neighborhood commercial district primarily accommodating businesses that serve the surrounding area, including a significant population of university students. Although it appears to be a good business location, the physical nature of the corridor is reflecting its age.

The second sub-area lies north of Regent Street to the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. It is characterized by a mix of land uses, including University buildings and facilities and several student-oriented housing projects. Much of this area too is showing its age and possesses a number of parcels that have the potential for redevelopment. In fact, recent interest in the redevelopment of some sites for student housing projects that are much taller and more dense than what has been built in the past (including the recent past), has increased the awareness of the need for a plan to keep the future of the area from being decided on a parcel-by-parcel basis, and to ensure that the neighborhood evolves as a great and sustainable neighborhood in the future. Such projects have the potential to change many of the urban dynamics of the area and have raised questions about their effect on the future of this and surrounding neighborhoods. This is a transition area between the campus and the community, and careful consideration must be given to this interface.

Several surrounding neighborhoods have, or are in the process of creating, neighborhood plans, and the University has recently completed a Campus Master Plan (which includes some of the land within this planning area). In addition, special corridor plans have been created for Monroe Street and Park Street. Despite the extensive planning efforts in the areas surrounding the Regent Street – South Campus Neighborhood, it does not have a current detailed plan. Generalized land use recommendations are included in the recently adopted City of Madison Comprehensive Plan, but not to the level of specificity necessary to effectively guide the future of the area to a desired outcome.

The plan will focus primarily on land use and physical design issues, including developing a set of design guidelines that can be utilized in evaluating proposed development projects, addressing, at a minimum: allowable residential densities, building heights, building scale and massing. However, since the purpose of the plan is to guide the development and continuation of a complete, sustainable neighborhood, other issues will also need to be addressed, including retention/preservation of certain buildings and blocks, transportation issues (especially pedestrian, bicycle, and transit modes, and automobile parking), parks and open space, and creating a vibrant business district. In doing so, careful consideration will be paid to the functional and aesthetic relationships with the surrounding neighborhoods, the University, and the community as a whole. This will include a strategy for business retention and attraction along Regent Street and how these businesses integrate into the overall neighborhood.