City of
Madison

District 12

Alder Syed Abbas

Image of Alder Syed Abbas,
Council President

Alder Syed Abbas,
Council President

Contact Information

Home Address:

P.O. Box 7671
Madison , WI 53707

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Abbas’ Blog

Tuesday June 1st Common Council Meeting: Zoning Ordinance

May 31, 2021 9:27 PM

Dear Neighbors, 

Tomorrow night, the Common Council will make an important decision on the City Zoning Codes. I've included below screenshots with details of the ordinance for your review.

Many areas in the City of Madison, as well as District 12, will be impacted by this zoning ordinance. The purpose of the ordinance is to change the conditional use thresholds and allowable densities in most multi-family residential districts to permitted use. In simple terminology, today developers need to go to the Plan Commission for conditional use to get project approval. If this ordinance passes as it is currently written, developers only need staff approval and do not need to go to the Plan Commission for approval. 

I've introduced an alternative ordinance which requires conditional use approval from the Plan Commission for all Multi-Family Buildings or Dwelling Units within a Mixed-Use Building constructed on any of the parcels in which any part lies within the F-35 65 dB area.

It is very important for me to make sure the community has the opportunity to provide input on development projects, especially areas where black and brown communities are disproportionately impacted by fighter jet noise. It is an environmental injustice to build housing in environmentally-impacted areas and it is simply wrong.

There are both compelling arguments in favor and in opposition to the ordinance. I have included zoning language for your review and examples below.

As always, I listen to your voices and really appreciate your feedback. 

The ordinance includes the following:

  • Increase the number of dwelling unit threshold at which a new multi-family or mixed-use building becomes a Conditional Use.
  • Reduce the amount of lot area and Usable Open Space (UOS) required per dwelling unit.
  • Modify/lower the amount of commercial space required in a mixed-use building before a Conditional Use is triggered.
  • Eliminate an automatic Conditional Use for buildings with occupancies of certain sizes.
  • Eliminate dispersion requirement for new development, which required an automatic Conditional use if a new two-family or multi-family building is proposed within 300' of existing two-family or multi-family building.
  • Increases the height of otherwise permissible 5-story buildings to 78' (up from 68', consistent with what we have seen since 2013).

A few relevant definitions to understand when reviewing these amendments:

Lot Area. The area of a horizontal plane bounded by the front, side and rear lot lines, excluding any wetland area or any area dedicated or reserved by easement to the public for stormwater management.

Usable Open Space. That portion of a zoning lot, outside of a required front or corner side yard, as extended to the rear lot line, that is available to all occupants for outdoor use. Usable open space shall not include areas occupied by buildings, driveways, drive aisles, off-street parking, paving and sidewalks, except that paved paths no wider than five (5) feet, and pervious pavement may be included in usable open space. Usable open space may include balconies and roof decks where specified in this ordinance.

Also, a mixed-use building is a building comprised of commercial space on the first floor and residential space above.

SR-V1:

  • Increase Conditional Use threshold to greater than 8 units (currently greater than 4 units)
  • Lower lot area per dwelling unit for multi-family development and singe family attached to 1500 sq. ft. (currently 8000 sq. ft. for a 3-4 unit)
  • Lower lot area per dwelling unit for two family development to 3000 sq. ft./unit (currently 4000 sq. ft./unit)
  • Lower multi-family development UOS per unit requirement to 160 sq. ft. 1 bedroom / 320 sq. ft. 2+ bedroom (currently 500 sq. ft. per unit)
  • Lower two-family development UOS per unit requirement to 500 sq. ft./unit (currently 750 sq. ft. per unit)
  • Eliminate dispersion requirement for new development, which required an automatic Conditional use if a new two-family or multi-family building is proposed within 300' of existing two-family, single family attached, or multi-family building.

SR-V2:

  • Increase Conditional Use threshold to greater than 24 units (currently greater than 8 units)
  • Lower lot area per dwelling unit for multi-family development and single family attached to 1500 sq. ft. (currently 2000 sq. ft.)
  • Lower lot area per dwelling unit for two family-twin to 3000 sq. ft./unit (currently 4000 sq. ft./unit)
  • Lower multi-family development UOS per unit requirement to 160 sq. ft. 1 bedroom / 320 sq. ft. 2+ bedroom (currently 500 sq. ft. per unit)

TR-C4:

  • Eliminate dispersion requirement for new development, which required an automatic Conditional use if a new two-family or multi-family building is proposed within 300' of existing two-family or three-unit building.

TR-V1:

  • Lower lot area per dwelling unit for 3-4 unit multi-family development and single family attached to 1500 sq. ft. (currently 2000 sq. ft.)
  • Lower multi-family development UOS per unit requirement to 160 sq. ft. 1 bedroom / 320 sq. ft. 2+ bedroom (currently 500 sq. ft. per unit)
  • Lower lot area per dwelling unit for two family two unit to 1500 sq. ft./unit (currently 2000 sq. ft./unit)
  • Eliminate dispersion requirement for new development, which required an automatic Conditional Use if a new two-family or multi-family building is proposed within 300' of existing two-family or multi-family building.

TR-V2:

  • Increase Conditional Use threshold to greater than 12 units (currently greater than 4 units)
  • Lower lot area per dwelling unit for multi-family development and single family attached to 1500 sq. ft. (currently 2000 sq. ft.)
  • Lower lot area per dwelling unit for two family two unit to 1500 sq. ft./unit (currently 2000 sq. ft./unit)
  • Lower UOS per unit requirement  to 160 sq. ft. 1 bedroom / 320 sq. ft. 2+ bedroom (currently 500 sq. ft. per unit)

NMX: 

  • Allow up to 12 units in a multi-family building as a permitted use, 13-24 units as a Conditional Use (currently greater than 4 units triggers Conditional Use)
  • Establish a maximum number of units for a multi-family building at 24 units (currently 12 units maximum)
  • Increase Conditional Use threshold for mixed-use buildings to greater than 24 units (currently greater than 8 units)
  • Lower lot area per dwelling unit multi-family building to 500 sq. ft. (currently 1000 sq. ft.)
  • Lower UOS per unit requirement to 40 sq. ft. per unit (currently 160 sq. ft. 1 bedroom / 320 sq. ft. 2+ bedroom)
  • Eliminate maximum building size triggers automatic Conditional Use (Currently 5,000 sq. ft. for a single occupancy, 10,000 sq. ft. for two or more occupancy buildings)
  • Eliminate requirement that a minimum of 75% of ground floor area be in non-residential use.
  • Reduces the required amount of ground floor frontage commercial space in a mixed-use building before a Conditional Use is triggered to 50% (currently 100% if lot is 40' or less in width,  75% all other circumstances).

CC-T:

  • Increase Conditional Use threshold for multi-family to greater than 36 units (currently greater than 24 units)
  • Increase Conditional Use threshold for mixed-use buildings to greater than 60 units (currently greater than 24 units)
  • Lower lot area per dwelling unit for a multi-family building to 500 sq. ft. (currently 750 sq. ft.)
  • Lower UOS per unit requirement  to 40 sq. ft. per unit (currently 160 sq. ft. 1 bedroom / 320 sq. ft. 2+ bedroom
  • Eliminate maximum building size triggers automatic Conditional Use (Currently 25,000 sq. ft. for a single occupancy, 40,000 sq. ft. for two or more occupancy buildings)
  • Eliminate requirement that a minimum of 75% of ground floor area be in non-residential use.
  • Reduces the required amount of ground floor frontage commercial space in a mixed-use building before a Conditional Use is triggered to 50% (currently 100% if lot is 40' or less in width, 75% all other circumstances).
  • Increase by-right height to 78' for a 5-story building (currently 68')

How this will affect each lot depends on the lot size and open space available on each lot.

Please see more examples below.

**Disclosure: The below images are only used for the purpose of providing examples; none of the properties are for sale or intended for promotion**

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