Skip to main content

District 13

Alder Tag Evers

Image of Alder Tag Evers

Alder Tag Evers

Contact Information

Home Address:

2329 Keyes Av

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 Evers’ Blog

South Madison Plan Goes to Council Tonight

January 4, 2022 6:56 AM

Happy New Year everyone. New beginnings, new hope, and the courage to dream big as we move forward in 2022!

Tonight, at the first Common Council meeting of the new year, we will be discussing the South Madison Plan (SMP).

As a co-sponsor of the resolution to Adopt the South Madison Plan, I strongly support the majority of the SMP and believe it to be a positive step forward for this critical area of our City.

However, I believe the Plan can be improved with two modest changes involving the Thorstad Concept Area, one of three concept areas included in the Plan:

A) Swap out the original Thorstad Focus Area and swap in the Thorstad Focus Area Alternative as articulated by staff in response to Boards/Commissions/Committees (BCC) input and included in the SMP Presentation to Plan Commission on December 13, 2021

B) Change the land use recommendations in the Thorstad Focus Area Alternative for Sections A & B from Low Residential to Low-Medium Residential, still allowing for single-family detached homes, but also allowing for other building forms, including townhouses and row houses.

Following SMP's introduction on November 2, 2021, the SMP went to seven BCCs before landing at Plan Commission on December 13, 2021. In response to BCC input calling for more density in the Thorstad Concept Area, staff prepared a Thorstad Concept Area Alternative, which was included in the staff presentation to Plan Commission.

The original Thorstad Concept Area included the following:

  • Low Residential category consists of 104 single family homes (54 - 4000 sqft lots plus 50 cottage homes)
  • 16 units of low-medium residential described as townhouses presumably owner-occupied
  • 120 units in two 5-story mixed used bldgs.
  • Total units 240, 120 of which are suggested as owner-occupied.

The Thorstad Concept Area Alternative made modest changes:

  • Low Residential increased to 115 single family homes (65 - 3000 sqft lots plus 50 cottage homes)
  • 44 units of townhouses presumably owner occupied
  • 240 units in two 8 - story mixed use buildings
  • Total units 399, 159 of which are designated as owner-occupied

The Alternative recommends an 11% increase in single-family detached homes, a 33% increase in homes designated for owner-occupancy, and a 66 % increase in overall density.  

(Note, there's no reason why all the units couldn't be stipulated for owner-occupancy. CDA is planning an owner-occupied affordable housing multi-family project in the northern section of the Village on Park redevelopment site.)

Changing the Low Residential section of the Thorstad Concept Area Alternative to Low-Medium would increase the total of Low-Medium zoned units from 44 to 159, a sizable increase of 261%. A range of housing options would be available, including, but not limited to, single-family detached homes.

Home ownership is the key, but we need to be careful not to conflate home ownership with single-family housing. There's no reason to limit ownership to those who purchase a single-family home.

The key question before us is this: Why not expand this option of affordable wealth-building to a greater number of residents, particularly given the high cost and relative scarcity of public resources to subsidize these units?  

It's indisputable that Madison is facing a profound housing crisis. It will only get worse if we do not concentrate our efforts on expanding housing options and increasing density in future neighborhoods like Thorstad.

It's also indisputable that we are in a global climate crisis. Single-family homes are less energy-efficient than townhouses, for example. Moreover, emphasizing low-density residential in Thorstad would require building more housing away from transit, which will not help us meet our critically important climate goals.

A variety of affordable housing options and building forms, including single-family, but also townhouses, row houses, and small to medium multi-family owner-occupied apartments, would effectively combine the goals of resisting gentrification and displacement while allowing for generational wealth-building.

It's a fallacy that single-family homes in Thorstad, in and of themselves, will stave off gentrification and displacement. Given that gentrification is a matter of affordability, the Plan recognizes the Thorstad neighborhood will require significant public investment to mitigate the otherwise deleterious impacts of the speculative real estate market. Which is why we should add density to this area to efficiently expand affordable home ownership options to a greater number of South Madison residents. 

Simply put, we would get more bang for our buck by offering a greater variety of housing forms all geared toward affordable ownership. 

Staff recommendations for the original Thorstad Concept Area do not comport with the direction the City is going with Transit-Oriented Development (TOD). The Plan recognizes TOD is necessary for the success of Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), while also being essential for the success of brick-and-mortar retail along South Park. The Plan recognizes a healthy retail mix makes for a walkable neighborhood, a desirable quality for residents.

In other words, a requisite amount of density is essential for the success of BRT and for the future vitality of the Thorstad neighborhood.

I understand the need for home ownership as a means of generational wealth-building, but I am not of the opinion a neighborhood heavily weighted in favor of single-family homes proximate to the future BRT line on South Park is the correct policy choice.

The SMP recognizes the desire for older empty-nesters in South Madison to downsize close to their neighborhoods, and to do so while retaining home ownership. We see this in District 13 on the near-west side with the condos above Trader Joe's on Monroe Street. There's not that much interest, however, in the "picket fence" option that the original Thorstad Concept Area is putting forth; elderly residents generally want to get away from yard work and snow shoveling.

By way of review: The Thorstad Concept Area Alternative increases single-family housing by 11%, home-ownership options by 33%, and density by 66%. The Thorstad Concept Area Alternative is a measured improvement over the original Thorstad Concept Area.

In fact, as I've noted above, all units should be designated as owner-occupied options, including those in the multi-family buildings along South Park. Staff and my Council colleagues are aware this can be done. The CDA project at Village On Park calls for an owner-occupied affordable housing/multi-family apartment building to be constructed in the northern-most section of the project area.

I have great sympathy for the argument that racist polices implemented by banks and allowed by the City in decades past limited home-ownership options, including single-family homes, for Black residents of South Madison. Unfortunately, FHA guidelines will severely restrict the City's ability to offer redress based on race. 

Nonetheless, with careful planning, I believe it's possible to embrace our shared values and policy priorities around racial equity, affordable housing, and climate change. It's imperative we don't make the mistake of placing these values in opposition to each other, but instead work diligently to harmonize them to the greatest extent possible.

I'll be bringing an amendment to the Council floor to include these two changes to the SMP. I encourage you to share your input on this matter.You may send comments to You can register your support or opposition to this agenda item (#47, Legistar 68084) at If you wish to speak at the virtual meeting on this agenda item, you must register. You can register at When you register to speak, you will be sent an email with the information you will need to join the virtual meeting.

Take care, stay safe, and be careful on the ice!


Email to a friend Email to a friend

Subscribe to Email List

Subscribe to the District 13 – Alder Evers email list:

By participating on this list the Wisconsin Public Records Laws may subject your email address to disclosure to third parties. By selecting "Yes" you are requesting that we treat your email address that you have provided to this list as confidential and you are also stating that you would not participate in this service if the City is obligated to release your email address to such third party requesters.






1109 S. Park  1224 S. Park  2020 Census  2020 Referenda  5G Technology  Accessory Dwelling Units  Affordable Housing  Affordable Housing Fund  Affordable Housing; Police Chief  Ahmaud Arbery  Alder Pay  Aldo Leopold  Alexis London  Allen Arntsen  Alleys  American Plan Rescue Act  Anisa Scott  Annie Stewart Fountain  Anthony Cooper  Anti-Racism  Arboretum  ARPA  Aurielle Smith  Badger Football  Bay Creek  Bayview  Bayview Foundation  Bicycling  Big Step  Bikeways  Biking  Black Lives Matter  Board of Parks Commissioners  Board of Public Works  Body Worn Cameras  Brandi Grayson  Brittingham Park  BRT  Brush Collection  Budget  Buildings Energy Savings Program  Bus Rapid Transit  C.A.R.E.S.  CARES Program  CDA  Cedar Street  City Budget  Civilian Oversight Board  Clean Lakes Alliance  Clean Streets/Clean Lakes  Clean Up  Clear Sidewalks  Climate Change  Common Council  Community Control  Community Input  Complete Green Streets  Composting  Computers  Corporate Power  COVID-19  Crime  Curbside collection  D13 Mask Brigade  D13 Neighborhood Alliance  D14 Alder Sheri Carter  Dairy Drive  Damond Boatwright  Dark Sky Ordinance  Defund The Police  Development  Development  Digital Inclusion  Diversity  Dog Parks  Dogs in Parks  Dudgeon Monroe  Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Assn  Earth Day  Earth Week  Ecology  Economic crisis  Edgewood High School  Edgewood Stadium  Effigy Mounds  Elections  Encampments  Engineering Division  Environment  Environmental Justice  Environmental Racism  Eviction Prevention  F-35s  Family Definition  Finance Committee  Financial Assistance  Focused Interruption Coalition  Food Access  Food Deserts  Food Drive  Food Scraps Recycling  Forest Hill Cemetery  Forest Hills Cemetery  Forward Dane  Friend of Olin-Turville  Friends of Lake Wingra  Friends of Monona Bay  Friends of Olin-Turville  Gallery Night  Gaylord Nelson  Gentrification  George Floyd  Glen Golf Park  Glenway Golf Course  Glenway Golf Park  Glenway Woods  Good Neighbor Gathering  Goodman Pool  grassroots leadership  Green Infrastructure  Green New Deal  Greenbush  GreenPower Program  Grocery Gap  Gun violence  Henry Vilas Zoo  Ho Chunk  Ho-Chunk Nation  Homeless Services  Hope  Housing  Housing Ordinances  Immigrant Rights  Independent Community Oversight  Internships  Jacob Blake  Jazz In The Park  Jeffrey Erlanger  John Muir  John Nolen Drive Reconstruction  Judge Everett Mitchell  Juneteenth  Kaleem Caire  Kenosha  Lake Monona Waterfront  Lake Weeds  Lake Wingra  Lakeside Street  Law Park  Leaf Management  Leaf Pick-up  Light Pollution  Listening Session  Local Preemption  Luna's Groceries  Madison Bike Week  Madison Fire Department  Madison Forward Fund  Madison Metro  Madison Parks  Madison Parks Foundation  Madison Public Library  Madison Water Utility  MaskUpMadison  Master Plan  Maurer's Urban Market  Mayor Satya  McGrath E. Olin Project  McGrath Project  McGrath Property Group  Men's Homeless Shelter  Metro Transit Network Redesign  MLK Day  MMSD  MMSD  Monona Bay  Monroe Street  Monroe Street Festival  Monroe Street Library  Move Madison Forward  Movin' Out  MPD  MPD  Nature  Neighborhood House  Neighborhood Indicators Project  New Day  New Grocery Store  Noise Pollution  Office Hours  Olin Ave  Olin Park  Oscar Mayer Special Area Plan  Parking Restrictions  Parks  Passenger Rail  Paul Wellstone  Pedestrian Safety  PFAS  PFAS  PFAS  Phosphorous  Pick N' Save  Plan Commission  Plan Commission  Planning Framework  Police & Fire Commission  Police Brutality  Policing  Property Assessment  Property Damage  Protests  Public Art  Public Health  Public Hearing  Public safety  Public Safety Review Commission  Racial Disparities  Racial Equity  Racism  Rain Gardens  Recycling  Recycling User Fee  Redistricting  Regent Street  Reindahl Park  Rental Assistance  Reparations  Resident Input  Resource Recovery Charge  Restorative Justice  Road Salt  Romnes  Rule Enterprises  Safe Streets Madison  Salt Routes  Sandbags  Schools  Schools  Service  Shared Streets  Shared Use Paths  Sidewalks  Snow Emergency Zone  Snow Removal  Snow Update  Social Distancing  Social Distancing  Solar  South Madison  South Madison Plan  South Park Corridor  Southwest Commuter Path  Spring cleaning  SROs  SSM  SSM Clinic  State Rep. Shelia Stubbs  State Street  State Street riots  State Street riots  Stormwater Retention  Streatery  Street Closings  Street Reconstruction  Street Repair  Streets  Sustainability  Sustainable Future  TFOGS  Tiny Homes  Together  Town of Madison  Traffic Calming  Traffic Impacts  Traffic Safety  Traffic Speed  Transit  Transit-Oriented Development  Transportation  Transportation Commission  Transportation Demand Management  Trash Collection  Tree Canopy  Tree Pruning  Trees  Triangle  Truax  Truman Olson  Urban Design Commission  Urban Forestry Task Force  Urban Triage  Vaccination  Vaccine Availability  Vaccines  VFW Redevelopment  Viewshed  Vilas  Vilas Park  Vilas Park Drive  Vilas Park Master Plan  Violence Prevention  Vision Zero  Volunteer Opportunities  Voter Registration  Voting  Walking  Water Conservation  Water Quality  Waterfront Planning  Watershed Studies  West High  White Militia Vigilantes  White Supremacy  Wingra Park  Wingra Proper Watershed Study  Wingra Triangle  Wingra Triangle  Winter  Winter Parking  Wonder Bar  Yard Waste  Zoning  Zoning Ordinance