City of
Madison

District 13

Alder Tag Evers

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Alder Tag Evers

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Home Address:

2329 Keyes Ave
Madison , WI 53711

Council Office

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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Alder Evers’ Blog

Now Is Not The Time

May 1, 2020 3:53 PM

NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO RESOLVE A 25-YEAR OLD CONTROVERSY

Edgewood High School and its immediate neighbors have been in a protracted conflict over the issue of night games and the impact these games would have on nearby residents. This controversy has been going on since the mid-1990's.

It's not reasonable to attempt to resolve this controversy in the middle of a global pandemic. 

I am requesting Plan Commission turn down Edgewood's conditional use application for several reasons.

First, we are currently under a Safer At Home order, an order which has been extended to May 26. This restricts in-person communication among Edgewood's immediate neighbors, several of whom are elderly and not technologically proficient. This is an equity consideration, in that there is a barrier to resident participation.

But it goes beyond technology. Covid-19 has impacted the community.  Many of us know someone who has been infected. Others have lost jobs or experienced salary reductions.  Stress levels are at an all-time high.

I realize this is no different than elsewhere in the city. These factors alone do not merit delay. Plan Commission is an essential committee, and we are moving forward with essential business, including myriad development projects. Madison still has a housing crisis, and it's important to accommodate project timelines, notwithstanding the importance of resident input.

However, there is no sense of urgency in this application. Simply put, there remains no indication night games will be held this summer, nor is it clear that sports gatherings will be held this fall. 

I met with President Mike Elliot and Board President Steve Krantz on March 9 to discuss their application. At that time, I urged Edgewood to move slow with their application, to make a good faith effort to rebuild trust with the neighborhood. 

The application showed up two days later, on March 11. The application includes no restriction on the number of events, nor does it include the wall or sound barrier Edgewood previously proffered in recognition of crowd noise impacts.  In short, I can find little evidence my suggestion to move slowly was taken seriously.

At that March 9 meeting, I made it clear to Mr. Elliot and Mr. Krantz that they need to present their application to the Edgewood Neighborhood Liaison Committee. For reasons unclear to me, that meeting has not been held. Instead, it appears Edgewood's leadership prefer to meet with the two neighborhood association presidents, both of whom have expressed a preference for the Liaison Committee as the proper venue to review the application.

On March 24, as the reality of our current situation was made evident, I emailed President Elliot asking that he delay their application due to the many ways the pandemic has impacted the neighborhood.  I received no response.  I followed up with another email on April 29.  President Elliot did get back to me on April 30, declining my request to refer and indicating his intention to proceed.

Let it be noted that throughout 2019, the City of Madison engaged in considerable forbearance on Edgewood's behalf.  Though Edgewood's use of the so-designated practice field for athletic contests was found to be in violation of their Master Plan, the violations were never enforced, allowing Edgewood to hold over 70 games on their field in a single calendar year.  This contrary use was not negotiated with the neighborhood, was not permitted by law, but was nonetheless allowed.

On behalf of Edgewood's neighbors, I am asking for similar forbearance, one that recognizes there is no immediate need to resolve a 25-year old controversy in the middle of a global pandemic.

There is another reason, separate from the pandemic, that stands against a decision in favor of this application.  When I met with Mr. Elliot and Mr. Krantz on March 9, they made it clear that this application is but the first in a series of conditional use requests to achieve the complete build out of their stadium proposal.  While their current application is for lights only, lights are clearly a means to an end.  This application is of a piece with Edgewood's initial proposal to amend their Master Plan, i.e., to build a stadium on their athletic field with lights, amplified sound, expanded seating, concession stands, locker rooms, expanded schedules, etc. 

Rather than deciding this matter piecemeal, Plan Commission should be evaluating the applicant's long-term goals, stated openly and transparently, plans that must be submitted to the Liaison Committee for prior review and feedback.

In short, the timing is wrong, the process has been inadequate, and the application is incomplete.

I asked Edgewood in good faith to delay their application, a request made on behalf of Edgewood's immediate neighbors.  Edgewood refused this request.  I am very disappointed by their decision.

For this and all the reasons enumerated, I hereby request Edgewood's conditional use application be placed on file without prejudice.

Stay safe and be well.




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