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District 15

Alder Grant Foster

Image of Alder Grant Foster

Alder Grant Foster

Contact Information

Home Address:

3930 Anchor Dr

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 Foster’s Updates

Police Reform, CGR Development, Vision Zero - D15 Update 6/15/20

June 15, 2020 10:09 AM

New Cases/Day (red) and # of Inpatients (gray) in Dane County plotted against changes in public health restrictions during the first 3 months of this pandemic.

Last Week

  • Police Reform: Thank you to all that have written in over the past several weeks with calls for police oversight and reform. A resolution to create the Office of the Independent Monitor and Civilian Oversight Board by city ordinance was recommended by Finance Committee and Public Safety Review Committee last week and will be in front of the Common Council on Tuesday for a vote. Creation of both the office and board were the priority and foundational recommendations from the Madison Police Department Policy and Procedure Ad Hoc Committee Final Report that was published in October of last year and subsequently adopted by the Common Council. You can find more information about this committee and a link to the final report with all 177 recommendations here.

In addition to community control of policing, many of you have also been asking for budgetary reform in calls to Defund the Police. I strongly support shifting our funding away from measures that result in criminalization and incarceration and towards measures that improve public health and safety and will be working to push us in that direction with our 2021 budget.

  • 2021 Budget: It may sound like a broken record to hear that this year's budget will be one of the toughest ever, but it is certainly the case. Rising costs for salaries and benefits for city workers, projections of significantly reduced revenues, and the familiar but devastating levy limits have us looking at an initial $20-25,000,000 gap in the 2021 budget. Our Finance team provided an initial look at the big picture during last week's Finance Committee meeting. You can see their presentation here.

  • CGR Development Proposal: Over 60 people attended Monday's public information meeting to hear about a proposal to demolish the buildings at 3900 Monona Drive and 109 & 207 Cottage Grove Road and construct 191 apartments and 3,000 ft of new commercial space in their place. You can find renderings of the proposal and additional details in my previous blog post here.

While some in attendance spoke in favor of elements of the proposal, many shared concerns ranging from the significant loss of commercial space, to concerns about traffic and parking, to the lack of green space and trees proposed on the site. I've also received emails from a number of constituents both in support and against elements of the proposal as currently imagined.

Some neighbors have suspected that this proposal is a 'done deal' and that their opinion won't count. I can tell you with confidence that there is nothing certain with this proposal at this point and that your opinion does count. The public information meeting on Monday was the first step in a process that will take at least several months to unfold. This is an important issue for our community and I will continue to provide updates on where things are at and about how residents can participate in the process. Ultimately, the Plan Commission and Common Council will need to grant approval of several items before a proposal can move forward. I will share more information, including a more specific timeline, once the application is filed with the city. Some key milestones in the timeline will include:

  • Pre-application public information meeting (6/8/20)
  • 30-day waiting period begins (6/9/20)
  • Filing of demolition permit, rezoning, and conditional use applications (no sooner than 7/9/20)
  • Public Hearing at Plan Commission for demolition and conditional use requests (TBD)
  • Public hearing at Common Council for rezoning request (TBD)

In the meanwhile, I would encourage those interested in this project to review some of our adopted plans that will help guide the decision making for the Plan Commission and Common Council. Here are a few specific links for more relevant background:

  • Our Comprehensive Plan (Imagine Madison) is our primary policy document guiding land use decisions. Several sections speak to our goals of adding density and development inside the city where possible:
    • The Growth Framework Section (beginning on p. 14), shows this area as an identified transitioning "Activity Center".
    • The Land Use and Transportation Section (p. 36 of the document) recommends concentrating the highest intensity development along transit corridors, downtown and at Activity Centers.
    • The Neighborhoods and Housing Section (p. 48 & 50) includes Strategy 1: Create complete neighborhoods across the city where residents have access to transportation options and resources needed for daily living and Strategy 3: Increase the amount of available housing.
  • The Cottage Grove Road Activity Centers Plan adopted just a few years back provides for more specific recommendations related to housing density and commercial activity in this area.

Some have asked me what my position is on this development. At this point I am focusing on representing the questions and concerns of the adjacent neighborhoods to the developer and continuing to gather feedback. Ultimately, I will only support a project that helps to implement our adopted plans and that is a benefit to our community. There are a number of tradeoffs involved in that evaluation and a number of unanswered questions with the current proposal.

While I support the addition of desperately needed housing and feel that this is a location that can support it, I share a number of the concerns that have been raised so far and am especially concerned with the proposal to eliminate 30,000 square feet of affordable commercial space that has been the anchor for this corridor and for the adjacent neighborhoods for many decades. Stay tuned.

This Week

  • COVID Update: Public Health Madison & Dane County's most recent order moves us into 'Phase 2' of reopening this week. This allows for up to 50% occupancy at businesses and mass gatherings of up to 100 people outdoors (50 indoors). You can find their press release with additional details here. In spite of the continued relaxation of restrictions, they note that 1 in 4 people who recently tested positive in Dane County didn't know where they were exposed to COVID-19. A high percent of cases with no known route of disease transmission means there is likely a large number of people unknowingly spreading the disease in our community. To manage the epidemic and help prevent a spike in cases, they urge everyone in our community to:

    • Limit your social bubble
    • Minimize your trips out
    • Gather outside instead of inside
    • Continue to participate virtually
    • Get tested if you need it
    • Continue to maintain prevention measures
  • Allies Rally for Black Lives: Join allies, accomplices and co-conspirators in the fight for Black Lives this coming Monday, June 15 at 4pm and demand that Madison act now to defund the police and invest in Black people! Details here.

  • LENA Meeting: Also on Monday, Lake Edge Neighborhood Association will hold its monthly meeting online. You can find the  agenda here and meeting info here.

  • Common Council Meeting: This week's council meeting has several items of possible interest to D15 residents. You can see the full agenda, including information on how to submit a comment or register to speak on any item on the agenda here.

  • Alcohol License Review Committee: Two D15 items will be on the ALRC agenda on Wednesday. Please send me your input on either item so that I can share with the committee or find the details of how to provide comment via the published agenda here.

  • Assessment Notices & Open Book Process: Assessment notices will be mailed June 19. A period for "examination of the assessment roll" (open book) will begin June 22 and close July 3. You can find more details here.

  • Madison's 2020 Virtual Solstice Celebration!: The organizers of the Starkweather solstice celebrations have worked to create a virtual summer solstice this year. Click here for more details and for the participation link.

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