Alder Grant Foster
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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Alder Foster’s Updates
CGR Proposal Reconsidered Again, Dog Park Decision Explained - D15 Update 10/19/20
Eastside Dog Park Decision - In last week's update, I shared the results of the Eastside Dog Park survey and also shared that Parks staff will no longer be pursuing either option at this time. From the project website: "Based on Parks Division and Alder review of the online survey results and project correspondence record, neither east side dog park option has definitive community support to continue in the approval process. OB Sherry Park and Eastmorland Park are no longer under consideration as potential dog off-leash exercise areas."
Following that post, I received some questions from those in favor of moving forward with a new off-leash area wondering why the survey results (58% support vs 42% oppose for OB Sherry and 55% support vs 45% oppose for Eastmorland) didn't lead us to the opposite conclusion. Given the apparent majority support for both locations, it's a fair question.
The answer is nuanced, but generally boils down to two primary points. 1) The survey was one component of feedback collected and was not intended to serve as a binding vote. In addition to the survey results, staff and I received significant feedback via email (overwhelmingly opposed), petitions against both proposed locations signed by a significant majority of residents living closest to the proposed locations, as well as letters of opposition to both proposed locations from the Eastmorland Community Association. While the survey did identify a good amount of support for an off-leash area at both locations, it also confirmed significant opposition from neighbors as well. 2) Construction of an off-leash exercise area at either location would be a significant investment of Parks resources, costing well over $200,000. Making such an investment in one of our neighborhood parks should be something that is supported by much more than just a slight majority of neighbors. There are many other park improvements and amenities that would garner broader support and less opposition from the neighborhood. We are privileged to have one of the very best city park systems in the country, but funds for park improvements are limited and should be spent in ways that are welcomed and appreciated very broadly in our community.
I understand that this outcome is disappointing to some and comes as a relief to others. I appreciate everyone that took the time to weigh in and also ask that we all take a collective deep breath as we refocus our attention on some of the really significant issues facing our community right now including marked racial disparities, continued high rates of violent crime, an ongoing pandemic, and the beginnings of what could likely be a significant economic downturn. For more info on Dogs in Parks, including a list of existing off-leash areas, click here.
Cottage Grove Road Development Proposal up for Reconsideration Again - After being denied at Plan Commission and then reconsidered there, the zoning change needed for the proposed development that was denied at the last Common Council meeting is now again being reconsidered. See details below for info about registering and providing your comments to members of the Common Council ahead of Tuesday's meeting.
2021 Executive Operating Budget - The Finance Committee held their public hearing and received agency presentations on the proposed 2021 Executive Operating Budget last week. The Finance Committee will consider amendments at their meeting next week and then forward on a budget to the full Common Council for debate, additional amendments, and a final vote in November. Please send me any feedback or ideas for changes you'd like to see in next year's operating or capital budgets.
Other city updates:
- City of Madison Unveils Secure Absentee Ballot Drop Boxes - Click the link for locations, including most fire stations around town.
- In-Person Absentee Voting Begins Tuesday - Nearby locations for D15 residents include Pinney & Hawthorne libraries and Madison College - Truax campus.
- City of Madison Launches Financial Resources Hotline
- Reminder Brush Collection Over for 2020 & Raking Season Begins
- Drive-thru flu clinic for people without insurance – more information here
- MSCR is offering several outdoor program opportunities geared toward elementary- and middle school-aged participants and their families. To register, search for activities by course number on mscr.org, or call MSCR at 608-204-3000.
- The Tenant Resource Center has developed an online app to help renters determine if they qualify for the CDC moratorium on residential evictions for those who are unable to make rent payments due to economic hardship caused by COVID-19.
- Read more about the temporary halt in residential evictions
Milwaukee Street Special Area Plan Implementation - Four items on Plan Commission's agenda on Monday relate to the Milwaukee Street Special Planning Area. Items 7 & 8 add the proposed street network that was approved in the adopted plan to the official city map and update the zoning of the parcels within city limits to match the future use established in the plan. Items 5 & 6 approve an update to the City of Madison/Town of Blooming Grove cooperative plan and allow for early attachment of the Voit Farm area into the city. These are all items I support. You can find more details for the meeting as well as a link to register here.
Homeless Encampments - Also on Monday, the City-County Homeless Issues Committee will consider a proposal to Rescind Emergency Order #2 and Direct City Staff to Enforce Ordinances Against Encampments. While I agree with the urgency to create alternatives for those currently living in the encampments, I do not support this proposed resolution as it seeks to move people out with no alternative in place. I have been working closely with staff on identifying better emergency accommodations with a focus on having something in place before winter sets in. You can find the meeting details online here.
Common Council/Cottage Grove Road Proposal - As I shared above, the zoning change for the CGR proposal that was denied at the last Common Council meeting will be up for reconsideration on Tuesday. If the council votes to approve the zoning change this time around, the proposed development has a green light to proceed. As I've shared in the past, I do not support the current proposal as it would negatively impact the viability of the Cottage Road corridor to continue to serve as an activity center for the Lake Edge and Eastmorland neighborhoods and is contrary to our goals of creating and enhancing Complete Neighborhoods in the city. I have asked my colleagues to stand with area residents against the proposal in its current form and will ask them again on Tuesday to do the same.
A link to the meeting agenda and registration can be found here. You can register in support or opposition for item 60 (opposed meaning you do not support allowing the proposal to move forward). For those that are willing to provide comments virtually during the meeting, I would encourage you to do so. For those that would like to send written comments, you can send them via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other city meetings: There are a number of other city meetings of possible interest this week and you can find a full schedule here: https://www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/meeting-schedule
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Presidential Election - November 3, 2020
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