Info and Updates for the Week of February 12, 2023
Greetings friends and neighbors,
Here are some in-district and citywide updates that may be of interest!
Scheduled Parks Burn
Please be advised that Madison Parks will be burning brush piles today (2/13/23) at Door Creek Park (7035 Littlemore Drive). Staff will be on site between 8 AM and 2PM. Megan McCrumb will be the onsite contact and can be reached at 608-438-9665. Dane County 911 Dispatch has been notified of this work.
The burn is being done to dispose of invasive, non-native shrubs that have been cut to restore the oak woodland at these sites, and allow native plants to flourish.
WisDOT US 51 (Stoughton Road) South Study
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has begun preliminary efforts and coordination for an environmental study of the US 51 (Stoughton Road) south corridor from Voges Road in McFarland to the WIS 30 interchange in Madison. The environmental study includes 4.5 miles of US 51 (Stoughton Road) in Dane County and will evaluate options that address safety, existing and future traffic operations, safety and aging infrastructure. During the study, WisDOT will obtain feedback and input from residents, local officials, and businesses along the corridor. Public input is essential to successfully study, design, and modernize this corridor. The kick off meeting will occur this week, on Thursday February 16, 3-4:30pm at WiSDot’s Southwest Region Office (2101 Wright Street). There is also a remote option for those who wish to attend virtually:
Join on your computer, mobile app or room device
Meeting ID: 255 338 313 730
Or call in (audio only)
+1 608-571-2209,,534308415# United States, Madison
Phone Conference ID: 534 308 415#
More information about the study, timeline and opportunities to provide feedback can be found on the project’s webpage https://wisconsindot.gov/Pages/projects/by-region/sw/us51-corridor/southstudy.aspx. I will be in attendance and share out information via email updates and social media.
Save the Date – Coffee with a Cop 2/21/23
February’s Coffee with a Cop event will be hosted at the MPD East District Station (809 S Thompson Dr) next week Tuesday 2/21 from 11am-noon. There is also a virtual option for those who cannot attend in person: Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 893 2209 4825
One tap mobile
+13126266799,,89322094825# US (Chicago)
8778535257,,89322094825# US Toll-free
Proposed Revision to the Family Definition Zoning Ordinance
Tonight the Plan Commission will take up the Family Definition Revision for zoning purposes. This proposal has been of particular interest of south/southwest/central districts but ultimately impacts the entire city. In short, the family definition revision is a proposal to have equal standards for renters and homeowners regarding the maximum number of residents allowed to live in a housing unit. Building Inspection staff is responsible for overseeing zoning regulation and enforcement and has set up a webpage with more information and context on the proposal.
I signed on as a co-sponsor early into discussions about the proposal. The following are a few reasons I’ve chosen to support the proposal:
- More than half of the City of Madison’s population is renters and almost half are rent-burdened, meaning they pay more than 30% of their income on housing.
- This ordinance change would open up more housing options for renters and effectively increase the housing supply, while current supply is very constrained
- I agree with Mayor Rhodes-Conway assertion that the current definition is a prime example of the zoning code being weaponized against Madisonians of color
- Enforcement is also discriminatory as many renters are currently in living situations that violate the (current) ordinance. However, enforcement is almost always instigated by a neighbor complaint and pretexts for racially and culturally motivated grievances
While I understand and empathize with some of the (negative) situations households and neighborhoods have experienced, I do believe we have an opportunity to mitigate concerns that have been brought up during public meetings and engagement with constituents. I also believe we have a responsibility to investigate and consider unintended consequences. One of the consequences that has been brought up – inducing a wave of real estate speculation – would create additional risk to housing affordability in our city. Speculation can often gentrify neighborhoods and displace poor residents by bringing in more affluent buyers and renters. I plan to support the Mayor and Alders Vidaver and Evers requests of the Plan Commission to refer the proposal to a future meeting to give staff more time to investigate the issue. Feel free to use the following links to attend the meeting, register your support or opposition, as well as register to speak.
Plan Commission Meeting of Monday February 13, 2023; 5:30pm
Another meeting of interest this week is the Economic Development Committee as they will be taking up a proposal to establish a building energy savings code and update the bond schedule accordingly.
Economic Development Committee Meeting of Wednesday February 15, 2023; 5pm
I hope you have an enjoyable week and the warmer weather and sun help reduce the remaining slippery roads and sidewalks this week!
All the best,
Mail It Back Monday: Monday, February 13, 2023 - 8:00am to 5:00pm. Voters who have yet to return their absentee ballot are encouraged to put the ballot in the mail no later than today.
Food: A Cultural Culinary History: Monday, February 13, 2023 - 1:30pm to 3:30pm. This course explores the history of how humans have produced, cooked and consumed food through the ages. It covers the cultures of the world and the foods that have affected history.
West Area Plan Kickoff Meeting #3 (Virtual ): Monday, February 13, 2023 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm. The City of Madison invites you to join us for the third public meeting to kick off the West Area Plan! This virtual meeting will include the same content and opportunities for questions and feedback as the first two public kickoff meetings hosted for this plan.
ePantry: Food Pantry: Tuesday, February 14, 2023 - 8:00am to 4:30pm. The Madison Senior Center is now a pick-up location for orders placed through the River Food Pantry ePantry.
Deadline to Request Absentee Ballot by Mail: Thursday, February 16, 2023 - 8:00am to 5:00pm. For most voters, today is the deadline for the Clerk's Office to receive your request that an absentee ballot be sent to you. The Clerk's Office must receive your absentee ballot by Election Day in order for your ballot to be counted.
Hospitalized Absentee Voting Begins Today: Tuesday, February 14, 2023 - 8:00am to 4:30pm. Voters who are hospitalized may appoint an agent to to pick up their ballot from the City Clerk’s Office, beginning today.
HUD-Approved Homebuyer Education Class (2-Part Class) (February 15 and 22): Your Path to Homeownership is provided by La Casa de Esperanza, a Non-Profit HUD Approved Housing Counseling Agency dedicated to assisting individuals and families to increase income, build savings and gain assets.
Digital Scams: Wednesday, February 15, 2023 - 10:00am to 11:00am. Swindlers and scammers have always been around, but our digital world seems to provide them even more opportunities. Stay alert and know what to watch for.
Voices of Color: Thursday, February 16, 2023 - 10:00am to 11:00am. February is Black history month, and we are excited to introduce Dr. Linda Vakunta, Deputy Mayor of Madison. Dr. Vakunta works with housing and human service issues for the City, and she was recently named as one of Wisconsin’s 52 Most Influential Black Leaders in 2022.
Law Enforcement Recruitment Fair: Thursday, February 16, 2023 - 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Area agencies are always searching for compassionate people who are considering a career in law enforcement. Officers will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about their profession and community policing.
- City Launches Bilingual Community Connector Program for Increased Language Access and Equity: Enoch Melgarejo and Holly Chen have joined the Department of Civil Rights as Bilingual Community Connectors in the City of Madison’s new Community Connector Program, one of the few government programs of this kind in the country.
- Public Test of Election Equipment This Saturday: The City of Madison Clerk’s Office invites the public to observe its public test of election equipment this weekend.
- Madison Declares Snow Emergency; Overnight Alternate Side Parking Rules In Effect Citywide: A snow emergency has also been declared for the evening of February 9, 2023. Alternate side parking rules will be in effect for the entire City of Madison for the next two evenings to assist with clearing the roads.
- Concerned about crime? Watch Madison Police Chief deliver the State of Public Safety Address on Friday: The Madison Police Department remains committed to providing the highest level of service to the Madison community.
- Mayor Rhodes-Conway Statement on Chief Barnes' State of Public Safety Address: I want to thank Chief Barnes for his work to make our community even safer than it already is. He and I both understand that seeing the effects of violence on our neighborhoods or in the news makes us feel unsafe.
- Interested in a career in law enforcement? Come to our recruitment fair!: The Madison Police Department, along with other law enforcement agencies and higher education institutions, is hosting a law enforcement recruitment fair Feb. 16.
- Mayor and Alders Introduce Legislation to Encourage Affordable Housing Development Downtown: Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, along with Alders Patrick Heck, Erik Paulson, Mike Verveer and Jael Currie, will introduce legislation to the Madison Common Council Tuesday that would encourage the development of more affordable housing downtown.
- Media Kit Available for 2023 Spring Primary: The 2023 Spring Primary Media Kit prepared by the Madison City Clerk's Office is now available to help answer questions about statistics, processes and procedures for the upcoming primary election.
- Madison Fire Celebrates Four Sprinkler Saves During Month of January: The Madison Fire Department rang in the new year celebrating four "sprinkler saves," where automatic fire sprinklers were credited with catching and containing fires that occurred in our community.
- Mayor Rhodes-Conway Urges Working Families to Claim Their Earned Income Tax Credit: Mayor Satya-Rhodes Conway is reminding Madison residents who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to take the steps necessary to claim their benefits.