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District 19

Alder Keith Furman

Image of Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

Contact Information

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

District 19 Blog

UW Health Expansion, Family Definition and Other Highlights for the Week of February 27, 2023

February 26, 2023 2:20 PM

Virtual Neighborhood Meeting UW Health's planned expansion at 750 University Row - Monday at 6pm

Learn about UW Health's proposed planned expansion at 750 University Row. The expansion will add up to 180,000 square feet onto the UW Health Digestive Health Center building. The project will occur immediately south of the existing building and will replace the present surface parking lot with a building and structured parking. The proposed expansion would be a major alteration to the PD (GDP-SIP) zoning for University Crossing, which will be reviewed by Urban Design Commission (UDC), Plan Commission, and Common Council.

You can join the virtual meeting using your computer, smartphone, or tablet, or you can listen in via telephone. You will receive login information after registering at

Presentation on the 2022 Madison-Kanifing Sister City Visit - Tuesday at 5:30pm

We hope you can join us on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, for the Madison-Kanifing Sister City Visit Presentation! This event will meet in a hybrid format and starts at 5:30 pm.


Common Council - Tuesday at 6:30pm

The Common Council will meet in hybrid format on Tuesday, February 28, 2023. Agenda items include commending William Schaefer, Transportation Planning Manager for the Greater Madison MPO, on his retirement after nearly 25 years of dedicated public planning service and amending supplemental regulations within Section 28.151 MGO and definitions within Section 28.211 of the Madison General Ordinances to update definitions of "Family".

Sharing Alder Patrick Heck's Family Definition explanation which I agree with:


Family Definition Table

Common Council to Consider "Family Definition" on Tuesday

After unanimously passing Plan Commission, what is being referred to as a revision of the "Family Definition" in our zoning code will be considered by Common Council at our Tuesday, Feb. 28 meeting.

The proposed changes address several matters but are primarily focused on the unequal treatment of renters and homeowners and related inequities in our current ordinances. That unequal treatment is shown in the table above.

Here is the analysis of the proposed changes by city staff:

DRAFTER'S ANALYSIS:    This proposed ordinance amends several sections of MGO Chapter 28 in order to change the current definition of "family" in the zoning code. The family definition restricts the number of people who can live in an apartment or house together based on the zoning district, their ownership status or their relational status. The original intent of the family definition was to protect single family neighborhoods from college student renter households and was added to Madison's zoning code in 1966. Today, the restrictive family definition negatively impacts Madison's goals of increasing housing supply and equity. This proposed ordinance change expands the definition of family in order to expand housing options and equity.

Currently, over one third of land area in Madison is zoned to prohibit more than two unrelated renters from living together. In these same areas, owner-occupied housing units can house up to five unrelated individuals. These zoning districts are primarily lower density districts with single family houses. Other zoning districts allow a maximum of five unrelated individuals. A family could also be related individuals with up to four unrelated roommates. People of color and lower income residents are disproportionately affected by the current zoning definition of "family" because they are more likely to be renters and more likely to need to share a housing unit to afford rent.

This proposed ordinance change removes the distinction between owner-occupied households and renter-occupied households; allows two related families with children/dependents to live together as one household; removes the distinction between some zoning districts and others by creating the same occupancy standard for all zoning districts which allow housing; and updates the family language discussing people with disabilities. Finally, references to "Dependency Living Arrangement" are removed throughout Chapter 28 since they are no longer needed with the change to the family definition. Dependency Living Arrangement allowed for two kitchens in a dwelling unit if not owner-occupied, but that carve-out is no longer needed as it will now be allowed.

You can read an even more detailed analysis of the proposed changes by Building Inspection and Zoning staff here and find additional materials and public comment here. Building Inspection has also created a webpage with information on the proposal, including recordings of two community informational meetings that were held earlier this month.

As a co-sponsor of these proposed changes, I agree with the analysis provided by Building Inspection and Zoning Staff in their memo.

Some are calling for additional studies of the potential negative impacts of the changes, or a delay in implementing them, while others oppose them altogether. I am skeptical that useful data and studies will be available and that the many variables that make any predictions of future housing markets virtually impossible will shed additional light on potential negative impacts of the proposed changes and I believe the discrimination should stop asap.


To see the full list of City meetings scheduled for the week, please consult the City meeting schedule.

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) construction starting Week of March 6th

Work is about to begin on Mineral Point Road, Whitney Way, and University Ave. starting the week of March 6, 2023, related to BRT. Construction will take place in stages between 2023 and 2024.

Public Information Meeting: West Side Construction Updates @ Tuesday, March 14 - 6:00 pm [Register Here]

There will be a virtual public information to learn about road work, construction timelines, and effects on traffic. Much of the work will require traffic control and lane closures.


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