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Alder Lauren Cnare

Alder Lauren Cnare

Home Address:
5218 Kevins Way
Madison , WI 53714

Phone: 608-235-9179

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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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Assessments up, signs down, Hwy 51 plans posted, and parks ideas needed
Posted April 14, 2015 at 8:50 PM

Going up!
City of Madison assessments were released last week and valuation in D3 increased overall. If you had a change in assessed value, you received a card this weekend with the change.

D3 has 4585 parcels on the tax rolls valued at $948, 022,700. This map shows the whole city by assessment district and you can see how valuation changed by assessment district.

It's both a blessing a curse when your home value changes – on one hand, it piques our pride and soothes our retirement planning worries when our biggest investment gains value. But, it does mean you'll pay more in real estate taxes next year....

You can check your home's assessment at the City Assessor's website at

If you disagree with your assessment, there is process for contesting it.

An "Open Book" inspection period will be held on business days between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. from Monday, April 13 through Friday, May 8.  This period is set aside for property owners to discuss their assessments with Assessor's Office staff prior to completion of the assessment roll.  Property owners may compare assessments or obtain specific information about their properties on the Assessor's website or at the Assessor's Office.  Available information includes ownership, addresses, legal descriptions, sale information and property characteristics.

Property owners who disagree with their assessment should contact the Assessor's Office to discuss it with assessment staff.  If still not satisfied with their assessed value, owners may file a formal objection. The Assessor's Office must be notified, either orally or in writing, of intent to object at least 48 hours before the first meeting of the Board of Review.  The Board's first scheduled meeting is Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 1:30 PM.  Owners must notify the Assessor's Office of their intent to object no later than 1:30 PM, Monday, May 11, 2015.  In addition, an objection form obtained from the Assessor's Office must be completed and filed with the City Assessor's Office prior to or within the first two hours of the first meeting of the Board of Review.

The Board of Assessors will review all properly filed objections and make any necessary corrections or changes.  Owners who disagree with the Board of Assessors' decision may proceed to a formal hearing before the Board of Review.  Its function is to decide if the assessment is correct based upon oral testimony and evidence presented by the property owner and the Assessor's Office staff.  Board of Review decisions may be appealed to the Circuit Court.

Sentry Signs Gone
Don't be alarmed at the removal of the Sentry Store signs. The city has an ordinance that prevents a defunct business from annoyingly promoting itself with working signs. Our Building Inspection team, at my request, asked the building owner to take the signs down, which they have done. Still no news on next use or owner for that building or land.

Parks Division Needs Your Parks Improvements Ideas
On Friday, April 24, your new alder and I are meeting with the Parks Division to share ideas for capital improvements that D3 residents would like to see in the 2015 budget. Capital improvements mean things like equipment, trails, or facilities, like bubblers, shelters, and benches. Please share your ideas with me until April 21, then your new alder Amanda Hall at the email address. We will share them – and yes, dog park is still on the list!

Hwy 51 Update
The preparation for construction is underway and I hope you've found your way to work, school and entertainment. Residents who attended the DOT meeting a couple weeks ago requested a project website on the DOT main website. It's underway, but in the meantime the DOT will share information with alders to share through their blogs. Once there is a project website, we'll let you know and share the link.

Here is a 5-page overview of the project, complete with phasing plans.

Stay in Touch With Your New Alder
After she's sworn in next Tuesday, Amanda Hall will be the author for this blog. Let her know what you'd like to read about by sending an email to the usual, which she will inherit after noon sharp on April 21.


Spring “To Do” List: Clean up, pick up, Vote, and learn a new route to work and school
Posted April 5, 2015 at 11:51 PM

I saw you out there this weekend... and the City of Madison is ready for your Spring yard cleanup with longer hours at the drop off sites and "pick up sticks" rounds through the neighborhoods starting Monday.

The east side waste drop off site is located at 4601 Sycamore Ave., and is now open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.  On Tuesday and Thursday evenings the sites are open until 8 p.m. The Sycamore location accepts yard waste, leaves, grass clippings, weeds, and garden debris, as well as brush, large items, refuse, recycling electronics, cooking oil, Styrofoam, rigid plastics, shoes, and textiles. So feel free to clean up inside and out! Remember, your tax dollars pay for this service exclusively for Madison residents, so be sure to have proof of residency with you in order to use the sites.  Details on the sites can be found at

If you can't tote it in, the Streets Division will begin annual brush collection on Monday, April 6th.  Brush collection will continue through early October.  While there is no set schedule for brush collection, crews begin a rotation in the Monday refuse collection district and then move to the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday districts. When the Friday area is completed a new round begins in the Monday area. Each neighborhood will receive a minimum of two collections this spring.

Pick your "Alternate Route" if you use Cottage Grove Rd. or Hwy 51 to get anywhere!

Here's the recent construction schedule:

Work on Hwy 51:
Monday April 6, for approximately 1 week, single lane closures will be used for median lane widening.  The lane closures will be during Off-Peak travel hours, as defined below.

12:00 AM-7:00 AM, 9:00AM- 3:30PM, 6:00 PM - 12:00AM Monday through Friday

12:00 AM - 10:00 AM, 6:00 PM Saturday

12:00 AM - 11:00 AM, 5:00 PM- 12:00 AM Sunday

Monday April 13, USH 51 south bound exit to Cottage Grove Road and the USH 51 south bound entrance ramp from Cottage Grove Road will be closed.  The ramps will be closed for reconstruction of the ramps and construction of the ramp bridge until October 1, 2015.  There will be a posted detour, following is a description for the detour:

USH 51 south to Cottage Grove Road:  Exit Milwaukee Street, travel east on Milwaukee Street, turn and travel south on Stoughton Road Service Road, turn and travel south on Atlas Avenue to Cottage Grove Road.

Cottage Grove Road to USH 51 south: Travel west on Cottage Grove Road, turn and travel south on Monona Drive, turn and travel southeast on Buckeye Road to USH 51.

Work on Cottage Grove Road
Monday April 6, for approximately 1 week, the median lanes will be closed in both directions to construct temporary pavement.

Monday April 13, there will be a traffic pattern change.  There will be 1 lane in each direction, all traffic will be on the north side of Cottage Grove Road.  Traffic is switched to the westbound lanes in order to construct new sanitary sewer, storm sewer and pavement for the eastbound lanes.  This stage should be complete mid June.

VOTE! Your turn to choose: Mayor, alder, Wisconsin Supreme Court judge, and referendum to support Madison schools and determine how the State's Chief Justice is selected. You DO NOT need your ID for this election, but you will in 2016. Be sure to have proof of residence if you are registering to vote for the first time at your polling place.

Learn more about what's on the ballot:
Wisconsin Supreme Court seat and referendum at the League of Women Voters Wisconsin site.

Madison school referendum

Later this month.... Roads and pipes get repaired in Heritage Heights
In late April Madison Water Utility plans to begin performing water main rehabilitation work in the Well 25 area (Retana Dr, Spicebush Ln, Harmony Hill Dr, Knightsbridge Rd, Queensbridge Rd, and Kingsbridge Rd), and primarily located in streets also scheduled for resurfacing this year.  These segments of main have a significant history of main breaks and are of adequate alignment & diameter/capacity to be rehabilitated using a pipe lining technology known as structural cured-in-place pipe (CIPP). 

This technology is far cheaper and easier than ripping up and replacing the water mains. Here's a description of the process:

 A woven fabric tube is saturated with a liquid epoxy resin, pulled through the inside of the deteriorated pipe and then pressurized and cured with heat to form a new plastic pipe inside the old pipe.  The new pipe has fully structural strength so it is not just a coating or lining inside of the old pipe and it is designed to last at least 50 years. 

There will be no assessments associated with this project.

This will be Madison Water Utility's fifth year doing water main rehabilitation contracts.  We have been working with the DNR throughout these projects to develop, evaluate and refine successful specifications for this developing technology.  The Water Utility will be working with Fer Pal Construction on this project, as it has with others.

The construction will have minimal excavation impacts and it should only take about two-three months to complete.  However, during construction, the existing water main will be out of service so affected properties will be served by a temporary above-ground water main.  Driveways ramps will be used to protect the temporary main at vehicle/pedestrian crossings.  Street crossing pipes will be buried flush with the roadway.  The temporary water main and temporary service laterals are required to be constructed from certified potable water products and will undergo the same disinfection and lab testing requirements of standard water main installations.

Madison Water Utility will be distributing a general project notice to the neighborhood(s) in the vicinity of the project, and a supplemental second notice to properties within the project limits.  

And speaking of the Madison Water Utility, here's a fun little video about how it all got started.

Late-breaking news: WisDOT News Release for Hwy 51 Meeting This Thursday
Posted March 25, 2015 at 2:13 PM

March 24, 2015
For more information, contact:
Robert Lex, P.E., WisDOT Project Manager
Meeting to preview US 51 (Stoughton Road) bridge replacement project
Construction at Cottage Grove Road begins early April

An informational meeting will be held Thursday (March 26) to discuss the project schedule of operations and its effects on vehicular and pedestrian access during construction on the southbound US 51(Stoughton Road) bridge over Cottage Grove Road in Madison. The meeting will be held from 4-6 p.m. at the Lussier East YMCA, 711 Cottage Grove Road, and is open to the public.
Work is scheduled to begin in early April to replace southbound US 51 bridge over Cottage Grove Road and the associated ramps. The project will replace the pavement on Cottage Grove Road between the northbound and southbound ramp terminals, and will improve signals, sanitary and water facilities at the location.
Two lanes of traffic will be maintained on US 51 during daytime hours with occasional reductions to one lane during nighttime non-peak hours. The southbound exit and entrance ramps will be closed. The posted detour will use Milwaukee Street and Atlas Avenue. During construction on Cottage Grove Road, traffic will be switched to counter-directional traffic with one  lane in each direction. 
Construction is expected to be completed by October. The northbound US 51 bridge is scheduled for replacement in 2016.

Rolling Meadows Shopping Center Update
Posted March 23, 2015 at 10:22 AM

Thanks to the 75+ (packed house) meeting attendees for spending an evening with City planners, economic developers, and alders, as well as the owner of the shopping mall (not the grocery store!)

At the meeting we learned that Madison School & Community Recreation (MSCR) is proposing to lease the area currently occupied by the Damascus Road Church to provide a variety of all-ages programming. Think art, dance, music, exercise, life skills, meeting room. The funding is in place from the Goodman Foundation and a contribution from Kevin Metcalfe (mall owner) to start work this summer and open late winter, with full services for the January 2016 session.

A second new tenant is a spa.

The old grocery store lot had generated interest from CVS for a drugstore. The company had a brief discussion with city planners, but was not able to present at the meeting Wednesday because a corporate-level decision had not yet been made. 

Today CVS informed city staff and me that they are NOT going to pursue this site. That's good news or bad news depending on whether you wanted a CVS or not, and how you feel about that nasty building sitting there.

Planners presented a couple "could be" scenarios that fit city zoning and plans. The plan generated good discussion, including thoughts about very dense buildouts with residential and retail/commercial uses, and some lighter buildouts with residential and retail/commercial uses. People seemed to agree that residential and retail/commercial were acceptable, including some multi-story (2-3) buildings.

Please be aware the city has no plans to build here - the city doesn't own the property and the current owner is very interested in ways to physically and financially support a change. As you can imagine, with the mall almost full now, it's pretty hard to tell everyone we're closing for a year to start over! It will take some time to craft a viable plan, but we have an engaged and interested owner, city and neighbors. All the ingredients for a successful, well-planned future.

May I leave you with this request? Patronize the tenants in the mall. Once a week, get something to eat and use a service. These business owners have committed to us with leases and products, let's commit to them with a purchase. 

Rolling Meadows SHopping Center Mtg and Parks Updates
Posted March 16, 2015 at 5:11 PM

Please join neighbors for....

Rolling Meadows Shopping Center Update Meeting
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
6:30 to 8:30 pm
Kennedy Elementary School – LMC (Main floor)
221 Meadowlark Dr.


  1. Welcome and Introductions – Alders Cnare (D3) and Demarb (D16)
    (6:30 – 6:35)
  2. Background on situation: Ald. Cnare (6:35 - 6:40)
  3. Update: Grocery Store Building and Redevelopment Discussion
    (6:45 – 7)
  4. Update: Mall & Tenants
    Kevin Metcalf (7-7:20)
    Madison School & Community Recreational (MSCR) Proposal
    Lucy Chaffin, Executive Director, MSCR
  5. Discussion on Shopping Center Future (7:20-8) 
    Introduction of Planning Process and Brainstorming  - Kevin Firchow, City of Madison Planning Division, and Kevin Metcalfe, mall owner
    Existing Plan Recommendations/Zoning
    Studies – What could physically fit on the site, what does zoning allow, what's happening at like sites in Madison or elsewhere
  6. Area Demographics/Economic Data – Ruth Rohlich, Peggy Yessa and Matt Mikolajewski, City of Madison Economic Development Division
  7. Discussion-Questions-Feedback
  8. Next steps

Heritage Heights Park Getting Ready for Spring
If you've ventured out and seen the half-completed playground project that involves replacing the gravel surfacing with wood mulch playground surfacing and providing an accessible path to the playground at Heritage Heights Park, you'll appreciate this update from Parks:

This project is about 60% complete, and only needs about 2 weeks to finish up once the frost is out and the ground dries up. Right now, things are still waterlogged or submerged. Ultimately, with warming conditions over the next month, the project can get underway again.

The last step is all the grass re-planting. Straw and netting will cover the new grass, but it might be quite muddy when the spring rains begin. 

The asphalt paving has been bid so as soon as the playground itself is completed, the path can be paved.

Dogs in Parks
This is one of those topics that comes up with regularity – either complaints that dogs are in the parks (dragging reluctant owners along behind?) or people want to be able to walk their dogs in their own nearby parks. Our Parks Division has been reviewing the regulations and is ready to take a new look to serve everyone's needs and expectations better.

The current ordinance generally prohibits dogs in parks except for where very specifically authorized. 

While Madison has 7 off-leash dog park exercise areas and 14 parks that allow dogs on-leash in some manner, dog owners want more park access. The Parks Division and staff have taken a new look at Madison's Dogs in Parks policy and are initiating a pilot program to see if the rules can be changed to accommodate four- and two-legged park users.

At the urging of alders and citizens, Parks staff have been evaluating this ordinance for some time to find a way to update the ordinances and processes for changing the ordinances.

The existing protocol for changes to the ordinance requires a citizen survey, neighborhood meetings and Alder support.

To get to a reasonable change quicker, Parks is planning to establish pilot program for 2015 continuing through April 1, 2016, by identifying 10-20 additional parks in the city where dogs on a leash may be permitted. They would like to establish no more than 2-3 standard criteria that are overall followed in these selected parks. For example, Madison Parks does not support dogs in conversation parks. Other criteria to consider are parks with paths or without paths and allowing reasonable access for non-dog owners.

Parks will be conducting a survey and compiling the data along with Alders' recommendations on which parks should be part of the pilot for this year-long trial.

Based on meetings with neighbors adjacent to Door Creek Park two years' ago and observations of area parks, I have recommended that Door Creek Park paths and the paved walkway through Heritage Heights Park be considered for the pilot – not the path along the conservancy! If you have other ideas, please let me know and I can enter those parks into consideration for the pilot.

Most of the work on this will begin in May, so please work closely with your next alder to participate in this project.

It does not preclude in any way a far east side off-leash dog park process, it simply offers another option in the interim.


What's Under Your Snowbank?
Leaning sign posts, cracked sidewalk parts, potholes and dead critters tend show up this time of year, right when we want things in "spring cleaning" order. If you see something that didn't winter well, you'll get fast city service by reporting it to the city's online "Report-a-Problem" system ( While it asks your name, you don't have to submit it, and you can still complete the form to request service. Reported problems get routed to the right department every night so you don't have to figure out whom to call. And you can report 24-7, all year round!


Can it be Spring? Plenty of signs out there...
Posted March 3, 2015 at 1:46 AM

Let's start with roadwork
Highway 51 or Stoughton Road, while waiting for some agreement and approval on a complete re-do, will continue to have patchwork repairs done to it. Next up is the Cottage Grove Road bridge, which will have significant repair work performed from April to October. Expect periodic lane closures but it's all for a good cause – a safer bridge.

Then in July, the northbound lanes will be resurfaced starting just south of Pflaum Rd. to the pedestrian overpass between Woodman's and St. Dennis Church. Work should last until September, with the heaviest work from 7 pm to  6 am. There will also be periodic lane closures and all ramps to Cottage Grove Rd. will be closed for about 4 days, so ID your routes now!

And trees to care for...
Emerald ash borer infections are not restricted to just street and park trees; there are many more ash trees on personal property all over the older parts of Madison. Here's a Decision Guide to Managing Emerald Ash Borer and Your Private Trees provided by the City of Madison Parks Division, including how to identify an ash, gauge its health and decide to treat or remove.

You will continue to see both treatment and removal of ash trees this spring in D3 neighborhoods of Heritage Heights, Rolling Meadows and Hiestand, as well as in other parts of Madison.

And new east side police to welcome
Early every year, police officers are offered the chance to pick a new place to work in the city. The East District roster of lead officers is here, and all officers are excited to make your acquaintance – before there's an emergency – and attend neighborhood meetings or events, as well as take calls to talk about what concerns you in your area.

The purpose of the Community Policing Team (CPT) and Neighborhood Resource Officers is to get to know the unique issues and opportunities in each neighborhood, including the people. They are an important addition to the regular services police provide like responding to and investigating crimes, by focusing on crime prevention and supporting safety through community. 

Introducing....The East Community Policing Team

These officers all have specific duties and will be working our of the East District Station

Captain Mary Schauf continues to lead the team and welcomes your comments and ideas about creating a safer neighborhood for everyone. She can be reached at and 266-4887.

Learn more about your East District and sign up for emails at this webpage:

And neighborhoods to plan for
Rolling Meadows Shopping Center has some news and needs your input on its future. Join City of Madison planners, neighbors, alders and mall representatives on Wednesday, March 18, at 6:30 pm in Kennedy Elementary Schools LMC (floor 2) for another presentation and discussion about next steps. No buyer for the old Sentry building as of yet.... And winter wasn't tough enough to collapse the building.


Interesting Meetings for This Week
Posted February 9, 2015 at 9:45 PM

Chief Koval Makes the Rounds to D3
Chief Koval will be holding the second round of public forums in the communities, including a visit to the East District on Tuesday night. Community forums are an opportunity for you, the public, to meet with the Chief and East District leaders.

Tuesday, Feb. 10
6-7:30 pm
East District Police Station
809 S. Thompson Dr.

Read and subscribe to Chief Koval's blog

Madison School District Holds Meetings to Share Issues with Public

Wednesday, Feb. 11
?6-8 pm
Kennedy Elementary School

In December 2014 the Board of Education voted unanimously to ask our community to consider a referendum on the April 7, 2015, ballot to address our most immediate facility needs. If passed, the referendum would fund projects to improve accessibility, add learning space to overcrowded schools, renovate buildings in need of repair and upgrade our technology infrastructure to support our 5-year technology plan.

For D3 parents and students, the plan requests an elevator will help make Kennedy Elementary accessible to students, families and community members.


Imagine a child not being able to participate in activities throughout his or her grade school because s/he uses a wheelchair, imagine a volunteer who needs mobility assistance not being able to get to the kids s/he wants to help, imagine being a teacher who can't get to a classroom after a knee replacement surgery.

Unimaginable in this day and age, in this city, that we would allow for exclusion for lack of 100-year-old technology! I hope you can support a referendum to bring our neighborhood's school up to date, as well as solve other infrastructure problems all over the city.


Problem: Two-story Kennedy Elementary lacks critical accessibility features and an entrance that staff can monitor visually. The building is also in need of space renovations.
Proposed Solution: A new elevator will be added to make it accessible to students, families and community members. The main office will be relocated to the front of the school where staff can visually monitor the main entrance, while the existing office will be converted into two classrooms. In addition, two new classrooms will be created alongside the new elevator tower. Est. Cost: $1,900,800 - View Plan Details.

Learn more about the entire school plan at the Referendum Page Website

In other Kennedy news, in response to growing parent concern for the last 15 years (or so), Traffic Engineering has issued a Neighborhood Traffic Management Program survey to households along the block that Kennedy School occupies to assess interest in traffic calming – beyond the speed reader signals. And crossing guard. And no parking signs. And slow, school crossing signs.

We will have the responses back in early March and if the responses support further study and action, we will have a neighborhood meeting to discuss the subject.

Hope to see you around the table this week!

Get Out of the House! Making the Best (or knowing the worst) of Snow
Posted February 3, 2015 at 8:24 PM


Now that we're back in real Wisconsin winter mode, here are some links to help you play and get around Madison.

Tonight's Snow Plowing Update
The Streets Division will be conducting a general plowing of all residential streets starting at midnight. There will be 150 pieces of equipment working on the streets. The goal is to have most streets plowed in time for the morning commute.

Crews have been working on major streets and bus routes all day and will continue to do so until midnight when we will turn our focus to residential streets.

You can receive email updates by signing up at and selecting Snow Plowing Updates.

Get Outdoors
Door Creek Park, and Yahara Hills and Monona Golf Course trails are open today for cross-country skiing with groomed trails. Learn about ski trail conditions and when they are open at this Parks Division webpage. Or, get an email sent right to your inbox by signing up at and selecting Parks Cross-Country Skiing Updates.

Listen Indoors
If indoor discussion is more your style, consider joining Madison Police Chief Mike Koval at one of his community conversations. He's continuing to talk about how police serve and interact with our different communities in Madison as it grows. He understands that there are both perceptions and incidents in some communities that policing isn't what they want it to be. These conversations will increase understanding and spur discussion of this troubling topic. I hope you can join us.

  • East District: Tuesday, February 10, from 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at MPD's East District, 809 S. Thompson Drive
  • West District: Monday, February 16, from 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at Good Shepherd Church, 5701 Raymond Road
  • North District: Wednesday, February 18, from 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at MPD's North District, 2033 Londonderry Drive
  • South District: Thursday, February 19, from 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m, at the Catholic Multicultural Center, 1862 Beld Street


Get Out and Vote – Early or February 17 (but not both!)
City of Madison voters may cast Spring Primary absentee ballots in the City Clerk's Office from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, February 2 through February 13.
Madison residents may also register to vote in the City Clerk's Office during these extended hours. All voter registrations must be accompanied by proof of address--one of the following documents showing the voter's current name and current address:

  • Utility bill issued in the last 90 days
  • Bank or credit union statement
  • Wisconsin driver license/ID
  • Government document
  • Government check
  • Paycheck
  • Residential Lease

Out with the old, in with the new
This Spring, you will have a new alderperson to represent D3. I'll be "retiring" from alder life to work, eat dinner at home and watch meetings on City Channel (Charter Digital 994 and U-Verse 99) from my couch.

It has truly been an honor and a pleasure to serve you. We have accomplished much over the years together and it happened because you all care enough to participate. Many thanks to the neighborhood leaders and volunteers, the committee members, the e-mailers, the callers. You make D3 and the world go 'round.

Still Uninsured? Local Resources Help Madison Residents Get Covered This Saturday
Posted January 29, 2015 at 1:31 PM

Health is an on-going interest for the City with efforts to keep the environment clean, support active lifestyles with access to nutritious food, and promote good personal health. One support for improving or maintaining health is having health insurance.

Public Health Madison Dane County supports efforts to connect residents to health insurance by spreading the word about opportunities to get coverage when insurance through work isn't an option. Self-employed, part-time workers, early retirees, and entrepreneurs now have affordable options to buy their own insurance through the Affordable Care Act's Health Insurance Marketplace.

The Affordable Care Act requires that everyone, with a few exceptions, have health insurance and be able to prove it when filing taxes. For those who went "uncovered" last year, there may be a penalty that affects tax refunds.

People can browse for local plans and enroll on their own using the Health Insurance Marketplace Website For people with complex health or household situations, unfamiliar with health insurance or without easy access to computers, there are licensed and trained assisters available to provide free in-person help, from answering questions to completing the enrollment process.

Many consumers buying insurance on the Marketplace are eligible for some form of financial assistance to reduce premium costs or out-of-pocket costs, depending on income up to 400% of the federal poverty level. Assistance ranges from federal tax credits to the HealthConnect program that helps with premium payments for households legally residing in Dane County with gross household incomes between 100% and 150% of the federal poverty level ($11,670 to $17,500 for one person, $23,850 to $35,775 for a family of four.)

For constituents still looking for health insurance before the open enrollment period deadline on February 15, they can get free help applying at any of the area events below or at the Dane County Job Center (1819 Aberg Ave.) Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm, or dial United Way's 2-1-1 helpline for referrals. 

Madison Super Saturday January 31
9 am to 6 pm
United Way Building
2059 Atwood Ave.
Licensed navigators, insurance agents and brokers, and HealthConnect representatives will assist people with opening Marketplace accounts, reviewing and enrolling in a health insurance plan, and learning about financial assistance to make the coverage affordable. Spanish speaker available!

Wednesday, February 4
Noon - 6 pm
Richard Dilley Tax Center (Atrium)
Villager Mall
S. Park St., Madison
Tax preparation & insurance enrollment

Thursday, February 5
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Lakeview Public Library
2845 N. Sherman Ave., Madison

Saturday, February 7
9 am - 3 pm
Richard Dilley Tax Center (Atrium)
Villager Mall
S. Park St., Madison
Tax preparation & insurance enrollment

Monday, February 9
10 am - 1 pm
Goodman S. Park Public Library
Green Room and Aqua Room
2222 S Park St., Madison
Noon - 6 pm
Richard Dilley Tax Center (Atrium)
Villager Mall
S. Park St., Madison
Tax preparation & insurance enrollment

Consumers can walk-in for assistance or make appointments by call Covering Kids & Families at 608-261-1455.

Better Bills
Posted December 2, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Madison Municipal Services, aka Water Bill: Better Ways to Watch and Pay
With the final installation of the automated water meters and conversion to monthly billing, you can manage your water use and payments with new features available from the Water Utility's website.

First, visit where you can set up an account that allows you to see all your water usage from the last 30 days by the day or even the hour. When you log in to your private, password-protected account, you can see how much water it takes for laundry day, a long hot shower or filling the dog's kiddie pool.

You can also set up high usage notifications that alert you of unusual usage that might signal a leak or a faucet left on. Catching a leak early saves you dollars and all of us water.

Here's how to set up an account:
Sign up to view your water use by creating a Customer Care Account. You'll need the customer number and account number from your bill. If you've already signed up for eBills, you don't need to create a new account. Your log-in and password will remain the same.

Using your customer care account, you can also see your billing and payment history, sign up for emailed bills and sign up for automatic bill pay from your bank or credit union account.

Visit to see options to receive and pay bills.

Did you know?
This bill, that we all call the water bill, collects fees for a number of other services, including sewer, stormwater, fire protection and landfill remediation? The cost for water is a little less than half the total cost.

Breaking up the Property Tax Bill
About 4 years ago, in those Great Recession years, the City Treasurer approached alders with a proposal to offer Madison taxpapyers more flexibility in paying their tax bills because late payments and delinquencies were a growing problem for residents pinched with unstable employment, growing costs and stagnant wages.

It took several years of negotiating with Dane County, research on results in Wisconsin cities that offered three, or even four, payments, and a study from the UW Madison LaFollette School of Public Affairs (along with some new software) to bring the Common Council and Mayor to authorize this option for tax payers.

I supported this from the start because options that help people comply with the law are good for everyone. And, surprisingly, D3 was a district with high numbers of unpaid or late tax payments. We ask a lot from our residents to live in Madison, and it shows in our quality of life, accolades and awards, and home values. But it can be tough to pay your fair share all in one or even two big checks. But three or four medium checks can help people pay their fair share even in the midst of a job loss, large unexpected expenses or expensive illness.

This change also has all payments made only to the City of Madison. Previously, if you paid two installments, you paid the first one to the City and the second one to Dane County, and you also needed to get two receipts from the two different entities.

For 2015, you can choose to pay all of your bill in December 2014 to itemize the deduction on your federal taxes, or break the payments up into two, three or four payments with specific deadlines throughout 2015.

The four due dates will be: January 31st, March 31st, May 31st, and July 31st. Taxpayers can pay whatever they like at any time as long as they meet the accumulated minimums by those due dates.

Learn more about this payment option at:

If you have questions, please call the City Treasurer's Office at (608) 266-4771.

Safety, trees and democracy
Posted November 3, 2014 at 6:47 PM

East Police District Wants to Know What You Think...
Our police department values its relationships with the citizens it serves. Many of you attended a "meet the chief" meeting this fall, others have invited community police officers to neighborhood meetings and events, and some have worked with the police on safety issues.

Captain Schauf has issued the East District annual survey to get more feedback about your sense of safety in the neighborhood, and guide improved service. Please take the survey here to share your opinion!

Caring for Madison's Trees
The City of Madison prides itself on keeping its urban forest in good health and repair. But the growth of the city – both in acres and trees, coupled with the infestation of the emerald ash borer – puts intense pressure on the forestry department to keep up with regular duties and now the bug.

Last month, the Common Council supported an effort to institute a tree fee. The first time we saw this proposal, I voted no. No one likes those annoying seat or convenience fees, and a tree fee felt like that to me.

But then the proposal came back. And the foresters spoke eloquently about the devastation we will experience in Madison – and the east and north sides are in the lead. Many streets have lost ash trees this fall, and the yellow dots are appearing like frost on the pumpkin. Regularly, every morning.

The forester and finance experts are exploring a fair way to charge a nominal tree fee that will come back to the Council fleshed out for a vote.

I still don't like another fee, but given the constrictions on city budgets because of the state-imposed levy limit, this is the only wiggle room for us to raise funds to care for, protect and restore our urban forest.

What if you secretly hate your ash trees?
It's okay – you're not alone and there is help!
While most of us generally love trees, you may be thrilled that the ash tree is threatened. These aren't among the most beautiful trees, in summer or fall, and they seem to have a vendetta against cars parked in driveways and on the street, evidenced by branch bombing. 

While the city has plans to treat ash trees planted on the terrace that have a good chance of survival, there is a cost both in terms of the medicine and the labor to treat the trees with injection methods. The city is flexible and understanding that some residents might want to trade the treatment for a new, albeit smaller tree.

Here is the process:
Following an inspection by Forestry, if an ash tree has not been treated, it will get a yellow dot. When crews are in the area to preemptively remove ash street trees, that tree will also be removed. This type of tree removal is secondary to removal of diseased or hazardous trees.

However, if the ash street tree is found to be 50% or greater in decline, is dead or a hazard to the public it will be removed sooner than the preemptive removal schedule.

Forestry has already treated some of the ash street trees in D3, and these cannot be removed because an investment has already been made. The remainder of the ash street trees in D3 will be treated in 2015.

To have your tree considered for pre-emptive removal, please contact:
Marla Eddy, City Forester
608-266-4450 or

To learn more about Madison's urban forest and emerald ash borer control plan, please visit the website

If you don't know where - look here.
If you aren't registered - look here.

We need your active civic engagement!

Just a sidebar - this blog subscriber list just hit 500! We are an engaged and interested district!

Learn about Voting, meet the Chief and get your sticks to the curb this week
Posted September 22, 2014 at 9:27 PM

One More Eastside Voter Info Session to Celebrate National Voter Day, Tuesday, September 23
Madison Police East District
809 S. Thompson Drive (off Cottage Grove Road)
4 to 6 p.m.

Don't Forget the Meet the Chief Meeting, Wednesday 6 to 7 pm
Madison Police East District
809 S. Thompson Drive (off Cottage Grove Road)

Fall Means It's Pick Up Sticks Time
The final round of brush collection will begin next Monday September 29th. Every neighborhood will receive one more round of collection starting the 29th. We end regular brush collection in mid-October because we need all staff for leaf collection.

Your thoughts on Madison's Economic Development, please!
The Economic Development Division will be hosting two community meetings to give people the opportunity to share ideas for what should be included in the City's Economic Strategy. The meetings will have an engaging format with small groups using "Mind Maps" to develop and share ideas. 

October 1, 2014, 6pm – 8pm
Warner Park Community Center
1625 Northport Drive

More info at

Tues., Sept 23 Important Happenings: Milwaukee St. Closure East of Interstate and Voting Update Sessions
Posted September 18, 2014 at 7:44 PM


Milwaukee Street Closed 9-23 to 10-31
Just when you think construction season is winding down, there's one project starting that affects a major road in D3. 

Starting Tuesday, September 23rd, Capital Underground will be closing Milwaukee Street approximately 1,000 feet east of the I 39-90 bridge, in order to construct the new Milky Way intersection and underground utilities as part of the Grandview Commons North Addition Phase 1 project.  No through-traffic will be allowed during the closure.   

A detour route will be signed as follows (from west to east): Milwaukee Street, left onto North Thompson Drive, right onto Commercial Avenue (Hwy "T"), right onto Sprecher Road, to Milwaukee Street.  

The closure is expected to last through the end of October.

How to Vote and How to Help with Madison Elections Educational Sessions Tuesday, September 23
With recent changes in the laws for Wisconsin, your city's highly responsive and active City Clerk's Office is holding these special educcational sessions in honor of National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday, September 23.

Election officials will be available at the times and locations listed below to offer voter registration, information about voter ID, and an opportunity to sign up to work at the polls.  Additional times and locations may be added before next Tuesday.

I'd like to put in a plug fpr being a poll worker. I have done it on and off for years at different polling places and it's one of the most fulfilling jobs in town. You get to work with other great volunteers, see your neighbors, assure that new voters are comfortable with the process, and you are part of a sacred democratic activity and trusted by citizens. Think about volunteering - training provided by the Clerk's Office.

I have included here only the east side and downtown locations for these sessions: 

Madison Senior Center
330 W. Mifflin Street
9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Goodman Community Center
149 Waubesa Street
9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Capitol Lakes Retirement Community
333 W. Main Street
10 a.m. to noon

East Madison Community Center
8 Straubel Court
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
A Spanish interpreter will be available.

Bridge – Lake Point – Waunona Community Center
1917 Lake Point Drive
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hy-Vee (club room)
3801 East Washington Avenue
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center – Farmer's Market
953 Jenifer Street
3 to 7 p.m.

Central Library
201 W. Mifflin Street
9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Hawthorne Library
2707 E. Washington Avenue
10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Lakeview Library
2845 N. Sherman Avenue
10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Pinney Library
204 Cottage Grove Road
9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

City Clerk's Office
210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd #103
8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Event and Budget Updates
Posted September 11, 2014 at 7:50 PM

?"Madison in Motion Transportation Master Plan Meeting

Monday, September 15, 7 to 9 pm?
Messiah Lutheran Church (5202 Cottage Grove Rd.) 
The city's transportation master plan presentation just for eastsiders! I will be out of town, but hope you can go to learn about this planning project, and can offer your feedback.

Meet and Chat with the Police Chief
East District Neighborhood?
Wednesday, September 24, ?6pm-7pm?
East District Police Station: 809 S. Thompson Drive

Park Updates
?Kennedy Park - Ropes Course Building
Earlier this summer, I reported here that MSCR (Madison School Community Recreation) wanted to upgrade the "getting ready" facilities at the ropes course located at the northern edge of Kennedy School's property. The little building will hold places for coats and other participant belongings, benches for changing shoes, and bathrooms. The building will only be open during ropes course activities – it is not a public building.

The project got a little delayed, but is ready to go through the city approval process. It does follow the zoning regulations. The drawings are linked here, and the Urban Design Commission will review it this Wednesday. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Heritage Heights Playground Improvements to Start Around September 15
?The playground at Heritage Heights Park is scheduled to have new playground surfacing installed within the next few weeks. The existing playground surfacing will be replaced with wood fiber mulch that meets the safety standards set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).  The extents of this new surfacing may differ from the existing surfacing to accommodate the playground equipment fall safety zones.

As part of the playground resurfacing, there will be additional improvements made to enhance accessibility and safety of the playground. A new ADA accessible asphalt path will also be installed to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design, which regulates federal requirements for playground and athletic facility accessibility. Also, new plastic border timbers will be installed to keep the new wood mulch in place and maintain the necessary depth to meet the CPSC fall zone requirements. The borders will also simplify maintenance operations and increase our maintenance staff's efficiency.

Here is a layout showing the proposed playground borders and new asphalt path.

Meadowlark-Kennedy School Safety Thoughts
Ever since Kennedy School stopped being "walkable" because so many of us drove our kids, parents and staff have been concerned about the safety of kids walking across Meadowlark. Whether it's people speeding to work or get their kids in before the bell, it really upsets people, and we consider ourselves lucky that no one has been injured yet.

We have crossing guards, speed measuring lights, signs, and handouts for parents. Nothing has really worked. In response to parent concerns, I have been meeting with Traffic Engineering to identify a solution.

While I recognize that a set of matching speed humps on Meadowlark that look like Merryturn would be unacceptable, Traffic Engineering is studying the possibility/usefulness of two humps that bracket the school property to alert drivers that something is coming up – a school and little kids – and "encourage" them to slow down in that area. THIS RESEARCH HAS JUST BEGUN.

I don't know what they will learn in their research, but if it has any merit, we will follow the normal survey and meeting process to get your input. As with all these traffic calming processes, the survey that determines moving forward is sent only to those who live in the affected area. Their vote counts a lot! The purpose of a neighborhood meeting is to hear everyone else's concerns to get to the best possible solution. Speed humps bring out our inner driver's concerns, and I encourage us to keep in the front and back of our minds that this is about the safety of our kids.

Capital Budget Highlights
I like to selfishly offer a little list of what's in the budget for D3, so here are the capital budget items. Some are tiresomely familiar – Sprecher Rd., anyone?

Library – Pinney Library move is listed for the next two years with space acquisition in 2015, and the actual building in 2016. A planned library for Grandview Common neighborhood is listed for 2019.

Dog park – A far eastside park is still in the budget, but there just hasn't been a logical way to fit it into the existing Door Creek Park due to parking only at one end. Parks has identified very nearby land, but it still doesn't have a street in place to accommodate some parking. The area is quickly building out, but wasn't ready this year. Parks continues to look creatively to site our park.

Cottage Grove Rd. will undergo additional work if the county is able to participate between Sprecher and the Interstate. It will become a true four lanes (two on both sides) with bike lanes and sidewalks.

Also, look forward to the bridge over I90/39 expansion and replacement in 2019!

Sprecher Rd. realignment 2019 and 2020 for a total estimated cost of $10.7M!

The Goodman Path, a bike path, is planned to connect the Capitol City Bike Path and Milwaukee St. at St. Paul for better east side connectivity for bikes and peds.

Look forward to a similar round up for the operating budget.


Upcoming Events - From Corn Boils to Transportation Master Plans
Posted September 3, 2014 at 12:08 AM

Let's start with tomorrow, Wednesday, September 3. Capitol View Farmers Market Annual Corn Boil. Come to the market to shop for Thursday's dinner that you cook and eat Wednesday's dinner that the CVFM Board cooks for you. The Board will be preparing Wisconsin sweet corn grown and donated by longtime CVFM vendor Jim Nehmer. Your donation funds many of the market expenses like insurance, permits and promotion. Market opens at 3 pm, corn's ready at 3:30 until it's gone. Market closes at 7 pm.

Saturday, September 13 (just a reminder) of the Mayor's Neighborhood Conference.

"This event will be a one-day celebration and learning experience to assist neighborhood leaders in their efforts to create and sustain healthy, walkable neighborhoods, from the bottom-up," said Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. "The conference will be a day packed full of stories, talks, and discussions recognizing all the good works being done by citizens, neighborhoods, and the other caretakers of our community."

Learn more and register online

Monday, September 15, 7 to 9 pm
Messiah Lutheran Church (5202 Cottage Grove Rd.)
"Madison in Motion," the city's transportation master plan presentation just for eastsiders!

Madison does love a good plan and the combined work to date of consultants, planners and committee members is ready to be shared at this presentation. The City is undertaking a transportation master plan so that we don't end up like other cities that outgrew their transportation options and infrastructure frustrating drivers, bikers and bus riders because suddenly everything seemed very far away because it took too long to get anywhere from the gridlock and traffic jams. (Imagine today's Johnson St. everywhere!)

City Transportation Planner David Trowbridge will present this project and process focused on how to keep us growing and moving – no matter how we like to get around. Cars, bikes, and regular and rapid bus transit are all included.

Join us to learn more and share how you like to be in motion in Madison. Learn a bit more about the plan here.

Saturday, October 18, 9 am at Door Creek Park
The Madison Professional Police Officers Association is holding its first fun run to benefit Agrace Hospice: Hot on the Trail and Kids Donut Dash through the park is a fun concept with runners pursuing a pair of Madison Professional Police Officers who will pretend to be "bad guys"... (just for one day!)  See if you can catch up! It's a foot pursuit, in the name of fun!  A Donut Dash, for kids 10 and under, will follow. Learn more and register online.

Just a few other updates:
Apartment Buildoing Construction Fire
The investigation of the large apartment fire in the Grandview Commons area has been completed and there was no identifiable cause for the disaster. The owners do intend to re-start the project, and site clearance is underway.

I am grateful for the professional and dedicated staff that not only undertook this investigation, but also for all the fire stations and staff members from across the city that fought this fire and kept nearby homes and people safe. And I am especially grateful that we had additional power with the new Station 13!

Given how fast and furious that fire took off – and that it had no identifiable cause  - it was s reminder that we can be taken by surprise with devastating consequences. Please check your home for fire prevention and safety. The Madison Fire Department offers presentations and tips for your and your family's safety on its website here. Consider scheduling one with your neighbors.

Budget Season
The Mayor presented the Capital Budget at Council tonight and it is available on the City's website in a special section. Learn more about our city's budget and offer ideas at this website.

Next up is the Operating Budget, still in development by the mayor.

When both budgets come out, I will comb through them and highlight here what they hold for D3 and items that affect all of us in one way or another.

If you'd like a budget conversation or review, let me know and we can set up a time to meet and drink coffee over my big budget binder.

Upcoming Events List
Posted August 22, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Whether you plan to bike, walk or skate, or drive around town, please be aware that several eastside Madison streets will be closed this Sunday for Ride the Drive. Streets will be closed from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 24th.

The 2.2 mile route will be closed to vehicular traffic and includes Atwood Avenue, Walter Street, Hargrove Street, Fair Oaks Avenue, Maple Avenue and Lakeland Avenue.  Traffic will be allowed to cross the route at several intersections under police direction.   


 Madison Metro Transit will detour several routes during the event:

More information about Ride the Drive is available at:

Madison prides itself on developing strong neighborhoods where people can be informed and active to improve thier own community. The next conference will be Saturday, September 13. If you are on your neighborhood board, or just want to learn how to make positive changes to your neighborhood, please join the rest of your city, along with staff members and alders. It's a great $15 investment! Learn more register today at

Scholarships, fee waivers and language translation are available.

In an attempt to stay engaged with constituent questions and concerns, a number of community forums have been scheduled for the month of September.  These sessions are an opportunity to provide me with direct feedback and there will also be a representative from the hosting District should you want to convey thoughts specific to the area.  Hope to see as many of you as can make it!


East District Neighborhood
Wednesday, September 24
East District Police Station: 809 S. Thompson Drive

Central District Neighborhood
Thursday, September 4
Lapham Elementary School: 1045 E. Dayton Street

West District Neighborhood
Thursday, September 18
Our Redeemer Church: 1701 McKenna Blvd

South District Neighborhood
Monday, September 22
Villager Mall Large Community Room: 2234 S. Park Street

South District Neighborhood
Tuesday, September 23
Predolin Hall at Edgewood College (Anderson Auditorium)

North District Neighborhood
Thursday, September 25
North District Police Station: 2033 Londonderry Drive

Check out YouTube to see a video message from Chief Koval about these community forums:

And, get ready for Madison budget time in next updates!

Summer Updates: Celebrations, Parks and Shopping Malls
Posted August 1, 2014 at 12:18 PM

Summer is beginning its wrap-up, but there are still plenty of interesting and fun things to do before the calendar turns to school time!

On Saturday August 2, join City of Madison Firefighters at Fire Station #5 (4418 Cottage Grove Road) for "Firefighter Fun Day" for children, youth and families from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

Come and meet Fire Chief Steve Davis and our station firefighters without the emergency! This event features games and activities such as balloon twisting, face painting, coloring books, music by Dos Amigos DJ's, fire prevention resources and more.  Free hot dogs, food and refreshments will be served while supplies last. Kids, you must bring your parents!

This free event is supported by Firefighters Local 311, the City of Madison and the City of Madison Fire Department.

Parks Updates
Check the Parks Division website  for free and fun things to do, including Trucks and Treasures, the Reindahl Park splash pad opening and Eastside Ride the Drive.

In other Parks news, I've met with Parks to initiate the rules change to allow dogs ON LEASH to be walked legally in parks on some paved paths in D3. We are not sure if this requires an ordinance change, could be done on a trial basis or the exact steps to do it. Parks staff are working with the City Attorney's office to determine the proper process.

Trails, fields and woods are not permitted as part of this, nor are they an active part of the current discussion, but will be part of a future community-wide discussion as the Parks Board and staff explore ways that dogs and their people can positively share the parks with people and their people. Please send any thoughts you have about this topic to me so I can share them with the staff.

Rolling Meadows Shopping Center
Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey! Here is the link to the results. I tried to "analyze" the data to make it simple to read, but since I created so many open-ended questions, we got so many open-ended answers that categories are pretty hard to make and still preserve all the ideas.

Things that stood out for me:

  1. People asked for things that already exist there! Please take a couple minutes to walk the mall, pop in a business and get a feel for who's there providing us with services and goods.
  2. People want more places to eat, including dinner choices and sit down places. There is a hunger for foods from around the world, including Thai, Greek, Mexican and others.
  3. The facility itself, including signage and the parking lot, need improvement.

What stands out for you?

The Empty Building (aka Sentry) Update
I had a very supportive meeting with both the Planning Division and Economic Division staff, as well as the Mayor regarding the former Sentry property. They will be devoting Planning staff to project near the Fall/Winter time period to work on a plan with us. They are positive about the site and have some recommendations and efforts they will take. It's actually a pretty large site, which is good for possibilities. From a planning perspective it would be beneficial to have to whole parcel under one owner to get a more holistic solution. It's time to think like a 21st century shopper and neighbor where people want to walk or bike to places, and have enough attraction to hang out there – not just drive in, shop and run home. That doesn't mean no parking places, but it does mean improving the offerings and places for everyone.

The Economic Development staff is exploring funding to both improve the building and connect small business owners with a dream but maybe not yet a full-fledged business plan, to resources to help them start-up. These resources can also support fledgling established businesses. They are also approaching the current ownership to open a conversation about the building and the site needed changes.

The rough plan is to have planning staff develop a bunch of concepts to give us something to react to and build on. Please be prepared for many regular meetings to not only have the neighborhoods prepare and approve a plan or two, but then walk the plans through the process of city approval. Not to scare you, but these types of public plans can take many months or longer. But it's worth it.

I hope that residents and the neighborhood associations from Rolling Meadows, Heritage Heights and LVM, as well as the business owners and building owners, participate with commitment and good faith for community good.

In the meantime, Planning staff urged us to get our creative juices flowing by thinking about and recording places we love and what we love about them. Since it is vacation season, it has been suggested that people post photos of cool places that could be reflected in a new RMSC (Rolling Meadows Shopping Center). If you have images or names of places you love, would you please send them to me at and I can post them here on this blog under a new tab.

Things to consider:
The property for the old grocery store and the entire mall are still owned privately. We don't know if they are for sale; they could be entertaining renters or buyers. How can we "nudge" them to offer what we want for success, while adhering to the zoning?

Balance the pros and cons between a full review and plan for the site vs. step-wise "fixes."

What's the cost and who pays? How much public money can we gather to invest and what will the private sector invest?

Pinney Placement?
Over the past week, some people have expressed a desire to consider establishing the Pinney Library in the old grocery store instead of at the Royster Commons site. It has turned into a robust discussion on Since I have a responsibility – both ethical and legal – to conduct business in an open forum, I will be addressing the topic only here moving forward. It's also very helpful for you to email your comments to me at so they can be gathered and shared in an official capacity.

First, a little background:
The Library administration and Library Board are the deciders of library placement and operations. Like all city agencies, they are deliberative and follow processes working with public input. The selection of the Royster site is under full negotiation and continuing appropriately. It is expected that money to buy the "condo" in a mixed-use building will be in the 2015 budget. When that is approved, programming, planning and design can begin.

The Royster planning process took a year, and the efforts to do something with the site began about 6 years ago. It takes achingly long for things to finish, but when you consider that the buildings and sites last for 20, 30 or 40 years, it's important to take the time to do it as best we can with the information we have as a community.

What if Royster doesn't work out?
The library board and administration would start a site search using their criteria, and with the expertise of a new library planner (interviews this month!) Pinney would sit tight at its current location. Could the RMSC be included as a prospective site? Sure. Anything that met the criteria for service, budget and availability could. And it would take a couple years.

How can you be involved in advocating for Pinney to move to RMSC?
I have asked the Library Director to place the issue on a Library Board agenda so they can review the progress of the Royster site negotiations and why they chose it, and hear resident thoughts about either moving now to the old grocery building, or putting it on a Plan B list.

Farmers Market and Guns?
Lastly, any thoughts about posting the Capitol View Farmers Market "weapons free?" (That's a way to start a hot summer discussion!)

Enjoy your last month of fun in the sun.


Rolling Meadows Center, Water Bills, Summer Events and Weather!
Posted July 3, 2014 at 8:00 AM

Rolling Meadows Shopping Mall Update: Survey Gets 153 Responses!
Thank you to everyone who contributed to the survey that closed last night. I've taken a quick look at the ideas and thoughts, and am preparing a "report" to share here in the next week. There are so much data that I'll need the long weekend to figure out how to present it concisely!

As you all know – unless you've had a fabulously long vacation – the Sentry store is indeed closing, which is a harsh reality for our area. The store had devoted regular users and thrilled convenience shoppers, but that wasn't enough to run a business.

Strip-type malls in most cities, including Madison, struggle. But, there are good ideas right here in our community as well as nationwide that can help nudge or transform our mall back to high desirability. The first step is sharing the information from the survey with the owner, leasing agent and tenants, along with you. This month, I have a meeting with the City's Planning Division and Economic Development staff to share the survey results and open a conversation about all the city's tools available to us – and how the private sector can be encouraged to participate and renovate!

Later in the month Alder Demarb (D16) and I will meet with these and more staff members to discuss a planning process for the area essentially from the new Royster Commons to Grandview Commons. Someone mentioned we need a Heritage Commons – sure seems like that term has traction!

From these meetings, I envision a several month long process with professional support to lead neighbors from Rolling Meadows, Heritage Heights and Elvehjem neighborhoods (and maybe more) to set a new direction for this property.

While it's sad that Sentry will be gone and the mall looks a little worn, there are 30 thriving businesses along Cottage Grove Rd. from Highway 51 to the highway crossing. They range from auto mechanics to dentists, ice cream treats to antiques. Please shop at these businesses to help them stay in our community.
Monthly Water Bills Slated to Arrive in August
In July, notification cards will be sent to homes to explain what's coming next for monthly bills.

In August, everyone will get their final bill from the old system. It will be a 1-month up to a 7-month "catch up" bill. In September, everyone will get a bill for one month.

Bills will come routinely on the 5th, 12th, 19th or 26th of each month, so people will have a regular bill. Payment is due 20 days later. Holidays and weekends may affect the actual dates.

The customer web portal is slated to open along with the advent of monthly billing. At the portal, customers can see their hourly water usage, set alerts like when you reach a water gallon limit, or there is continuous usage (as with a leak.) There may be other alerts available, too. People can sign up for e-bills and can still pay with a credit card or ACH transaction.

Summer things to do
Weigh in on the 2015 budget!
Over the past several years, the Mayor and Common Council have sought ways to get your opinions about the way the city should spend your money – from smaller meetings held around the city to mock budget exercises to surveys and the traditional (and not very satisfying) public hearings.

As you might guess there are many opinions and ideas shared, and some are in direct conflict with each other. But, the best information the city gets from citizens is about general direction rather than specific projects. One example from last year is to increase the curbside composting that will have a greater pilot program range and will include residents in District 3 later this year.

It's always interesting to hear what others are thinking and feeling in the city, so take a look at the city's budget ideas website page, where you can also contribute an idea or more, and vote on others' ideas on line at using IdeaScale. It's fun to use and makes you part of the conversation from your desk or smartphone.

Party in the Parks to Celebrate
The Madison Parks Foundation is proud to celebrate the 120th anniversary of the Madison Park and Pleasure Drive Association on July 7, 1894. Here are free events to celebrate.

Concert in the Breese: Tuesday, July 8, 5 - 9 pm
Join the Madison Parks Foundation for a night of music, food and drink at Breese Stevens Field on East Washington Ave. You can buy a beer and food on site and lay out your blanket for an evening of awesome music on the field.

Gates open at 5 pm, The Radicals, Madison's Ultimate Frisbee Team, will be giving demonstration at 5:15 pm. Concert starts at 6 pm - Sortin' the Mail, The Madpolecats & The Jimmys! Event concludes at 9 pm.

Community Ice Cream Social: Thursday, July 10, 6 - 8 pm
"I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!" Join the Madison Parks Foundation for Chocolate Shoppe ice cream, live music, and kid's activities at Olin Park.

For more information about events, visit:

Fire Station 13 Grand Opening
Monday, July 21, 2 p.m.

6350 Town Center Dr., Madison
Meet Mayor Soglin and Fire Chief Davis, see the Ceremonial Uncoupling of Fire Hose, take a station tour, and more!

Severe Weather Alerts and Warnings
Given the severity of the storms this summer, the City Engineer provided this information to alders and asked us to share it with constituents. Please read more below, but the summary is that the sirens are designed to alert people outdoors and may not reach you in your home due to construction, trees, or even wind. It is highly advised to have a battery-operated weather radio or cellphone alerts set so that you get the warning no matter what. TV and radio are great, but not when the power is out.

Here is a link to a map of siren locations, and while there have been significant improvements to the system on both the county and the city's part, there is still work to be done. Please contact Randy Wiesner at to let him know if you are out of range.

"Over the last 10 years City Engineering has significantly improved Early Warning Coverage within the City of Madison. A significant number of sirens have been replaced/upgraded to larger and more modern models with overlapping coverage

Siren coverage is based on a defined amount of sound at a given distance from the siren. That coverage of course does not take into account buildings, tree cover, and other terrain features that affect the sound waves.  In addition wind speed/direction play a huge role in how a siren might be heard from storm to storm.  It should also be noted that the warning sirens are intended to provide outdoor warning and are not designed to be heard inside of a typical structure within the coverage area. For that reason, it is essential that citizens protect themselves by purchasing a weather radio for use inside the home or business.

In the next 2-3 years we will be working in cooperation with Dane County Emergency Management to adjust some coverage areas and to provide additional infill as necessary.  If you have any information to indicate that citizens are not able to hear the warning sirens because of lack of coverage, please let us know.  Sirens are tested at noon on the first Wednesday of the month unless severe weather is anticipated."

New Projects
Kennedy School has hosted a Ropes/Challenge Course for facilitated use school and other groups for the past several years. It's a popular and effective teaching and personal/group growth activity and they are now interested in adding a small "hosting" building to the site to install bathrooms, a coat room and small gathering space. The building will be located back bear the woods where the ropes features start.

Later this month they will have drawings to share, which I will post here. The project is slated to start in late August following Common Council approval on August 5, and be completed in November. They will be using students to craft the project, assuring that there is learning from all angles going on! If you have any questions, please contact me to discuss. With enough interest, we could hold a meeting, too.

Door Creek Church Rezones Land for 4 Residential Lots
This proposal subdivides a portion of the existing Door Creek Church lot into one two-family twin lot, two single family lots and one for the church campus. The church held a meeting for nearby neighbors this spring. The project meets all zoning regulations and will appear before the plan commission on August 11 and the Common Council on September 2.

Welcome New Firefighters, Worm Day is Wednesday, and Grocery Store Opens Next Week!
Posted June 2, 2014 at 8:25 PM

Guess who moved in to the 'hood this morning?
At 7:00 am today (6/2/14) the Madison Fire Department opened Fire Station 13 in D3. The station will be staffed with 4 firefighter/EMTs assigned to an engine, able to respond to any emergency that occurs.

There will be a "grand opening" sometime in July for the neighbors, but you are welcome to pop over to say hi. I know folks in the nearby condos are planning a little potluck welcome.

This opening brings the City's staffing level up to 82 firefighters on duty each day. And, as we know, the new station and staff will decrease response time for emergencies on the far east side. 

Chief Davis said, "After providing fire and EMS protection for over 150 years to this city, the Fire Department finally has its first "teenager"- Lucky 13's!"

Station 13's engine sits quietly alone the Sunday night before opening.

Station 13's engine sits quietly behind the
center door on Sunday night - waiting to open today!







Fun Stuff This Week: Worm Day on Wednesday at the Farmers Market

Capitol View Farmers' Market has its annual Worm Day this Wednesday from 4 to 6 pm at the Market. I will be personally wrangling worms and helping kids plant a bean seed with potting soil and worm "castings." Put on a pair of gloves to get down and dirty with me at CVFM.

Free ice cream for the kids to slurp as you shop for the healthy stuff!












Ugh! Gettin' Around Town is Gettin' Tough!
Okay, it's really bad right now because it's construction season, but anyone who's lived here 5 or 10 years has probably noticed the increase in commute times. We are a growing city with more residents living downtown and more businesses on the rings around the isthmus. And we all have to get somewhere.
Madison loves to plan so we have initiated a Transportation Master Plan called: Madison in Motion. Because we want to be in motion, not stuck in the intersection. The planning process is about 6 months old and starting to come up with some ideas that need your feedback.
The purpose of Madison in Motion, the City of Madison's Sustainable Madison Transportation Master Plan, is to guide transportation decisions in Madison, in order to help make Madison a more walkable, bikeable and transit-oriented city. The goal is not to abolish cars – it's to provide many forms of getting around to increase options and routes.
We would like to know what are some specific ideas or improvements that you have for creating a more walkable, bikeable and transit-oriented city.

Take a look at this Website and offer your comments to help develop the Madison in Motion plan. (Please note –the plan doesn't really come all the way to us – might want to comment on that!)

And next week – the Metro Market opens Tuesday morning for your shopping and dining pleasures.
As you (and likely thousands of others of us) visit this new store, please be careful as we all learn how to get around with the new "toy."

Expect extra traffic, sudden stops and turns, and take some time to get used to the new parking lot configuration. Grandview Commons neighbors will be especially appreciative of us not cutting through the residential streets and speeding home with our dinner selections. Looks like there will be plenty of food for all of us, so be patient.

Things to do this week in D3
Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:39 AM

Today, Wednesday, 3 to 7 pm: Capitol View Farmers Market opens with familiar farmers and foodmakers and new faces. Come welcome them to the neighborhood and get something fresh for dinner. Located on Sharpsburg across from the Great Dane. Look for the tents!

Tomorrow, Thursday, 6:30 pm: Library Meeting at the Grandview Hall in Oak Park Place to discuss plans for Eastside long-term planning. Learn more about Pinney and the potential for other libraries.

Anytime! It's budget sesaon for the city with the first step to gather citizen ideas. You can participate by submitting ideas on-line or attending the Budget Conversation Event

Share your ideas at the in-person Budget Conversation.
Monday, June 16, 2014 at 7pm
Central Library
201 West Mifflin Street
Madison, WI 53703

Share your ideas for a healthy and safe community, and vote on other ideas here:

Please send me your ideas, too. and I can urge their incllusion in the budget, too.

And next month: New Fire Station 13  will be staffed as of June 2 with 1 engine and 4 firefighters ready to respond to any emergency in the neighborhood.  There will be having a ribbon cutting/open house sometime in (late) July and neighborhood know they are welcome to tour anytime before the ribbon cutting.

Markets! Capitol View and Madison Public
Posted May 21, 2014 at 6:01 PM

Capitol View Farmers Market will be making its spring appearance - now that we know there will actually be a crop this year - at its usual site starting next Wednesday, May 28, from 3 pm to 7 pm. At our first market come meet our new vendors and check out the food carts. And, the Fire Department is invited to attend - work schedule permitting!

This market is a great place to eat now and cook the next day.The Grand Opening will be the following week with the Worm Demonstration, bean seed planting and free ice cream.

Visit the website for our vendor list and activities:

Madison Public Market Proposal
For the last several years, Madison has been exploring the concept of a public  market located somewhere in the city. Several studies have been done, focus groups of neighbors have been gathered, and tours by the Planning Staff and Mayor have taken place.

At this point, there is momentum growing for a market. While I am extremely skeptical of such an investment, I'd like you to learn more so your opinion can make its way to me when it comes time to vote for any taxpayer or zoning support. Here's info on upcoming meetings and the report.

Please let me know what you think! This could be one of those big Madison things!

 the City and the Local Food Committee will be hosting a series of Community Conversations about site selection for the Madison Public Market District.  With Phase 1 of the Business Plan complete (vendor outreach and consumer analysis), we are starting Phase 2 which is focused on what locations could support the project.  These meetings are the first step in that process.  They will be lively discussions that give folks the opportunity to share their ideas in a collaborative and engaging format.

The times and locations for the meetings are as follows:
Thursday, May 22 - 6-8pm - MGE Innovation Center, Room 50, 510 Charmany Dr. (in the UW Research Park)
Tuesday, May 27 – 6-8pm- Olbrich Gardens Evjue Commons, 3330 Atwood Ave.
Wednesday, May 28 – 6-8pm - Villager on Park Atrium Community Room, 2234 S. Park St.
Thursday, May 29 – 6-8pm - St Pauls Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall, 2126 N. Sherman Ave.

This is a big step in the process of creating the Public Market.  Please share widely and invite contacts and neighbors in your districts.  More information can be found on the project's website at

Eastside Libraries and Shopping Centers
Posted May 20, 2014 at 6:02 PM

Rolling Meadows Shopping Center Update

Thanks to everyone who attended the meeting this spring, and has made contributions since on the various electronic communications available to neighbors (, alder emails). We had about 30 neighbors from various nearby neighborhoods participate at the meeting. And, many were willing to come back for more!

Our next plans are to invite the building owner and operator of the Sentry Grocery Store to participate in the conversations. Rolling Meadows Neighborhood Association will sponsor that meeting and is helping with arrangements.

Here's a summary of what we've heard, so far:


  • The Center looks dated
  • Worried about safety and crime
  • Keep the parking lot in better condition (no potholes)



  • Bring the Center up to the standards of a Metcalfe's grocery store
  • Better signage to identify the businesses and better street signage
  • Improved parking lot layout – seems like a labyrinth
  • Better lighting in the parking lot and the mall
  • Outdoor seating, Place to gather, meet friends, watch the world
  • Remove the China Inn building, relocate to mall interior
  • Work in concert with owner of Sentry building to create cohesive feel
  • Murals
  • Improve mall and tenant visibility (outbuildings block the stores in the mall
  • Landscape update



  • Pet grooming services
  • Haircut/men's barber
  • UPS/quick print shop


  • Gift shop
  • Pet supplies, like MadCat
  • Dime store
  • Craft store
  • Cell phone store
  • Toy store
  • Bookshop
  • Fabric store
  • Re-sale/consignment shop



  • Teen center, open at night
  • Boys' & Girls' Club 
  • Library
  • Senior center
  • Kids' venue
  • 24-hour fitness

Food and Dining

  • Non-fast food restaurant
  • Tea store
  • Wine boutique, like Steve's
  • Local food/sandwich shops
  • Coffee house
  • Healthy restaurant
  • Thai/Mexican/Indian/Greek/Italian restaurant
  • Deli
  • Seafood store
  • Brew pub
  • Evening nice dining place
  • Farmers market
  • Smoothie shop
  • Dunkin Donuts


Take the Survey
The survey is now open for your thoughts and should only take about 5 minutes. Really! It will be open until the end of June, and please share it with everyone you know in the area.

Take the 10-questions survey now:

Thanks for participating!

Library Meeting: Thursday, May 29, 6:30 pm at the Grandview Hall in Oak Park Place 

Madison's libraries are popular places for books, meetings, media and activities. The Library Board and staff members are working on new standards to help prioritize and plan for library growth to both meet needs and budgets. On the far east side, we will likely be visiting a new Pinney Library in the next couple years in a new home at the Royster Corners development (the site of the old yellow tin buidlings.)

That's a great thing! But one of the not-so-great things is that the Grandview Commons Library, a placeholder with a lot in the Grandview Commons town center area, has been pushed back in the planning and budgeting, placing it in jeopardy of being built in the near future. So far, neighbors and I have been working successfully with the Library Board and staff members to keep it on the horizon, but until the money is raised and the foundations are dug, it's not a "for sure."

Because of these developments, and in an effort to help get a library built, the Library Board has given permission for the donations from Veridian to build the library to be renegotiated allowing the land donated to the city to be re-zoned to accommodate a mixed use development as well as a library. It means a building could be a library alone, a library with commercial or retail space (like Sequoia Commons) or a mixed use building like the others in the area should no  library be built.

To help all of us understand how the library system gets planned, built, and funded, I am holding a meeting on Thursday, May 29, at 6:30 pm where the Library Director Greg Mickells and Brian Munson, a planner for Veridian, will present. Mr. Mickells will discuss the library system, and Mr. Munson will answer questions about what other types of buildings would fit there - including a mixed library-retail one. I will be there to answer questions about how you can be involved.

It's important that we all understand how library systems work so that we can plan our role in the coming years to advocate for the library system we want. (It's no secret I think there's room for two on the east side!)

Hope to see you there!

High importance! Water chlorination overdose - see link below
Posted May 7, 2014 at 1:58 PM

The  Water Utility reports a mechanical error that put too much chlorine in a well that serves part of district 3. If you live in the area south of Milwaukee St. to East Buckeye, between Stoughton Rd and Meadowlark Dr  please run your basement cold tap for about 10 minutes before you use the water. 

The well is shut down until the chlorine clears to normal levels and the utility is flushing the mains to hurry the return to normal and safe levels. 

Visit the Water Utility Website at to read more.

Apologies for this inconvenience. 

REMINDER-Parks Safety Meeting May 1 (and other news)
Posted April 30, 2014 at 9:06 PM

East Side Parks Safety Meeting, East District Police Station (802 Thompson Dr.)
Please join City of Madison Parks and Police Staff to kick off Spring the right way in our eastside parks.

In response to rising concerns about dogs, after hours shenanigans, and graffiti or vandalism, the Parks Division would like to encourage us to join the Parks Watch volunteer program by telling us how it works and how it benefits both our parks and parks' neighbors.

East District Police staff are also closely engaged in safety in the parks, so they will discussing strategies they use to increase safety in the parks and catch the criminals.

The second half of the meeting will focus on Door Creek Park because the amount and nature of bad behavior has increased to a point that needs immediate attention. Everyone is welcome to stay for this part, too, because what we learn and decide we can certainly use in all parks.

Please share this invitation with your neighbors and encourage then to come. We all share parks for many purposes, let's share this meeting to keep parks healthy and safe for all of us.

In Other News....

Water Utility Open House on Saturday, May 10 from 9 am to 12:30 pm. Learn how water gets from underground to your tap, meet staff and sample wonderful chocolates as part of a fundraiser to help a non-profit organization help others in the world have water as clean, safe and tasty as ours. Learn more with this flyer

Lagarto's, the Pink Palace, received approval for its liquor license from the Alcohol License Review Committee and the Common Council. Based on discussion and neighbor feedback, they did not receive the 18+entertainment license that would've allow young adults under age 18 to enter for the dancing, and we agreed that he could get this operation off to a good start then re-apply next year.

The Metro Market has also applied for an alcohol license to sell beer, wine and liquor at its new store. There will be a neighborhood/neighbor meeting if the MPNA or any neighbors request one. Just let me know!

Career Fair #2 for Metro Market will be held at Door Creek Church on May 13. Details to be announced later.

Remember how excited we were to get monthly water and sewer bills? They are planned to start in September. The city decided to seek a vendor who could manage all sorts of e-billing and paying for all the things we buy from the city. After a careful selection process, the water utility expects to send everyone a "catch up" bill in August, Based on your existing billing cycle, it might be for one month or 6. Then in September, we all start on the monthly billing cycle.

Emerald Ash Borer Starting to Take Toll on Trees 
Our city foresters have begun taking down ash trees that either show ash borer infestation or have health issues that make them vulnerable to a sure death when the bugs arrive. The city has taken a very pro-active and well researched approach to this disaster. Read the plans here.

Ash trees marked with a yellow dot are slated to go and you will see a lot of missing trees this summer, especially in our older D3 neighborhoods.

If you lose a tree, it will be replaced, but I think we are all a bit sad to see all those stumps.










Events in D3: Alcohol License Hearing for "Pink Palace", Grocery Store Opening Plans, Door Creek Park-Parks Watch Meeting
Posted April 21, 2014 at 7:59 AM

Like the daffodils in front yards, things are popping in D3.

Wed., April 23, at 5:30 pm Alcohol License Review Hearing for Lagarto's, the former Talula's property (Room 201, City County Building, 210 MLK) 

Lagarto's will items 19 and 20 on the Agenda, so bring a book!

This application has been presented once and was referred (sent back for another round) because the occupancy numbers were not officially certified. The numbers are in and they total 480 according to the City's Building Inspection and Fire Departments. That includes the lower level at 168 and upstairs, including the patio, at 312.

East District Police leadership and I met with the applicant, Dale Beck, for the second time on Thursday to review the numbers and place our requests for what information he needs to provide in front of the commission on Wednesday. In addition to the routine applicaiton materials, we requested a menu and an updated security plan based on the numbers and the dual nature of the facility - dining from lunch through late dinner, then dancing and DJs after that until 2 am. Those materials are included electronically as attached files on the agenda. Just click the "black box" around the item number.

Mr. Beck also presented to the Rolling Meadows Neighborhood Association at their meeting.

If you have concerns or comments, please plan on attending the meering. I will be there, too, so if you have any comments or concerns regarding the application, please let me know so that I can answer them for you or present them to the commission.

In general, I support this establishment based on no unanswered concerns from neighbors, the approval of the police based track record and the security plans, and the detrimental effect of empty buildings in our district.

Mr. Beck is also applying for an 18+ Visual and Performing Arts license that essentially allows those under 18 to enter the premises to dance. With an ID holding and breathalyzer system in place and approved by the police, I think it can be done safely, but I will support the opinion of hte commission. While I understand the need for young adults to have something constructive to do, I also understand concerns about repeatedly exposing our youth to environments that focus on alcohol.    

Saturday April 26, 9 am to 3pm: "The Grocery Store" Copp's Metro Market in Grandview Commons Employment Fair

Workers are entering the homestretch for the new grovery store located in the Grandview Commons Neighborhood and the company is starting to hire. The plan is to open the store in June, although there is no date yet.

There are about 200 positions available, most of them part-time. We don't have a lot of nearby employment in this district and we now have bus service (albrit somewhat time limited) so if you know anyone who would like to work near home, or anyone who has struggled with employment, please let him or her know about this opportunity. In conversations with Bryan Aderhold, the Director of Talent Acquisition, I encouraged him to hire candidates who are struggling to establish a work history, as well as fully qualified individuals. Here are the details:

Saturday April 26, 9 am to 3 pm
Courtyard by Marriott Madison East
2502 Crossroads Drive

May 1, 6:30 to 8 pm: East Side Parks Safety Meeting, East District Police Station (802 Thompson Dr.)

Neighbors - Please join City of Madison Parks and Police Staff to kick off Spring the right way in our eastside parks.

In response to rising concerns about dogs, after hours shenanigans, and graffiti or vandalism, the Parks Division would like to encourage us to join the Parks Watch volunteer program by telling us how it works and how it benefits both our parks and parks' neighbors. 

East District Police staff are also closely engaged in safety in the parks, so they will discussing strategies they use to increase safety in the parks and catch the criminals.

The second half of the meeting will focus on Door Creek Park because the amount and nature of bad behavior has increased to a point that needs immediate attention. Everyone is welcome to stay for this part, too, because what we learn and decide we can certainly use in all parks.

Please share this invitation with your neighbors and encourage then to come. We all share parks for many purposes, let's share this meeting to keep parks healthy and safe for all of us. 

Hiope to see you at some of these events!



Development Updates and Insurance Clarification
Posted March 21, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Legarto's Update
The potential owner of the old Talula's has had his liquor license application referred to next month's meeting (April 16) because of no official number of total capacity. Between the many owners of that building and a switch over in the city's software, no one has that number. As you can imagine, it's important not only for fire safety, but also for a liquor license – just how big is the party?

Mr. Beck was advised by me to have that number before his presentation, but was unable to find it. There is an estimation that it is much closer to 263 than the 600 he proposed. That probably has an effect on a business plan, which also is tied to the license.

Thus, no license could be granted. Should Mr. Beck decide to revise his plan and proceed, I will post the new plan here.

Grandview Commons II
This plan has been kicking around since the end of last year, and making its way through the city process. There have been differences of opinion on the plans, so they have gone through several rounds of analysis and revision involving city staff and the developer.

It will be presented at Plan Commission on Monday, March 24. The meeting starts at 5:30 pm, and this item is number 17 and 18. The lineup means it could be a late night, but it's advisable to arrive by 6:15 to speak. I will be at the meeting. If you have comments, please let me know by 5:30 Monday and I will share them with the Commissioners.

The agenda has the plans and the staff summary is here.

Water lateral insurance offer not affiliated with City of Madison
Homeowners across Madison have been receiving official-looking letters from a company called HomeServe USA offering insurance for water service lateral lines (the pipe that runs from the main under the street to a home). However, the company is not affiliated with the City or with Madison Water Utility, and the letters are simply part of a widespread sales campaign.

While it is true that water service line repairs are a homeowner's responsibility, it's a good idea to read the fine print before buying any insurance policy. You can also check with your current homeowner's insurance company to see if lateral damage is already covered by your current policy.

Some homeowners may have recently purchased sewer line insurance through a company called Service Line Warranties. That company was selected by the City to sell optional coverage for sewer line service, repair or replacement. ?

Pink Palace has Possibilities and Plans!
Posted March 16, 2014 at 11:39 AM

A well-established bar-restaurant owner in Madison, Dale Beck, has plans to purchase the Pink Palace, aka Talula's, CJ's and the Pig's Ear, depending on how long you've lived in Madison.

On Wednesday, March 19, he appears before the Alcohol License Review Committee to seek approval for a liquor license and another license that allows people 18 - 21 years old to attend music and dance events. (They can't drink alcohol, of course, but can flirt and dance.)

Mr. Beck met with East District Police leadership, Captain Schauf and Lieutenant Knight, and me to discuss the business model, the types of events, customer base, security and we even touched on the menu. With Mr. Beck's track record, the safety plan, and his willingness to work with our community and the police, both Captain Schauf and Lieutenant Knight are comfortable with the application. I am, too, as is the Rolling Meadows Neighborhood Association Board. My only disappointment is that there's no paint job scheduled! (But, alders sometimes need to just get over it.) Mr. Beck will visit the next Rolling Meadows association meeting to present his plans.

There is extensive interior work to be done so opening is planned for early winter 2014.

The license applications are attached, and here's a quick summary:

Legarto's Mexican/Latino-themed restaurant and nightclub with lunch, dinner and banquet facilities serving authentic Mexican and South American food. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, there will be music from 9 or 10 pm to 2 am. Security is designed to assure there are no parking lot shenanigans, bouncers and breathlyzers (the under 21 crowd) and wanding are in effect to keep people behaving well. A hefty cover charge is also planned to assure that people really want to be at the place for entertainment.

Sundays are planned for family brunch. The outdoor pation will have mariachi music for those warm summer evenings.

Given the banquet room in the lower level, Mr. Beck envisions club, business and family events like birthday parties, quincenaras and other life event celebrations.

The ALRC meets on Wednesday, March 19, at 5:30 pm in Room 201 (the Council Chambers) in the City-County Building. Here is the link to the agenda, it is items 13 and 14.

If you would like to appear to testify, please arrive by 5:30 to register for your comments

Here are the license aplications. Please read these if you are interested in the details.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact me at

It is positive development that we have soemthing filling that building. It's such a landmark and we lack a wide variety of dining and entertainment options in the area. I am very hopeful that this business model will be a success in terms of fun, jobs and economic development - which cna be contagious!







Reminder - See you tomorrow night, Tues., March 11, for the Rolling Meadows Shopping Center Community Conversation
Posted March 10, 2014 at 8:07 PM

Remember to join neighbors, mall reps and tenants, city planner and alders to start the conversation about our neighborhood mall. During the meeting, we will review the zoning and Comprehensive Plan definitions of this property, learn more about the mall and its current situation from the owner, and share your thoughts about the mall. We will learn how these types of properties function, how their lifespans unfold, and how they are kept healthy.

It's an opportunity for you to express support and offer some "market research" that can assist the mall. And, we'll take a few minutes to dream big - what would you like Rolling Meadows to offer and look like in 2064?

Nearby neighborhoods and mall tenants have also been invited.

Meeting Details
Tuesday, March 11
6:30 to 8 pm
Messiah Lutheran Church
Cottage Grove Rd.

A "No Project at this Time" Community Conversation About Rolling Meadows Shopping Center
Posted March 3, 2014 at 11:02 AM

First, please be aware there is no proposal to do anything at this property!

But it's a great time to join other interested neighbors for a community conversation about the Rolling Meadows Shopping Mall. This business area has been a primary source of goods and services (and even employment) for Heritage Heights and other neighborhoods for almost half a century now. It has great value to our community!

Since I have served as alder, people have asked about its future, its success and its struggles. People have good ideas and strong interest in it surviving well into this century.

It's natural for shopping malls to evolve over time - sometimes for a better fit and sometimes for a disaster. When we have a community-wide conversation before anything moves too much in any direction, we can be influential and effective in shaping the success and future of our mall.

I am holding a? meeting so that we call can learn more about the mall and its current situation from the owner, and share your thoughts about the mall. We will learn how these types of properties function, how their lifespans unfold, and how they are kept healthy.

It's an opportunity for you to express support and offer some "market research" that can assist the mall. And, we'll take a few minutes to dream big - what would you like Rolling Meadows to offer and look like in 2064?

Nearby neighborhoods and mall tenants will also be invited.

Meeting Details
Tuesday, March 11
6:30 to 8 pm
Messiah Lutheran Church
Cottage Grove Rd.

Please spread the word!

How do you grocery shop? ANd how would a Public Market fit in your life?
Posted February 22, 2014 at 3:16 PM


For many years now, Madison has been thinking aboaut establishing a Public Market. There have been studies and conversations over those years, and the next step is creating a Business Plan for the Madison Public Market (Market).

The Market will be an indoor, year-round facility that builds on and supports the Madison area's abundant local food system and numerous innovative food businesses and organizations. The market is envisioned as the anchor of a dynamic food district with a mix of food aggregation, wholesale, and retail uses.  It will become the epicenter of our region's food system.

The City and the Local Food Committee are currently working with a consulting team from Project for Public Spaces, inc. to develop a business plan that will help guide decisions on the location, features, vendors, size, and operating plan for the market. The process of creating this business plan will include numerous opportunities for Madison area residents and stakeholders to share their ideas and opinions on the project.


Part of that research is a survey about our grocery shopping habits and preferences. If you haven't yet participated, please take a few minutes to complete it by Monday clicking on this link:

If you have questions or you are interested in learning more about the Public Market project, please check back to this website for updates. At that site, you can sign up for email alerts, too.

At this point, my support for a market like this - funded with significant city resources  - is pretty lukewarm. I'd prefer to see existing empty spaces filled with these exciting new businesses and prefer to see very localized opportunities for all residents placed right in our neighborhoods. But, it is an interesting idea and has both flourished and bombed in communities across the country. 

What's your interest and experience with a public market? Let me know - right after you've taken the survey!


Neighborhood Planning Grant Season
Posted February 4, 2014 at 6:22 PM

Each year, the City places money in the budget to encourage and support neighborhood associations (there are some other types of organizations that can apply, too) to improve the 'hood with a grant for a project developed by the people that live there. Projects can be physical improvements or growing the neighborhood's capacity to be effective through leadership, organization or community building.

District 3 neighborhood associations have been successful with the grant program over the years, with new neighborhood signs, storm water pond landscape improvements, and parks features. 

The 2014 grants program is open, and this year there is an emphasis on placemaking. In addition to the reference, in short, it's about (re)making a physical place to attract people. It's that je ne sais quoi that makes a place the place you want to live, work, play or hangout. In Madison, we often think of Memorial Union, Willy St, Monroe St or Heritage Sanctuary or the park on the hill in Grandview. We can't recreate these places in new spots, but we can think about the elements that attract us and create them anew in our own area.

Here's more about this year's program:


The Department of Planning and Community & Economic Development, Planning Division, has a grant program designed to help neighborhood associations build capacity, beautify public places, and plan for the future. The grant program helps to improve the quality of life within neighborhoods, and the City as a whole.

PLACEMAKING - Placemaking proposals to activate public spaces with events and activities on three or more occasions during 2014 may earn up to 15 extra points. Guidelines will be available soon on this webpage.

MANDATORY PRE-APPLICATION DISCUSSION - All applicants must contact Linda Horvath of the Planning Division by February 14 to discuss project proposals at: 608-267-1131, or,

Workshop Presention.pdf

DUE: Monday, Feb. 24 at 4:30 pm. 

Application Forms and Guidelines

2014 Grant Application
2014 Grant Application Guidelines

Neighborhood Grant Projects Contacts:
Linda Horvath: Planning Division, 267-1131,
Rebecca Cnare: Planning Division, 266-4957,

Visit the City's Website on this topic at:

If you have an idea you'd like to discuss, I'd love to explore it with you. Call or email: 235-9179 or


Stay Home Monday Night (if you were planning to attend Plan Commission)
Posted January 24, 2014 at 7:20 PM

The Grandview Commons II proposal (extension of the subdivision out to Milwaukee St.) that was originally slated for a review at Plan Commission Monday night has been referred to March 10.  Here's a link to the project's page on the city's website:

Maybe it'll all come up roses this spring.

Stay warm this weekend and walk and drive carefully.

Grandview Commons "E1" Building Proposal Update
Posted January 11, 2014 at 3:13 PM

This project passed the Urban Design Commission Wed. with unanimous suppport, sending it on to the Plan Commission for Monday night. Here is a link to the agenda: It is item number number 17. (Sorry - and there's no way to know how quickly the agenda will proceed.)

The approval requests an okay for the general development pland and the specific implementation plan for the E1 building (82-unit apartment and retail) on Northstar Dr. and an okay on the general development plan for a smaller apartment (38 units) building to be built later on Jupiter Dr. 

Staff comments are here, and they recommend approval. If you'd like to comment, please do so by attending the meeting and registering to speak on the item by 6 pm. Comments must fit in a 3-minute window. 

I will not be able to attend this meeting and have shared that people really want the retail to hurry along.  

Turning a New Page for Area Parks - Two New Little Libraries Approved in Heritage Heights
Posted January 7, 2014 at 6:57 PM

It's a light night at the Common Council tonight, but good things just happened - the Council approved new Little Libraries at Heritage Heights Park and Kennedy Park. Many thanks to the neighborhood association, HHCA, and its board and members for forwarding this idea.

If your neighborhood would like a Little Library, you may always establish one on private property, or you may pursue one in a public park through the city's process. Email me at to learn about or start the process.

Turning a New Page for Area Parks - Two New Little Libraries Approved in Heritage Heights
Posted January 7, 2014 at 6:56 PM

It's a light night at the Common Council tonight, but good things just happened - the Council approved new Little Libraries at Heritage Heights Park and Kennedy Park. Many thanks to the neighborhood association, HHCA, and its board and members for forwarding this idea.

If your neighborhood would like a Little Library, you may always establish one on private property, or you may pursue one in a public park through the city's process. Email me at to learn about or start the process.

Grandview Commons Development Projects Approval Hearing Dates
Posted January 6, 2014 at 8:15 PM

Firm dates have been set for two major projects in this neighborhood.

The first is the 5-story apartment/retail building with the address of 5851 Gemini Drive and 841 Jupiter Drive. Two neighborhood meetings were held on the project, which conforms to the zoning, and feedback was provided and some elements were also incorporated in response. Most specifically, people were anxious to see as much retail on the first floor as early as possible. The project is designed to have 2000 square feet of retail when it is built, but the other first floor space will all be built as apartment homes that can be changed over as the retail market grows. Here is the link to see the plans and pictures:

It will be reviewed for the second time at the Urban Design Commission on Wednesday, January 8, where it received very positive feedback when it was seen for the first time. I expect it to pass on its design merits.

If you are interested in this project, please come to the Plan Commission meeting for your best bang for buck. The Plan Commission Public Hearing is set for Monday, January 13, 2014, at 6 pm. We don't have a number on the agenda yet, but should by Thursday and I will post it here.

You may also want to attend the Common Council meeting on Tuesday, January 21, which starts at 6:30. Both meetings are held in the City-County Building (210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd) in Room 201. 


The second project is the platting (lot and street creation plans) for Grandview North Addition, the property that fronts on Milwaukee St. and goes south along the eastern edge of the quarry property and up to the back of North Star Park. This proposal, too, conforms to the approved plans. It proposes 190 single family homes, 24 twin homes on 12 lots, 32 four-unit homes on 8 lots and 200 multi-family residences (apartments!) on just over 73 acres. It includes two more parks, one labelled dog park! near the quarry, and and expansion of North Star Park around the water tower.

Here is a link to the plans:

Development is planned to begin on MIlwaukee St. and move inward. Like most new neighborhoods, I expect it will take many years to complete.

This project will appear before the Plan Commission on Monday, January 27 at 6 pm, then at the Common Council on Tuesday, February 4, no earlier than 6:45 pm.

I will keep you posted as these agendas are published.

I would be delighted to host a meeting with interested parties before the Plan Commission meeting. Turnout has been light lately, so I'd love to hear if you'd like a meeting with the development team. Please let me know by email or phone 608-235-9179. If there is interest, I will post the meeting date and time here.If you just have questions or want to share comments, please let me know your thoughts, too!






Grandview Commons Development Projects Approval Hearing Dates
Posted January 6, 2014 at 8:14 PM

Firm dates have been set for two major projects in this neighborhood.

The first is the 5-story apartment/retail building with the address of 5851 Gemini Drive and 841 Jupiter Drive. Two neighborhood meetings were held on the project, which conforms to the zoning, and feedback was provided and some elements were also incorporated in response. Most specifically, people were anxious to see as much retail on the first floor as early as possible. The project is designed to have 2000 square feet of retail when it is built, but the other first floor space will all be built as apartment homes that can be changed over as the retail market grows. Here is the link to see the plans and pictures:

It will be reviewed for the second time at the Urban Design Commission on Wednesday, January 8, where it received very positive feedback when it was seen for the first time. I expect it to pass on its design merits.

If you are interested in this project, please come to the Plan Commission meeting for your best bang for buck. The Plan Commission Public Hearing is set for Monday, January 13, 2014, at 6 pm. We don't have a number on the agenda yet, but should by Thursday and I will post it here.

You may also want to attend the Common Council meeting on Tuesday, January 21, which starts at 6:30. Both meetings are held in the City-County Building (210 Martin Luther King Jr Blvd) in Room 201. 


The second project is the platting (lot and street creation plans) for Grandview North Addition, the property that fronts on Milwaukee St. and goes south along the eastern edge of the quarry property and up to the back of North Star Park. This proposal, too, conforms to the approved plans. It proposes 190 single family homes, 24 twin homes on 12 lots, 32 four-unit homes on 8 lots and 200 multi-family residences (apartments!) on just over 73 acres. It includes two more parks, one labelled dog park! near the quarry, and and expansion of North Star Park around the water tower.

Here is a link to the plans:

Development is planned to begin on MIlwaukee St. and move inward. Like most new neighborhoods, I expect it will take many years to complete.

This project will appear before the Plan Commission on Monday, January 27 at 6 pm, then at the Common Council on Tuesday, February 4, no earlier than 6:45 pm.

I will keep you posted as these agendas are published.

I would be delighted to host a meeting with interested parties before the Plan Commission meeting. Turnout has been light lately, so I'd love to hear if you'd like a meeting with the development team. Please let me know by email or phone 608-235-9179. If there is interest, I will post the meeting date and time here.If you just have questions or want to share comments, please let me know your thoughts, too!






Sex Offender Notification Meeting Wed., December 18
Posted December 17, 2013 at 5:40 PM

I received this notice today, which has been shared by the East District Police with nearby neighbors, and thought it was important for you to be aware of this meeting, which you are welcome to attend. This meeting will address the residential location on Milwaukee St. for a released sex offender. I will be at this meeting, too.

Community Notification Meeting Agenda
Date of Meeting: Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Time of Meeting: 6:00 PM-7:30 PM
Place of Meeting: East Police District Community Room
809 S Thompson Dr
Madison, WI

Meeting Objective: To provide information to the community about laws related to sex offenders in general; to provide information on the specific individual named in the bulletin, including specifics on their pattern of offenses; to provide information on the Madison Police Department's response plan related to the offender's return to the community and to present educational information on how to protect your children and yourself from sex offenders.

Meeting Schedule: Outlined below with topic and speaker. Questions will not be answered during the presentations. Note cards will be available for you to write down your questions. The cards will then be collected and the questions will be answered after the presentations are complete. Only those questions submitted in writing will be answered during the meeting. Panel members will respond to individual concerns (one to one) after the conclusion of the meeting.

• Introduction, Madison Police Department
• Sex Offender Community Notification Law, WI Dept of Corrections
• GPS as a monitoring tool, WI Dept of Corrections
• Information on Michael Nelson, WI Dept of Corrections Probation and Parole
• Madison Police Department Response Plan
• Protecting you and your family, Madison Police Department
• Break
• Question and Answer
• Adjournment

Click here for the document regardig the individual who is the subject of the meeting./council/district/districtfiles/district3/documents/Nelson_Michael_12182013.pdf

Snow Plow Update - Are they out there again?
Posted December 17, 2013 at 7:58 AM

Residents have wondered why it seems that there are plows at work often, even though we've not had a monster snow storm. Here's an update and an explanation. I must say, as the parent of a teen-age driver, I am glad for all of you and my family that the trucks are out there sanding, salting and cleaning up snow.

From Chriss Kelley, Madison's Streets Superintendent

posted December 17, 2013 5:18 AM


The City of Madison has been under a constant barrage of light snow in recent days.  The forecast is about another half inch to one inch of snow by 7am today.  Today's snow, along with other small accumulations has pushed out total about 3.5 inches in the last week. (We have a plowing policy of getting our the crews to plow residential when there are 3 inches or more.)

Because of this snow buildup the City of Madison will be plowing all residential streets starting at 7 am today.  Staff feels this four day accumulation of snow warrants a general plowing.  However, we will not be declaring a snow emergency.


The City of Madison will be plowing all residential streets today beginning at 7am, when the snow is forecasted to come to an end or at least the accumulating portion of the snow will end. At that time, we will deploy approximately 175 pieces of equipment to plow the 1742 lane miles of streets in the City. We are hoping that the plowing will be completed by 7 pm this evening.

We have been applying salt to our main streets in order to open them up for the morning commute, however the snow could cause problems during the morning commute; we do have some slippery spots. Drive carefully; drive slowly and brake early and you should give yourself time to stop.

If you'd like to receive snow updates, please visit this page and check the box "Get Snow Plow Updates."

Drive, walk and shovel carefully - I'm off to shovel now!

Winter Weather Updates
Posted December 8, 2013 at 6:33 PM

Streets and Plowing
From Chris Kelley, Your City of Madison Streets Superintendent
(posted December 8, 2013 4:54 PM)

The Streets Division applied salt brine to our main streets in advance,of today's snowfall in an effort to prevent snow from bonding to the pavement., We also had crews out on our 32 salt routes as soon as the snow began., Unfortunately, the very cold weather of the previous week had dropped pavement temperatures and the brine and salt have not been as effective as we would have liked., This has resulted in slippery conditions on many streets and generally poor driving conditions.

Drivers are urged to use caution when venturing out this evening., Drive slow, allow extra stopping distance and be especially careful when approaching intersections as well as on hills and curves.

We will continue to work on our salt routes, applying salt and brine as well as plowing those streets., We currently are planning to bring in an new shift of 32 operators to continue to run our salt routes at midnight., This shift will operate through the morning rush hour to get main roads as clear as possible for the morning commute., With snow forecast to continue through most of the evening hours, drivers should plan to get an earlier than normal start to their morning drive., You should allow extra time to get to your destination and drive with caution.

Later this evening we will be evaluating conditions to determine if a general plowing of residential streets is necessary., It is predicted that total snow accumulation will approach 3" which is our threshold for a general plowing., Snowfall totals may vary across the City of Madison and we will have to take that into account when making our decision on a general plowing., If a snow emergency will be declared we will do so before 9 p.m.

Please be prepared to shovel tomorrow if the snow stop tonight! The City takes its enforcement very seriously and often gets complaints from neighbors who call in unsafe sidewalks. So, please, on behalf of all the people who walk dogs, walk to a bus stop, run or walk for exercise all winter long, home delivery people and the kids who walk to school, shovel and de-ice as needed. 

Here's the quick version of the rules from the city's website.

To make public sidewalks safe for pedestrians, the owner or occupant of property immediately adjacent to a public sidewalk is responsible for the removal of any snow or ice that accumulates on the sidewalk. Residents are required to clear snow from their sidewalk by noon of the day after the snow stopped. And remember, snow plows might create a blockage even after your drive has been cleaned.

In the event that removal of ice is impossible, the property owner or occupant is required to use sand, salt or other suitable substance to prevent the ice from being dangerous. This should be done by noon of the day after the snow/ice stopped.

How much of my sidewalk do I have to clear?
The Ordinance requires the property owner to clear the entire width of the sidewalk, from edge to edge.

What the ordinance says: M.G.O. 10.28
(1) The owner of each lot or part of lot shall remove all snow and ice upon the sidewalk abutting the premises which he or she owns not later than 12:00 noon of the day after the snow or ice has accumulated on the sidewalk, regardless of the source of accumulation. The owner of property abutting sidewalks on two intersecting streets shall remove all snow and ice from the sidewalks of both streets, including that portion of the sidewalks bordering the crosswalk, including the curb ramp, if any, regardless of the source of the snow accumulation.

Provided that when ice has so formed upon any sidewalk that it cannot be removed, then the owner shall keep the same effectively sprinkled with sand, salt or other suitable substance in such manner as to prevent the ice from being dangerous, until such time as it can be removed, and then it shall be promptly removed. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be subject to a forfeiture of not less than twenty dollars ($20) nor more than fifty dollars ($50) for a first offense and not less than thirty dollars ($30) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100) for any subsequent offense. Each day any violation of this ordinance continues shall constitute a separate offense. (Am. by Ord. 11,218, 3-31-95; Ord. 13,760, Adopted 12-14-04; ORD-07- 00185, 12-20-07)
(2) The Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development shall cause all sidewalks which shall not have been cleared of snow and ice as above described, to be cleared upon default of the person whose duty it shall be to clear the same. An accurate account of the expenses incurred shall be kept and reported to the Finance Director, who shall annually prepare a statement of the expense so incurred in front of each lot or parcel of land and report the same to the City Clerk, and the amount therein charged to each lot or parcel of land shall be by said Clerk entered in the tax roll as a special tax against said lot or parcel of land, and the same shall be collected in all respects like other taxes upon real estate. Prosecution under Subsection (1) of this ordinance shall not bar the City from proceeding under Subsection (2) of this ordinance, nor shall proceeding under Subsection (2) bar prosecution under Subsection (1). (Am. by Ord. 8262, 2-20- 84; ORD-07-00185, 12-20-07; Am. by ORD-11-00037, 3-8-11)
(3) Actions for violations of Sec. 10.28(1) shall be commenced by citation as provided by Wis. Stat. § 66.0113 or summons and complaint or warrant as provided by Wis. Stat. § 66.0114(1)(a). (Am. by Ord. 6370, 10-10-78; ORD-07-00185, 12-20-07)

You are as responsible for clearing ice on your sidewalk as clearing snow.

Ice can be more dangerous and intimidating than snow.

  • The sooner and more completely you shovel, the less likely ice will form
  • Make arrangements for someone to take over while you are on vacation.
  • If the sidewalk has not been cleared by the required time, the property owner will be issued a citation with a fine.
  • Crews will remove the snow and ice from the sidewalk. Property owners will be billed for this service, and unpaid bills will be added to the owner's property tax.

In the house
From Madison Water Utility

As temperatures plummet into the single digits, Madison Water Utility is reminding customers to make sure pipes are protected. There are a few simple steps you can take right now to help keep your pipes from freezing:


Double-check outdoor spigots to make sure all hoses are disconnected and the spigots are turned off and drained.
Insulate pipes in unheated areas like crawl spaces, unheated garages, and attics.
Leave some heat on in unused areas of your home.
If you go out of town for a few days, keep your thermostat on at least 55 degrees and open any cabinets where sink plumbing is against an outside wall.
If you're leaving town for the winter, have your home and pipes professionally winterized.
And it's always a good idea to find the master shut off valve that turns the off water to your entire home – it's usually in the basement – and make sure everyone in the family knows where it is in case a pipe does freeze and burst.

Burst water pipes can be a nightmare. Take a look at video below taken inside a vacant Madison home where pipes on the second floor burst last winter. The mess wasn't found until spring, when a neighbor noticed water pouring out under a patio door.

If you know that a home in your neighborhood is vacant, keep an eye out for water leaking from under doors, or frost building up on the insides of windows. Call Madison Water Utility if you suspect problems and don't know where to locate the property's owner. (608)  266-4661 (dispatcher)

The 2014 Budget – What’s Planned for D3 and the City Next Year
Posted November 4, 2013 at 8:32 PM


The 2014 budget has arrived to a fairly peaceful reception for a total budget of just over $275 million to fund all of the city operations. When accounting for $73 million in revenue, and applying some of the city's savings (almost $4 million) the levy will likely come in slightly over $198 million.

The average home (currently valued at $230,831) will see the city's portion of the tax bill of come in about $2192.34, a $31 increase from last year. The levy limit imposed by the state limits the amount of money the city can raise to exactly $198,490,836.

The budget breaks down to 42% public safety and health; 23% transportation and public works; 13%; payments on borrowing; 7% each administration and the Department of Planning and Development; 5% library; and 3% for capital expenses; and 1% general government.

Final projects and numbers will be worked out over the next two, maybe three days as the Common Council deliberates the budget. Amendments will be debated that add or delete or even change dollar allocations from the mayor's initial proposal, but, there are no startling additions likely to come forward.

Here are the new amendments that have been proposed last week and will be discussed at the Common Council meetings this week, many of which make efforts to alleviate the situation for homeless people in Madison.
Operating Budget Amendments
Capital Budget Amendments

All meetings begin at 5:30 pm, with Tuesday (agenda link) starting with the Capital Budget in the City County Building Room 201. Citizens are welcome to comment during the public hearing, which starts at the beginning of the meeting. Comments are set to 5 minutes for the Capital Budget and 5 minutes for the Operating Budget. You may address 1 item or 10 items under each budget category, but you have to cover them all in 5 minutes. Once the public hearing closes on Tuesday, the Common Council moves into deliberations and there is no more opportunity for comment. Typically, the Capital Budget is passed first and on the first night.

The Wednesday meeting (agenda link) will also be held in the City County Building Room 201.

The Thursday meeting (agenda link), which I bet does not need to be held, is moved to the Madison Municipal Building in Room 260.

Some of the citywide highlights for this year include:

  • Renovations to Monona Terrace per its scheduled plan
  • A domestic violence partnership program between the police and Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (remember, the first murder of the year was in D3; the result of domestic violence)
  • Using technology to increase citizen involvement
  • $5,387,527 for 10 snowplowing
  • $1,600,000 for the Overture Center – no drama this year!
  • $6,708,172 in community development services, including senior services, youth programs, neighborhood centers, economic development and investments in contracted programs that serve people and neighborhoods in need. A portion of this overall allotment is a study to review and recommend how the city's process for investing in people and neighborhoods can be improved to get the best bang for our bucks.
  • $150,000 for planning for a biodigestor, allowing processing instead of landfilling for organic waste (food scraps, yard and pet waste, etc.) turning it into biogas to power electric generators.
  • The Library budget includes Sunday hours at Pinney Library, as well as the Central and Sequoya Libraries.
  • Funding for a potential east side dog park. (the far south end of Door Creek Park is under review to start the public process)
  • Replacement of some aging voting machines
  • $320,000 for emerald ash borer management (we have a lot of ash trees in the older part of D3)
  • $11,000,000 for bike paths all over the city, several segments on the near-er east side
  • $3,000,000 for a downtown public market
  • $300,000 to plan and prepare for up to 100 units of very low cost permanent housing for single people in an effort to address the growing and heart-breaking homelessness situation. The construction will take place in 2015, with a combined funding from the city and other sources.


Additional things that benefit D3 directly include:

  • $567,500 in 2014, $1 million in 2015 and $5.1 million in 2016 for Cottage Grove Rd. from just east of the interstate bridge to the relocated Sprecher Rd. (2018) to make it 4 lanes with bike lanes and sidewalks.
  • Reconstruction of the paths at Kennedy Park
  • $100,000 for an eastside library planning study.

Here are links to the budget documents for you to flip through or study:


Feel free to join us for the budget deliberations and add your comments in person or by email (

Overall, I think the budget tackles some pressing concerns for the city, makes reasonable improvements, and maintains services as we know them today. The difficulty in crafting a budget is to maintain affordability and value for our tax dollars, and at the same time, provide services that each of us appreciate – even if we use different services - to maintain the quality of life in Madison.

Update: Tonight's Plan Commission Meeting
Posted November 4, 2013 at 4:13 PM

The two apartment home projects are very late in the agenda, numbers 14 and 15! If you were planning on coming, you do not need to arrive at 5:30 sharp and might consider a 6 or 6:30 arrival to be safe and get free parking! I am waiting for a message to see if some of the earlier agenda items have been place on the consent agenda or removed from consideration.

Both projects have been recommended for approval by the Planning Division staff since they both comply with the zoning.

The Urban Design Commission, however, has issues with both of them, specifically the walls of the lower levels. Both buildings face sloping sites and underground parking. Since parking levels rarely have windows or more than a garage and service door, the buildings have been designed with not enough attention to some very tall, very blank walls that people wold walk by. This is neither attractive nor in keeping with building a neighborhood that welcomes walkers and prides itself on good design. Thus, Urban Design requested changes that need to come back to that group for approval on Nov. 13  for final approval. The projects cannot proceed without this and Common Council approval.

5817 Haley Way (Senior apartment home) review

502 Apollo Way (apartment home) review

If these projects are approved by the Plan Commission and the Urban Design Commission, both projects are slated for Common Council public hearing and review on Nov. 19.

Reminder: Sharpsburg Traffic Calming at Board of Public Works Wed. at 4:30
Posted October 29, 2013 at 8:44 PM

The McClellan Park Neighborhood Association board members and residents worked very hard on this proposalthat will be reviewed only at this public meeting. With approval from this board, construction will begin nearly right away to beat the winter weather.

 We are item number 9 (here's the agenda) and this is a pretty fast moving meeting, so I recommend that you come right at 4:30 to share your thoughts, and plan on being home for a late dinner - NOT a midnight snack!

See you there!


Traffic Calming on Sharpsburg Dr. - the vote is in, the meeting is set
Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:28 PM

As part of the approval for the Grandview Commons Towne Center, there was money set aside to have traffic calming installed along a likely travel route to the area-Sharpsburg Dr. The MPNA sponsored two meetings with me, attended by interested neighbors, and a City of Madison traffic engineer to identify and discuss likely "trouble spots" and propose ideas to avert traffic accidents and irritating driving behavior. The meetings yielded a plan for three types of traffic calming and initiated the approved city process to vote on traffic calming solutions.

The process is to survey neighbors on the portions of the street where the calming will be installed. We all recognize that we share the roads with all of our neighbors and their visitors, but it's the residents on the street who experience the unsafe driving and annoyance of speeding traffic every single day. And, they encounter the traffic calming installations every single time they leave the driveway.

The winner of the voting with 44% of the returned surveys is Option 1, a combination of three treatments: All traffic calming features shown on "Figure 1", including a traffic island just west of Galileo Drive, a traffic circle at Callisto Drive and a speed hump located between Callisto Drive and McClellan Drive. Click here for the survey sent to residents that describes Option 1, as well as the other choices.

The approval in December of last year was to install traffic calming before the opening of the first business in the town center, the Copps Market. In order to accomplish that, this proposal will be reviewed at the Board of Public Works meeting on October 30, at 4:30 in Room 108 in the City County Building. The agenda isn't published yet, but this meeting usually goes pretty fast so if you'd like to come, it won't take all night. With approval, installation will begin ASAP to finish the job before winter sets in.

Please take a close look at this plan, and share comments with me or come to the meeting on the 30th. Your understanding and input are very important. While almost everyone hates speeders and stop sign rollers, traffic calming can be nearly as unpopular. Safety – including traffic safety – is the foundation of a high quality neighborhood.  It always trumps convenience.

Developments in Grandview Commons Neighborhood @ Urban Design Commission this Wednesday
Posted October 21, 2013 at 11:58 PM

502 Apollo Way, a 105-unit 4-story apartment home with 185 spaces of parking (half underground) and a pool near the back (highway side) will be reviewed as item number 11.

Two neighborhood meetings were held for this project (although no one came to the second meeting) and comment is still welcome at the Urban Design Commission (Wed., Oct. 23) the Plan Commission Nov. 4 and the Common Council Nov. 19.

You can see plans and written descriptions at this link. Click on numbers 1 - 5 to open the documents.

5817 Halley Way is a project that was approved in 2007 but never built. The 60-unit older adult 3- and 4-story apartment and condo building with underground parking owned by Oak Park Place is back to have changes approved before construction beings this fall. The changes include increasing units from 58 to 60, changing balcony and exterior window locations and changing entries to the corners of the building at Halley Way and Northstar and Gemini. It will be reviewed as item number 10.

You can see plans and written descriptions at this link. Click on numbers 1 - 6 to open the documents.

This project will also be reviewed at the Plan Commission Nov. 4 and the Common Council Nov. 19.

The Urban Design Commission's role is to advise the Plan Commission on elements of design like landscaping, architecture, siding, roof and window materials, and other aesthetics that not only improve the building appearance, but also functionality. The Plan Commission then reviews projects for compliance with zoning, building placement, traffic, light and noise impacts. The two commissions complement each other and both appreciate resident input to make their recommendations.

You are welcome to share your comments about design on Wed. The meeting starts at 4:30 in room LL-110 of the Madison Municipal Building, 215 Martin Luther King Blvd. Enter on Doty St., take the stairs or elevator downstairs, just follow the hallway to the back of the building. Parking is available on the street or in the Government East ramp.

Unfortunately, this could be a late meeting for you, so if you need to economize on time, please send comments to me at and I will share your thoughts as both a member of the Commission and your alder. 

It would be great for you attend the Plan Commission meeting on Nov. 4 if you have comments about the projects in terms of size or impacts. I can also share your comments there, but this would be an important meeting for your in-person comments.

Last, please mark your calendars to attend a second meeting on October 28 at 7 pm at the Grandview Hall (lower level) Oak Park Place, 718 Jupiter Dr. to learn and discuss more about the two proposed mixed use buildings on Gemini Drive and Northstar Dr. (where the signs are across from the park). You can review one of the buildings at this link. We will see the second one at the meeting.



Let the Budgeting Begin!
Posted October 1, 2013 at 5:24 PM

The Capital Budget was introduced 2 weeks ago, and tonight its twin, the Operating Budget, will have its debut. The Mayor has provided this letter outlining his rationale for the operating budget he submitted. While the Capital budget is critical to our city's infrastructure, it generates a lot less excitement than the Operating budget, which supports programs and people.

The budget process begins with all the city agencies submitting a budget according to the mayor's instructions in the summer. These budgets are based on initiatives, available and projected dollars, service or infrastructure needs and input from citizens and alders over the year.

The Mayor takes all those agency budgets and crafts a city budget in two parts - the Capital and the Operating. Both budgets can be found on the City's Website.

This weekend, I will comb through the Operating Budget and post an update here outlining items in both "sides" of the budget specific to D3, and those throughout the city that affect all of us.

The budget can gets several kicks over the fall - the Board of Estimates (the city's finance committee) has an opportunity to change, add or delete items, then the whole Council has the opportunity to change, add or delete items. These actions are based on citizen feedback from the public hearings, alders' interactions and a lot of best judgment.
Please respond to my post with your thoughts about the budget - what's missing and what ought to be missing by Monday, October 14, so if an amendment is warranted, I can submit it for deliberation at the Board of Estimates. We do get a second chance at the Council level and those amendments are due to me on Monday, October 28. There's even a third chance during the final deliberations Nov. 5, 6 and maybe 7. Chances for success tend to diminish as the process goes on.

Here's a calendar of key moments in the Operating Budget process, cluding Public Hearings and meetings where budget items will be discussed. These meetings are also broadcast on TV and over the Internet on CitiChannel. It would be great to see you at a meeting!

Development Updates: Grandview Commons Neighborhood
Posted September 27, 2013 at 4:37 PM

There are two projects in the process in the neighborhood, both of which have had neighborhood presentations. Here is some additional information.

502 Apollo Way

Second meeting set for Thursday, October 10 at 6:30 pm at the East District Police Station. Postcards were sent to the most immediate neighbors, many of whom were not at the first meeting, so we can have a discussion focused particularly on their questions and concerns. The development team will be there.

Everyone/anyone is welcome to attend, but the focus will be on impacts for those who live on Lisa Ann and Apollo from the dead end to the intersection with Jupiter.

The Building Proposal on North Star, for Across from the the Park, Called the "E Block"
Many thanks to the dozen people that came to the meething on Tuesday. There were good questions and good ideas shared.

In summary, people were concerned about the 5-story height as this will be the tallest building in the neighborhood and there was discussion of the design, which is quite modern. Some liked it for its modern look, some preferred a more traditional aesthetic, but generally no one called it ugly! Some neighbors suggested stepping back the top one or two stories to help the building appear smaller.

The building is designed to have a retail or commercial tenant on the first floor, something very common in urban and new urban apartment home designs. The developer is starting the building with a smaller retail area and building out the rest of the first floor as apartments, planning on the retail demand growing over time and being able to convert the apartments to shops or offices. Some people preferred that the building get built with the retail fully in place, but the developer feels that empty storefronts are more damaging to a neighborhood than ones that come online more slowly. One idea was to move the retail to the corner, not have it in line with the apartments facing Northstar so taht it stands out more. Another person requested leaving room for greenery - whether it's balconies with ample room for plants or rooftop plants.

The project was presented to the Urban Design Commission (UDC) the next Wednesday, where I shared the comments from the neighborhood meeting. The UDC presentation was for information only, meaning that the commissionesr make comments and suggestions on the design and the team incorporates these ideas (or not!) for when the project returns for its approval. Apartment homes of this size are always reviewed by UDC per Madison ordinances.

Commissioner comments were:

  1. Given the prominent placement of the building ( a highlight building on a highlight corner on a highlight hill) make sure the design is remarkable - try something completely different. This was in response to the current design, which is striking and modern, but also a design that is sort of becoming the style of the 20-teens. 
  2. It's an attractive building.
  3. Consider additional windows, especially on the corner
  4. Don't muck up the building with signage for the businesses
  5. Make the uppoer level as special as the lower level. Sometimes buildings are designed to appeal to we pedestrians as we pass by but the top levels are forgotten.
  6. Work on additional ways to make the lower level be comfortable and realistic for apartment use for the time these units are lived in by people. 
  7. Did not recommend stepping back the top stories, feeling it wasn't effective in reducing the perception of the size.

The proposal is slated for review at City Commissions on these nights:

  • Formal Project Submittal:     November 6, 2013
  • UDC Formal Review:      December 18, 2013
  • Plan Commission Meeting:     January 6, 2014
  • Common Council Meeting:     January 21, 2014

Please review the project in its conceptual form here, and read the details further.

The developemnt is working on a second building behind this one and we can review changes to E1, when we see "E2" at a nother meeting.

We will eventaully have new more fianlized drawings to discuss. Send comments and thoughts to




Pick Up Sticks, Madison: Final brush collection starts Sept. 30
Posted September 27, 2013 at 3:50 PM


The Streets Division will begin the final round of brush collection Monday September 30th. 

"Every neighborhood in the city will receive one more brush collection, starting Monday September 30th," Madison recycling coordinator George Dreckmann said.  "It is our goal to be done with brush collection by the time the volume of leaves picks up so we can assign brush crews to leaf collection."

 Madison residents should get their brush trimmed and to the curb as soon as possible to avoid missing the final collection of the season.  You can get updated information on when crews are expected in your area by calling 267-2088 or by going to

Madison residents can also bring their brush to the Streets Division's drop off sites at 1501 W. badger Rd and 4602 Sycamore Av.  The sites are open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and on Tuesday and Thursday they are open until 8 p.m.

Tuesday meeting time is actually 7:30!
Posted September 23, 2013 at 9:52 AM
Reminder and pictures for tomorrow's Grandview Commons Northstar Dr. development proposal meeting
Posted September 23, 2013 at 9:42 AM

If you live in the Grandview Commons Neighborhood, please join neighbors and the development for a presentation of the mixed-use building proposal (link to the concept sketches and description) on Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 7 pm in the Capitol Room (fourth floor) at the Oak Park Place Arbors, 618 Jupiter Dr.

The project, which abides by the neighbprhood plans and zoning code, is a 5-story apartment home and retail/commercial building across the street from the park on Northstar Dr. 

Please come to share your comments!

Development Updates: Two proposals in Grandview Commons and Cottage Grove Rd.
Posted September 17, 2013 at 8:10 PM

Mixed Use Buildings on Northstar Dr., the lot across from the Village Green Park
Next Tuesday, September 24, we will hold a meeting at the Arbors (618 Jupiter Dr.) in the Capitol Room at 7:30 to discuss this proposal. Basically, the buildings comply with the neighborhood plans and zoning, and there are many details that residents can affect with their input.

Postcards were mailed to nearby neighbors, and since this is a prominent place in the Grandview Commons Neighborhood, it's a project many people might want to learn more about and contribute to.

Please come to the meeting to learn and share!

Apartment building proposal for 502 Apollo Way
A neighborhood meeting was held in August for nearby neighbors about this 95 – 105 unit development with a community room, exercise room and outdoor pool. Neighbors were interested in operations, hours of the amenities, traffic and impact on their neighborhood.

Although this project also meets the neighborhood plan and zoning regulations, it may come as a surprise to some that apartment homes are integrated into areas with single-family homes. This is not an arrangement that we all grew up with and while more common in Madison, it can still cause some friction.

As a result, I have asked the developer to hold another meeting with neighbors on the street to have another full discussion about the project. This can happen in the proposed schedule for public hearings at the Plan Commission (Monday, November 4), the Common Council (Tuesday, November 19) and the Urban Design Commission (Wednesday, October 23). Neighbors will receive a postcard when the meeting is arranged.

Cottage Grove Rd. (east of I90/39) is being reconstructed on the northern side as planned for this year to complete the entrances and turning lanes in concert with the Town Center development. In addition, Gemini Drive will continue from its current "start" and connect through the Town Center to Cottage Grove Rd. Work should finish about the beginning of November. Sidewalks will be both completed and widened from this new Gemini-Cottage Grove Rd. intersection east to McLean. Storm sewers, curb and gutter, and new streetlights will be installed in new medians.
The road should stay open at all times, but there will be lane shifts so be aware because every day could be a different configuration!

Reiner Road construction will begin in October, so look forward to a smooth ride all the way to the north!

District 3 Neighborhood Activities
Posted September 10, 2013 at 8:06 AM

Tuesday, September 10, 6:30 at Messiah Lutheran Church
Heritage Heights Community Association Safety Meeting

Membership drive underway - joining your Association means you're connected to your community. Well worth the $12!

Wednesday, Septmber 11, 3:30 to 7 pm
Capitol View Farmers' Market with teh 4th Annual Corn Boil Fundraiser
Enjoy the last of summer on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at the Capitol View Farmers Market (3:30 to 7 pm) with the annual corn boil fundraiser. Jim Nehmer, one of the vendors, donates his home-grown sweet corn and CVFM board members cook it up for you complete with butter and salt for only $1. And you can buy yourself a dozen for Thursday night!


The Food Carts will be there for the "main dish", add a a fresh squeezed lemonade, and finish with a gelato for a complete picnic. Then start your shopping for veggies, baked goods, meats and seafood for the rest of the week.. 

Corn served from 4 to 6 pm.

Thursday, September 12, 7 pm at the Alliabnce Church on Acewood
Rolling Meadows Neighborhood Association Meeting

If you liove in this neighborhood, please attend the meeting. A representative from Wisconsin Dept. of Transportation will be talking about the plans for Hwy 51.





Dirt, Dust and Development
Posted August 20, 2013 at 1:56 PM


For McClellan Park Neighbors
On Thursday, August 22, there will be two meetings held back-to-back.
First, a presentation from the developer for a newly proposed apartment home project for 502 Apollo Way. The developer would like to share their concepts, drawings and management plan, and gather your thoughts about the 95- to 105-unit single building with amenities and underground parking. The meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, August 22, in the Capitol Lounge at Oak Park Place, 702 Jupiter Drive.

At 7 pm, a second meeting will convene in the same place regarding traffic calming proposals for Sharpsburg, as approved and funded in the approval process for the Grandview Commons Town Center.

Traffic Engineer Scott Langer will present the next draft of the measures and gather your feedback on this section of the road.

Town Center Construction
While this project got off to a late start and shocked some people with the speed at which it's progressed, the work will continue with a goal in mind to open the Copp's Market and first small retail building in the spring of next year.

In response to concerns about the wrong trees being removed, the development and planning team did an inspection at the beginning of the work and documented that indeed things were proceeding to plan and no tenets of the approved plan were violated. Jeff Rosenberg of Veridian Homes has undertaken the role of responding to concerns and questions, so if you have any of those, he is ready and willing to work with you. He can be reached by email at I can also help with getting your questions answered, or if something seems strange.

With regard to construction work hours, Monday through Saturday, work must be within the hours of 7 am and 7 pm. On Sunday, the permissible hours are between 10:00 am and 7 pm. There are a few exceptions, but they rarely apply to general work.

You can use Report-a-Problem to notify Building Inspection and they will address the issue with the owner and contractor.

For All Eastsiders
Finally, the road that goes from good to bad to good again will be good all over!
Reiner Rd's "missing and bumpy link" will undergo re-surfacing this fall thanks to an agreement between the Town of Burke and the City of Madison to share in costs. Because parts of the road are in different jurisdictions and municipalities rarely perform road repairs for each other, there's been a forgotten segment of the road despite the great improvements over the last couple years.

Eventually, the road will be a 4-lane boulevard that takes people smoothly and attractively north and south, but it will wait for development to take off, which is what helps pay for the improvements.

Capitol View Farmers Market Updates
The market has been trying to expand food choices at the market and invited 5 Food Carts with a wide variety of foods to participate at the market. Please stop up and have your Wednesday meal from the cart, as you pick up the fresh ingredients for Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Food carts do generate more consumer waste, and the single garbage can at the park can't hold it all, so please discard your wrappings in the can provided by the food carts themselves.

Dog Policy
CVFM is one of the few markets in town that welcomes dogs. Generally, there have been no problems, but complaints have come and some dogs really haven't been able to maintain their good manners at the market. In response, the Board is requiring a 2-foot leash (just shorten yours at the market) and good behavior.

Any dog that is barking excessively or lunging at people or other dogs, has his or her nose in an inappropriate place or otherwise threatens strollers and walkers will be asked to leave immediately.

The market is intended as a food and social experience for everyone, and that requires that everybody, no matter how many feet they walk in on, must be polite and respectful.

Watch out for water scammers!
Posted August 20, 2013 at 1:02 PM


Madison Water Utility once again warns customers of scammers in the area

Madison, WI – August 20, 2013 – This morning, Madison Water Utility received an email from an outraged customer who said he'd been approached at his near west side property by two MWU employees. The men demanded immediate payment of a new water meter surcharge and even pulled a large tool out of their trunk and threatened to turn off his water on the spot if he didn't pay up. So he handed over $250 cash. Incredulous at the way he'd been treated, he fired off an angry email to the Water Utility.

And it's a good thing he did. The men are not employees of Madison Water Utility, and his case has been turned over to the Madison Police Department for investigation.

According to the victim, the men were driving a white, four-door sedan with some kind of official-looking City of Madison or Madison Water Utility lettering on the side. He also says they had some lettering or logo on their shirt lapels.

It's important to remember there is no charge to customers for the new Project H2O metering systems we are installing across Madison. Our employees always carry photo identification and drive Madison Water Utility vehicles. Our crews in the field never take money directly from customers – we only take payments online, by mail, or in person at our billing office or the City Treasurer's office.

If you are approached by anyone claiming to be with the Water Utility who is demanding money, contact the police immediately.

Capitol View Farmers Market Welcomes Food Carts Today
Posted July 24, 2013 at 2:19 PM

It's more than the traditional market today - even though it's rumored that fresh Wisconsin peaches will be available and that should be draw enough! Two food carts will visit this evening, rounding out the variety of foods and reasons to stop in to shop and socialize.

Food carts Fried and Fabulous and FIB (Fine Illinois Beef) will be on hand to feed you tonight's dinner as you plan and shop for tomorrow night's dinner.

Market open from 3:30 pm to 7 pm in the Grandview Commons area - just off the intersection of Cottage Grove Road and North Star Drive. 

Next Week: Music from the Prairie Bayou Band at 4 pm! (and we're calling on more food carts!)


Summer Meetings Bring Eastside Change
Posted July 16, 2013 at 9:56 PM

Fire Station Grand Opening
Fire Station 13, our district lucky number, will host a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, July 23, from 9 am to 9:30 am. Join the Mayor, fire department staff, those involved with the design and construction, and me for a celebration of this first east-of-the-interstate city building. The technical address is 6350 Town Center Drive. See you there!

Checkout the Eastside Library News
At the July 11 Library Board meeting at the Pinney Library, the board heard many D3, D15 and D16 residents talk about the importance of a vital Pinney Library and a future Grandview Commons Library.

The current budget proposal the Board sent to the Mayor has Pinney design in 2014 and construction in 2015. It is highly likely it will move to the site formerly known as Royster Clark. Let's hope yellow is not the predominant color scheme!

Grandview is slated for design in 2017 and construction in 2018.

Your voice is important to advocate for these proposals as they wend their way through the budgets over the years. Stay tuned and stay engaged. Here's the budget worksheet, with two scenarios to reflect the Mayor's request to offer a "full funding" and a 10 percent reduction:

New Eastside Bus Routes and Schedules
On August 25, the eastside gets a new bus route through the neighborhoods east of the interstate. This affects other routes in Heritage Heights, too, so take a peek at the ride guide here to check your ride before you walk out to ride to work on your new bus. Specifically, Route 14 stops are now served by new Route 33 and Route 15 is now Route 32.

And, as always this summer, meet at the Capitol View Farmers' Market every Wednesday from 3:30 to 7 pm. New vendors, entertainment and visits from food carts are new additions.


Library Board Meeting Thursday, 4:30 pm at Pinney Library
Posted July 8, 2013 at 7:25 AM

The Library Board selected the Pinney Branch Library specifically to hear eastside residents' thoughts about the proposed move of the Pinney Branch to the former Royster Clark site and the inclusion of the Grandview Commons Library in the 5-year budget.

As you may recall, the Grandview Library was removed from the budget in the first draft, essentially ending the project.

A resident of Sprecher East and I attended the last Library Board Meeting and that, coupled with emails sent by others, resulted in the library's return to the 5-year plan. Now, your attendance at this meeting witll solidify that until it's built!!

The Board is anxious to hear your ideas, thoughts and concerns, and answer questions about both libraries.

The room is small, so try to arrive abaout 4:15 to register and get a seat. We are Item 8, but it's an efficient agenda and will go quickly.

Here's the link to the agenda, review the budget attachment for a good background.

Great Outcome at the Library Board
Posted June 13, 2013 at 9:28 PM

Thanks to Ryan Jennissen's (Sprecher East neighborhood resident) attendance and emails fron residents today, the library board moved to amend the proposed Capital Improvement Budget proposal to include the Grandview Library in 2017 and 2018.

Many thanks to board members and staff for working through this. In addition, the next Library Board Meeting will be held at the Pinney Branch Library on July 11 in order to invite residents in the area to hear about the decision-making process for libraries and provide testimony.

My testimony focused on the long-made promise to residents of the area, the fact that Veridian has donated the land and start-up funds for a capital campaign, and that the library will function as not just a book and CD/DVD place, but a key piece of the community building for the area. I shared that appx 41,000 new residents will someday fill the area east of the highway and we should continue to plan ahead for services, and we are on a roll with the new Town Center breaking ground this month and bus service in August.

I also shared support for the Pinney Branch expansion because I think there is plenty of need and we will be well-served by the two libraries, especially as we continue to grow in this district. It was a great meeting with significant discussion from board members. 

Please come to the meeting on July 11 to share your ideas. A strong show of support is important to keep this project into the future, as each budget is developed "for real" on a year by year basis.


Library Update
Posted June 13, 2013 at 10:04 AM

Thanks to all of you who have commented about the LIbrary Board's pending action tonight. I fully realize that "drop everything to drive across town for a meeting" isn't normal behavior. Some have said they want the library in Grandview but cannot get to a meeting - totally understandable-so use the power of the pen (or keyboard.)

So, if you'd like toweight in - it is perfectly acceptable to send an email to the Library Board to share your thoughts - no matter what sscenario you prefer. Addresses are listed below.

Some residents have asked for the matter to be referred so that people can come to testify at another meeting. The Board is under some time pressure to submit its budget to the city. I will ask for a referral if my request to extend the existing agreement to maintain the donated lot in Grandview and the $250,000 contribution for another 5 years. Veridian, who made these gifts, is in full support of that. That gives the area time to grow as the economy recovers and more years of advocacy and fundraising.

It is unlikely the Grandview Library will beincluded in teh 5-year Capital Improvement Plan to be included in the 2014 budget, but any item that is listed in later years, as we've seen across the city, is not guaranteed. There is actually a lot of movement, especially for projects listed in later years. City budgets are only for one year and by law, no future council is bound to honor things in outer years. The Council typically does is something is underway, for example when design for a building is done, but the construction hasn't been started. But, even those projects get delayed due to lack of money.

Please voice your opinion today!

 David L. Wallner

Gregory Markle

Larry Palm

Nancy L. Kieraldo

Rissel Sanderson

Sheri Carter

Theodore C. Widder, III

Tracy K. Kuczenski

Library Update
Posted June 13, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Thanks to all of you who have commented about the LIbrary Board's pending action tonight. I fully realize that "drop everything to drive across town for a meeting" isn't normal behavior. Some have said they want the library in Grandview but cannot get to a meeting - totally understandable-so use the power of the pen (or keyboard.)

So, if you'd like toweight in - it is perfectly acceptable to send an email to the Library Board to share your thoughts - no matter what sscenario you prefer. Addresses are listed below.

Some residents have asked for the matter to be referred so that people can come to testify at another meeting. The Board is under some time pressure to submit its budget to the city. I will ask for a referral if my request to extend the existing agreement to maintain the donated lot in Grandview and the $250,000 contribution for another 5 years. Veridian, who made these gifts, is in full support of that. That gives the area time to grow as the economy recovers and more years of advocacy and fundraising.

It is unlikely the Grandview Library will beincluded in teh 5-year Capital Improvement Plan to be included in the 2014 budget, but any item that is listed in later years, as we've seen across the city, is not guaranteed. There is actually a lot of movement, especially for projects listed in later years. City budgets are only for one year and by law, no future council is bound to honor things in outer years. The Council typically does is something is underway, for example when design for a building is done, but the construction hasn't been started. But, even those projects get delayed due to lack of money.

Please voice your opinion today!

 David L. Wallner

Gregory Markle

Larry Palm

Nancy L. Kieraldo

Rissel Sanderson

Sheri Carter

Theodore C. Widder, III

Tracy K. Kuczenski

Grandview Commons Library: Important Decision tomorrow, Thursday, June 13, 4:30 pm
Posted June 12, 2013 at 10:14 PM

Madison's Library Board has undertaken a new, rigorous process to establish new libraries based on many criteria ranging from service area population, current usage patterns, cost of space and cost to run. As a result of this new process, I received a phone call tonight that the Grandview Commons proposed new branch is in jeopardy and will be recommended to NOT be included in the 5-year Capital Improvement Plan. For eastsiders this is a blow that is somewhat mitigated by the recommended plan to move the current Pinney Branch to the Royster Clark redeveloped site at twice the size.

The library board and staff have determined that the system cannot afford to expand, that is, add new branches for a long time. To give some perspective, a library requires $800,000 to $1,000,000 to run. And that's not accounting for building and equipping one to start. Libraries are valuable and Madison takes great care to set them up and maintain them well. With regard to the Grandview Library, the land has been donated to the city and there is a $250,000 gift to start the capital campaign that has been in place for nearly a decade from Veridian.

I support the Pinney move and the Grandview Library and will attend the Library Board meeting tomorrow night at 4:30 at the former Ace Hardware Store at Meadowood Shopping Center 5740 Raymond Rd. to advocate for the Grandview Library, even if the outcome is a delayed schedule. Please join me.

As with many parts of Madison, the nearby library serves many functions - not just for books, CDs and computers. It is a community center, a place for group learning, meetings and a destination point that people take pride in. Unfortunately, to date, the areas on the far eastern edge of Madison continue to lack a community gathering space that this library could ideally serve. No school, no community center. Thankfully private places open their doors to meet, but it's still not an investment by our city.

Here's the link to the agenda Please see item 8, the Capital Improvement Report.

The library board has unique decision-making powers and its opinion is critical.

If you want this library, please drop everything and come to the meeting to share your thoughts. Your testimony is critical for the board to understand what a library would mean - even if it's on a further delayed schedule.


Parking, traffic calming and new bus route
Posted June 7, 2013 at 6:01 PM

It's a big month for transportation conversation in D3!

Parking-No Parking-Limited Parking In Door Creek/Reston Heights Neighborhood
If you live in the Reston Heights/Door Creek area, there's a next step in the parking - no parking conversation we've been holding for the last 6 months.

With the blossoming of new apartment home building in the East Hill/Littlemore area, there have been struggles with parked cars blocking winter streets and mailboxes, and posing safety issues at intersections. Traffic Engineering has prepared a draft plan to accommodate residents' needs for street parking (guests, a quick run in to the house, etc.) and improve safety.

Those of you in the immediate area received postcards to take a look at these maps: Map 1 and Map 2, to review and comment on the plan. We'd like to see if we can gain agreement by email since we've had several meetings on the topic, I have met many neighbors in the area when knocking on doors for another purpose, and the traffic engineer also met neighbors in his site review. Thanks for all your input to get us to this point!

Please share your comments by email or call me at 235-0179. If you could let me know if your suggestion relates to a specific place on the streets in the plan, it would be helpful to leave me the address.

If we find significant differing opinions, we will hold a meeting.

Traffic Calming in Grandview Commons
Monday, June 17, at 6 pm at the Great Dane upper level meeting room, the MPNA (the neighborhood association) board, a City of Madison traffic engineer and I are hosting the first of several conversations about traffic calming in anticipation of the Grandview Commons Town Center being built. Money was put in the budget during the approval phase for traffic calming and you get to help decide how it's spent!

This first meeting will be to learn about what traffic calming is and isn't, how the city process works and hear your real life concerns and experiences about bad driving behavior in the neighborhood, particularly those main roads that may be primary neighborhood choices for travel to the Town Center. It's clear there is already some speeding, and this effort seeks to solve that and set the stage for continued proper driving. NO DECISION WILL BE MADE AT THIS MEETING.  We will probably hold 3 or more meetings. The final one, to present a plan, will be noticed to all neighbors in the area to attend. Please check back here for updates on the in-between meeting dates and activities. 

New Bus Route for McClellan Park and Sprecher East Starts August 25, 2013
Finally, these neighborhoods have access to city bus service like everyone else in D3! A new loop, the 33, through these two neighborhoods passed on May 29th. The route wil loop through the area and connect to the east transfer point to connect you to additional busses. There's one every 15 minutes during commute times to take you north, south and downtown. Planners are busily finalizing stops and you can get updated maps with stops and schedules about mid-July on line here:

Postcards will be sent to residents of the neighborhood this summer and hard copy bus guides will be available in early August. Thinking about taking hte bus? I love it because it saves me time and dollars. If you work downtown or on campus, consider taking the bus. Many employers in that area offer free or significantly reduced priced unlimited bus passes. I have read more of my mail, email and book club selections by 8 am this year, thanks to taking the bus. And, it only takes me about 5 more minutes to get to work than when I have to use the car.

Please feel free to send me your thoughts on any of these topics by email district3@cityofmadison or call 235-9179.



Capitol View Farmers' Market Opens Wed., May 29 at 3:30 pm
Posted May 27, 2013 at 8:58 PM

Despite the dreary Memorial Weekend skies, it's gonna be spring on Wednesday because the only Far East Side Farmers' Market is opening with worm wrangling and bean seed planting at 3:30 - and the sun is gonna shine!

There are 14 vendors with vegetables, meats, bakery, plants, and, of course, kettle corn and fresh squeezed lemonade for sampling and shopping.

Visit the Website for updates and events:

As the May/June market special event, which starts at 4 pm, Madison Mounted's Police Horses and their Officer Riders will be on site, Madison Fire Department will bring a truck, the worm bin will be open for digging and every kid goes home with a newly planted bean seed to grow their own. There will be free Schoep's ice cream cups, too.

But, by far, this is a community builder where neighbors new and old meet at one of D3's high points.

See you this Wednesday and every Wednesday from 3:30 to 7 pm until October 2.

Door Creek Church Expansion Receives Final Approval
Posted May 21, 2013 at 8:13 PM

The Common Council, following the approvals of the Plan Commission and the Urban Design Commission, approved the plans for an addition to Door Creek Church which includes additional worship space, meeting and office space, more parking, and recreational uses as described below:

  • 19,000 sf addition to the existing 24,000 sf Door Creek Church. The addition is proposed on the north side of the existing building, along the parking lot side. The building addition includes two 300-seat worship venues, meeting rooms, and office space.
  • The height of the addition varies. To its tallest point, the building is approximately 38 feet in height, though much of the addition is under a height of 30 feet and shorter than the existing building. The addition will match the existing building in design, materials, and color, with the building primarily clad in split face concrete block.
  • The existing 365 stall parking lot will be expanded to provide an additional 110 net vehicle stalls. A second driveway to Hopewell Drive is proposed, located closer to Sprecher Road where an existing driveway apron exists.
  • Other site changes include the creation of new softball and soccer fields on the northeast corner of the property. A walking path is also proposed along much of the site's northern and eastern perimeter. 

Throughout the process starting with a neighbors' mailing and meeting, the Urban Design Commission and Plan Commission, the project received either positive comments or little reaction. Door Creek Church plans to continue to be a good neighbor and an asset to a neighborhood with community space for meeting and recreation, a civic space for voting, and outdoor space for activity.

Construction should start this summer.



Door Creek Zoning Change at Plan Commission: Covenant Changes to Allow Sheds
Posted May 17, 2013 at 4:42 PM

If you live in the Door Creek area and are part of the Door Creek Homeowners' Association*, please consider attending the Plan Commission meeting on Monday, May 20, for this item: a change to the PUD, which is the zoning, driven by a change to the covenants to now allow backyard sheds. The Board of the Home Owners Association pursued this change to the covenants on the neighborhood level, and the city will review it at this next step, which is a public hearing for your input. Here's the staff report, which recommends approval of the change. (It is the last item on the agenda - number 16. . .)


* You should have received a voting ballot and a postcard from the City announcing the public hearing if you are a member. Not all homes in the Door Creek neighborhood are part of this homeowner's association. 

It's Budget Season!
Posted May 7, 2013 at 5:37 PM

For the third year, the City of Madison's Mayor and Council are trying new methods to get your opinions about how your tax dollar should be spent, and share the ins and outs of the city budget.

Many of you may have participated in Community Budget Conversations or meetings and hearings about the budget in years past. It's fascinating to hear what the city departments are proposing, and what your neighbors think is important to the city, too.   

Visit the City's brand new Budget Page to learn about the budget (revenue and expenditures), ways to share your thoughts, and the Community Budget Conversations, highlighted below.

There are five ways to participate - I hope you can join at least one!

  1. Attend a Community Budget Conversation
    Work / Invent & Create
    Thursday, May 9th, 2013 | 7pm - 8:30pm
    Madison Senior Center
    330 West Mifflin Street

    Get Around / Build Opportunity for All
    Wednesday, May 15th, 2013 | 7pm - 8:30pm
    Packers Community Center Room
    1927 Northport Drive

    Be Healthy & Safe/Live
    Thursday, May 23rd, 2013 | 7pm - 8:30pm
    Jefferson Middle School
    101 South Gammon Road

    Eat/Play & Enjoy
    Wednesday, May 29th, 2013 | 7pm - 8:30pm
    The Villager Atrium Community Room
    2300 South Park Street

  2. Click the Feedback Tab (left side of this page) to submit an idea

  3. Take part in the Ideas poll.

  4. Call me at 235-9179 or email me at

  5. Join me to chat on Saturdays Sept. 14, 21 and 28  from 9 to 11 am at the Heritage Cafe and Bakery 4674 Cottage Grove Rd. Casual and conversational!    


Door Creek Church Expansion at Plan Commission Mon., May 6
Posted May 3, 2013 at 10:37 AM

The Door Creek Church building expansion and parking lot expansion passed the Urban Design Commission and are off to Plan Commission on Monday, sometime after 6 pm. It is Item No. 17 on the Plan Commission agenda. The agenda has details for you to attend.

The City's Planning Staff report notes that it meets the standards for approval. Because it meets the standards, has received no negative (as of yet) comments on the plan from citizens and neighbors, and received unanimous approval from  the Urban Design Commission (summary comments), this item is likely to pass without much discussion or change. It will appear at the Common Council on May 21.

If you have comments on the project, please attend the Plan Commission meeting. I have received only positive comments about the project to date, but all comments are welcome and needed!


Spring Things in Madison
Posted April 23, 2013 at 10:01 PM

As April winds down and May winds up, here are a few things that might interest you.

Development Updates
The Door Creek Church passed the Urban Design Commission with some suggestions for landscaping and parking lot beautification, and will appear at the Plan Commission on Monday, May 6. The meeitng starts at 5:30 pm and I will post the agenda here so you can attend to share your comments. The project should come to the Common Council on Tuesday, May 21.

Sprecher East Neighborhood Hovde Proposal
This proposal info. was posted here almost two weeks ago, based on the development team's scheduled appearance at the Urban Design Commission for a discussion, and then a tentative presentation to neighbors at the SENA annual meeting this coming Saturday. The development team has withdrawn the proposal at this time. When further plans for plans are available, I will post them here and we'll begin the neighborhood meeting process. 

Neighborhood Association Activities
Spring is often the time for neighborhood and home owners' associations to host annual meetings. If you belong to one, please be on the look out for these events and other spring meet-you-neighbor activities. If you don't belong to yours yet, please consider joining. Dues are minimal and typically support communication tools like websites and newsletters, social events for all agea, neighborhood improvements and your neighborhood's ability to engage with the city on many fronts from development to safety to overall policy. Your voice alone is powerful, but when you speak with your neighborhood association behind you, Madison really sits up to listen to the roar!

Here are a few upcoming neighborhood events with great agendas, presenters and discussions among neighbors:

McClellan Park Neighborhood Association Annual Membership Meeting on Thursday, April 25th at 6pm in the Grandview Meeting Room (LL) at Oak Park Place (718 Jupiter Dr?.)

Sprecher East Neighborhood Association Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 27, from 10 - noon at East District Police Station.

Heritage Heights Neighborhood Association Annual Meeting will be held Tuesday, May 14, at 7pm at the east side Great Dane.

Parks Events
VOLUNTEER for the 2013 Earth Day Challenge-April 27, 2013
Earth Day is a great opportunity to get out and help support our Parks. Earth Day Challenge Projects are held all over Madison in many of our 260 parks. Volunteers may assist with trash pick up, weeding, or other beautification projects.

Elver Park, Sunday, May 5, 9a.m. – noon

What is the Kids 2 Kids Garage Sale?
The City of Madison Parks Division will host the Kids to Kids Garage Sale as a part of the new Trucks and Treasures event. This is a great event in which youth can reserve a space to sell their own items to other kids.
It's not too late to sign up to sell items at the garage sale. Deadline is Friday, April 26

What is the Big Rig Gig?
A showcase of Madison's premiere public services, employees and equipment.
Fire Engines.. Dump Trucks..Front Loaders..Skid Steers..Tractors!
Kids of all ages can climb on, explore, and get up close with their favorite big rigs including a skid steer, snow plow, tractor, cherry picker, front loader, fire engine, dump truck, police car, construction trucks, and much more! 
Admission is FREE.  Parents bring your cameras. Don't miss this event!

Rain Barrel and Composter Sale Saturday, May 4, Alliant Energy Center 9 am to 1 pm
You can get details on the sale at  This is a one day only sale!

This city is also looking for volunteers to assist with this year's sale. Consider working a two-hour shift from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. or from 10 a.m. until Noon. If you would like to volunteer you can contact George Dreckmanm, Madison's Recycling Coordinator at 267-2626 or

See you at a meeting soon!

What's It Worth? 2013 home assessments out
Posted April 22, 2013 at 7:30 PM

The 2013 property assessments are now available at the City Assessor's portion of the City website at Property values increased 1.0% overall from the 2012 assessments.  Notices were mailed today to all property owners whose assessment changed from the previous year.  If your assessment is unchanged, you will not receive a notice. A copy of the report "Assessments by Aldermanic District" gives you an overview of the city.

Assessments can be sensitive topics - we all want our homes to be valued as much as we love them, especially if we are thinking of selling soon. But, a higher assessment means higher taxes. Overall, the city is doing better which is a good sign as we ease out of the economic doldrums. And, building seems to be picking up again, too, adding value to teh city and the opportunity to spread costs - a bit - over more payors. 

Here's some information about assessments and how you can object if yours seems unreasonably high or low.

To learn more
An "Open Book" inspection period will be held on business days between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. from Monday, April 22 through Friday, May 10.  The 2013 preliminary assessment roll and detailed assessment reports are available for inspection in the lobby of the City Assessor's office.  Information is listed in address order and shows ownership, lot size, building data, assessed values and tax information. The assessment roll may also be viewed on a CD at the Main Library or on our website.

If you have concern with your assessment . . .
Property owners who disagree with their assessment should contact the Assessor's Office to discuss it with assessment staff.  If still not satisfied with their assessed value, owners may file a formal objection. The Assessor's Office must be notified, either orally or in writing, of intent to object at least 48 hours before the first meeting of the Board of Review.  The Board's first scheduled meeting is Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 1:30 PM.  Owners must notify the Assessor's Office of their intent to object no later than 1:30 PM, Monday, May 13, 2013.  In addition, an objection form obtained from the Assessor's Office must be completed and filed with the City Assessor's Office prior to or within the first two hours of the first meeting of the Board of Review.

The Board of Assessors will review all properly filed objections and make any necessary corrections or changes.  Owners who disagree with the Board of Assessors' decision may proceed to a formal hearing before the Board of Review.  Its function is to decide if the assessment is correct based upon oral testimony and evidence presented by the property owner and the Assessor's Office staff.  Board of Review decisions may be appealed to the Circuit Court.

Urban Design Meets on Wednesday, April 17.
Posted April 15, 2013 at 8:28 AM
Development Updates Week April 15
Posted April 15, 2013 at 8:24 AM

Not only are the daffodils popping up, but building plans are, too.

At this week's Urban Design Commission meeting District 3 has two proposals in review. The Commission meets at 4:30 in Room LL110 (Lower Level) of the Madision Municipal Building (the older one on MLK) which is 215 Martin Luther King Blvd. Please attend to learn more. I will be there as both your alder and a newly appointed member of the commission. 

The first is the Door Creek Church expansion, which has been shared here in prior posts. (Scroll down here for the previews.)  Click here to read the details and see the drawings. Scroll to item 5.

The second item is a plan for the area of Sprecher East Neighborhood bounded by Sprecher Rd. on the west. Milwaukee St. on the north, Reston Heights Rd. on the south and just east of Wyalusing, nearing East Hill Parkway. Click here to read about the plan and see the rough drawings of the site.  This area has been zoned for about 10 years or more for multi-family housing and some commercial establishments. The immediate proposal before the Urban Design Commission for feedback is for two apartment homes for a total of 64 units. Like all the apartments proposed recently, these are of the high-end variety complete with on-site and underground parking. This meeting is known as an information presentation - NO DECISION WILL BE MADE. The development team wants to present the idea for the entire area along with these two buildings and is seeking feedback. WHen we met on Friday, we discussed the importance of this plan and the importance of opportunities for neighborhood nvolvement. Look forward to some meetings!

This proposal is an important one because it may signal an increased interest in and pace of development for this long block. Because it contains commercial/retail zoning, it is an opportiunity for area neighbors to work with the development team to discuss what services/jobs we want in the area. 

It is highly likely the development team will attend the SENA Neighborhood Meeting on Saturday, April 27, from 10-Noon at the East District Police Station on Thompson Road. If you live in Sprecher East neighborhood, please look for a postcard about the meeting - join you associaiton and attend the meeting. Being part of a neighborhood association is yet one more way for you to know what's going on when and have another avenue to participate.

Stay tuned for next steps on these two proposal and feel free to send feedback about them to me with a reply.




April Development Activity: Buildings and old Talulas
Posted April 9, 2013 at 7:13 AM

Sprecher East Neighborhood

Door Creek Church Addition
On March 26, invited and interested neighbors attended a preview meeting to learn about and comment on an expansion of Door Creek Church. The two-story addition will double the building size with the 86,000 square foot addition (a 43,000 square foot "footprint") that includes expanded worship area seating, meeting rooms and increased parking of 110 parking spots, as well as a walking path and additional plantings on the 32 acre grounds. The group asked questions about landscaping, activity level with the addition, parking, and construction activity. Neighbors were supportive and the proposal has entered the approval process. 

The first stop is the Urban Design Commission on Wed., April 17. This committee, known affectionately as UDC, will review the proposal for the appearance of both the building and the landscaping, including the parking lot. The proposal will leave UDC with advice and approval to proceed to Plan Commission on May 6 and Common Council on May 21, or ideas for changes and a repeat visit before it goes on to Plan Commission and Common Council. When the UDC agenda is avaialable, I'll post the agenda and how to testify tips here. Same with the Plan Commission and Common Council schedule. These agendas include links to drawings and plans.

Apartment Homes Proposal on Milwaukee St. and Summertown
On Friday, Hovde Properties has requested a meeting with me to talk about their not-yet-submitted proposal for two apartment homes with 64 apartments at Milwaukee Street and Summertown Drive. We're meeting at the Great Dane so we can walk the site (if it's not still raining!) and talk about the neighborhod plan, proposal details and timeline.

The surveyor has been out on the property marking the location of utilities and boundaries and the developer has contacted the SENA board to schedule a neighborhood meeeting. The board, developer and I are working on a time and place; the SENA annual meeting may be the perfect spot!

Rolling Meadows Alcohol License Application for the "Pink Palace" formerly known as Talulas.
In March, the Rolling Meadows Neighborhood Association heard about plans for a new restaurant and bar. While everyone would like to see this building occupied and available as a popular neighborhood place, the initial proposal was referred at its first apearance at the Alcohol License Review Commission with a request for further detail on the business plan, building condition assessment and other legal situations.

It's tough to send would-be business owners back to the drawing board, but the city, ALRC commissioners and I take our roles very seriously, seeking to both protect public safety and assure that places that wish to serve alcohol are good neighbors. These two assurances are never a guarantee of success for the business, but they do help guard neighborhoods. Sometime the desperate measures taken by struggling businesses take a toll on the neighborhood and it's better to prevent the issues than clean them up.

I requested the referral with support from both East District Police Captain Schauf and the city attorney who works with alcohol licenses and offenses. Everyone wants a thriving and safe business in our area, and the request to re-work the business plan and answer additional questions gives everyone a better chance at success.

The Rolling Meadows Neighborhood is actively involved in this proposal and I'll post here when there's an update for this monumnetal building. 



Bus Expansion Public Hearing (next) Wed. April 10
Posted April 4, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Please come, bring a snack, bring your story about how you'd love to ride the bus from the McClellan Park and Sprecher East neighborhoods. If you're already a bus rider from the Heritage Heights, Rolling Meadows and Hiestand neighborhoods, the routing may affect the current schedule in some way. I'll keep tabs on that and report back to you. 


Your presence is powerful but your email is welcome as a standin - please send your comments to me if you haven't yet, or communicate directly with Madison Metro at



Wednesday, April 10; 6:00 PM

Room 260, Madison Municipal Building, 215 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. 

Metro Transit and the City of Madison Transit and Parking Commission will hold a public hearing to discuss proposed service changes in August.

Adjustments to Routes 2, 5, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 18, 25, 28, 31, 33, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 44, 47, 48, 56, 57, 71 and 72 are being considered along with the creation of a new Route 31 to the Owl Creek Neighborhood.

Detailed information.

Leaf and Yardwaste Collection Starts April 15
Posted April 1, 2013 at 11:20 AM


The Streets Division has decided to delay the start of the annual spring leaf and yard waste collection until Monday April 15th.  The collection was originally slated to begin on Monday April 1st.

"The vast majority of Madison yards are still covered by snow," Madison recycling coordinator George Dreckmann said.  "It makes no sense to start collecting material is residents cannot begin cleaning up their yards."

For those residents who have done some yard work, the drop off sites will open extended hours starting Saturday.  The sites, located at 1501 W. Badger Rd, 4602 Sycamore Av, and 402 South Point Rd will be open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday evenings until 8 p.m.

Regular brush collection will begin as planned on Monday April 1st.  Streets Division crews will begin collecting brush in Monday's refuse collection districts.   After completing collection in Monday's area, crews will move into the Tuesday districts, then Wednesday's districts, followed by the Thursday and then Friday refuse districts.  Upon completion of Friday's refuse district, crews will begin the cycle again in Monday's district.

The time it takes us to complete a round of collection will vary according to workload and equipment availability.  In the past, we completed a round of collection each month.  We estimated that it will take us 3 to 5 weeks per round this year.

Brush collection will continue until mid October.  At that time, we will be diverting all of our crews to fall leave collection.

"We expect that we will see a lot of brush that resulted from last year's blizzard," Dreckmann said.  "Residents can bring brush to the curb and place it on top of the snow, if necessary, and we can pick it up."

All Aboard! Bus service to reach to all of D3!
Posted March 27, 2013 at 4:08 PM


For several years now, I've been gently and consistently talking with Madison Metro about serving all of D3, to establish a commuter route that extends the existing service west of the interstate to east of the interstate.

Success! Madison Metro shared with me a proposed route to serve the eastern part of our district with morning and evening bus service focused on getting people to work. Here's a link to the proposed route in a booklet summarizing all the prop0sed changes. Scroll to the section titled: East Madison Routes 14 & 15 – Realign Schedules.

Please offer your thoughts on the change
If you live in the area, we need your input both by email and attendance at the Public Hearing on April 10 6:00 PM in room 260 of the Madison Municipal Building to both advocate for the service and share your thoughts about the route. Every once in a while, residents ask about bus service, and I share those conversations with Metro. I once drove the Metro director Chuck Kamp on a tour of the area in my un-air conditioned Saturn on a hot August day to show him all the potential customers. I think that worked because as a bus rider himself, he knows there's nothing like an air-conditioned bus to hop onto in a humid Wisconsin summer!

We've had this proposal before, in the midst of a number of service changes, including cuts, several years ago. At 12:30 in the morning, I was the last person to testify at the Public Hearing on east side bus service. I spoke in favor of the route expansion – in the face of cuts to more vulnerable neighborhoods and people who needed the bus as their sole means of transportation. We didn't get our route that night. It's just not as effective to be the sole person advocating for anything – we need people who will use the service, even occasionally – to indicate neighborhood support.

As I write this, I am riding the No. 14 bus to the campus where I work. I can catch up on my email, read, chat with neighbors, and write. It takes about a half hour to get to work and I don't have to pay for parking. My gasoline consumption has moved from a tank a week to a tank every two weeks or more! Metro has many contracts with employers in the area to provide employer-supported bus passes to employees offering even more savings to commuters. Riding the bus to work is an incredible deal on so many levels. If you work downtown or on the campus, this is an ideal ride to work.

I do hear complaints about empty busses in D3, but through personal experience, I can tell you it's because we are the first and last ends of the route. Many times by the time the bus gets to E. Washington and Milwaukee St., it's standing room only.

If you have questions or are interested in making sure this proposal goes into effect this fall, please show your support by
Sending a supportive email to:
Alder Lauren Cnare at
Madison Metro at:
Attending the Public Hearing and testifying.

If you don't support a new route, then same actions work for you, too!

New Services in D3: Sr Meal/Activity Site and Pantry
Posted March 15, 2013 at 2:53 PM

District 3 has always been a neighborly and self-sufficient kind of place, and two new services have opened this year to help us help each other. Read about the new Senior Meal Site at Messiah Lutheran Church and the new Acewood Alliance Pantry. 

The Senior Meal Site is a service of the East Madison Monona Coalition of Aging. Senior Coalitions are funded from many sources, including the City of Madison under the guidance of the Committee on Aging, which is a committee I sit on. When the Executive Director approached me and east side alders about establishing a site, I agreed to co-sponsor the funding request because we have no senior meal site in this area, yet we have many older adults who still enjoy their homes in the western part of the district and many older adults who have chosen new homes in condos and apartments in the eastern part of the district. Many thanks to Messiah Lutheran Church for hosting! So far, it's been a great success.

Here's how you can enjoy a sociable meal at noon on Tuesdays at Messiah Lutheran Church, 5202 Cottage Grove Rd. 

  1. Meals are donation based, with a suggested donation of $3.15 for seniors 60+.
  2. Please call 223-3100 to make a reservation by 10 am the day before the day you would like to dine.
  3. Food is provided by Gaylord's Catering, and upon request, vegetarian and diabetic meals are available.
  4. Adults 60 and over who live in their own homes or apartments can receive transportation for $1.00 for a round trip or $.50 for a one way ride. Routes are neighborhood based and cover the Madison Metro service area and Monona.
  5. To request a ride, please call 294-8747 24 hours before you wish to receive a ride. You will be picked up between 10:30 and 11:00 am. Transportation home will be scheduled between 1 and 1:30 pm.

Meals are also available at three sites in Monona on the other four weekdays. 

The Acewood Alliance Pantry, in the lower level of the New Beginnings Church Alliance Church at 602 Acewood Blvd., just opened its cupboard doors this year and has been quite successful so far. Like all pantries, there are several ways to get involved from volunteering to donating to shopping. The Pantry works by appointment to make sure each customer is well-served with necessary food and household items, and to guide shoppers to services for which they might be eligible. The appointment phone number is: 620-4063.

If you'd like to volunteer or arrange to drop off a donation, please call Pantry Director Terri Her at 332-4949. There is a volunteer training on Thursday, March 21 from 1 to 2 pm, and 2 to 3 pm. Volunteering requires the one-hour training session, a letter of recommendation or reference and a background check.

Donation requests include non-perishable food, and hygiene items like soap, shampoo, diapers and pain relievers. Financial donations are also welcome to stock up on those odd items. 


NAG ready to get started - one week left to join.
Posted March 8, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Please sign up by Friday, March 15!

Three citizens have volunteered to join the Grandview Commons Town Center Neighborhood Advisory Group. The development/leasing team is anxious to get going and wants to be sure everyone who wants to participate has a reminder to join.  It would be ideal to have someone from each neighborhood on the group.

The Neighborhood Advisory Group (NAG) will work with the development team's leasing vice president to help guide the recommendations of businesses to recruit for the Town Center as it grows. The first buildings will be the Copps Market and a smaller two-story commercial building that could contain shops/small eating establishment/service provider or office. And there are more to come!

Because this is not a city committee, there aren't set rules or even a template to guide this, but the purpose is to gather  a dedicated group of people to work together, meeting periodically to identify business types, brainstorm about who we want here, recommend and share ideas and concerns with the developer, and support efforts to recruit these businesses to complete the Town Center. There will be zoning regulations to follow in terms of what kinds of businesses are allowed, but other than that, it's a wide open horizon!

The group could continue for a couple years, although membership may change over time. The expectation is that everyone engages as partners with ideas and the work. For example, members might meet with prospects, or contact prospects to send to the developer for further discussion. Members might write letters of support to encourage businesses. The developer will keep members in the loop, although may have some contractual confidentiality to maintain per client request.

If you are interested in learning more or participating, please contact Dan Brinkman, DSI Real Estate by email:

Thanks for participating in this project!

Door Creek Church Expansion Meeting: Tuesday, March 26, 6:30 pm
Posted March 8, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Door Creek Church is proposing a building and parking lot expansion this coming year. They'd like to share their plans and get your feedback at a neighborhood informational meeting on Tuesday March 26th, at
6:30 p.m. at the church. Church staff and members of the architectural team will be there with drawings and schedules.

If you have any questions, Randy Olson, Director of Operations & Community Outreach, is on board to respond! His phone number is: 608-222-8586 ext 233 and e-mail is:

Here's a sketch of the plans.


Stoughton Road at Cottage Grove Rd. Bridge Project Meeting March 19
Posted March 2, 2013 at 5:15 PM

For the past (nearly) 10 years, the Wis. Dept. of Transportation and the City of Madison (through a citizen group that I participated in) has been working on what to do with Stoughton Rd.? If you drive it every day, you know it's crowded and has more than its share of accidents - minor and fatal.

I am on a committee of citizens, business owners and elected people that continues to participate in the conversation and review the DOT's plans.

While the full plan for Stoughton Rd. is not nearly finazlised, one urgent project has been identified: the southbound bridge over Cottage Grove Rd. needs replacement. Like now!

The DOT is holding a public information regarding the replacement of the US 51 southbound bridge
at the Cottage Grove Road interchange at LaFollette High School, 702 Pflaum Road in Madison, on Tuesday,
March 19, from 6 to 8 PM.

Representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation as well as the City of Madison will be available to discuss the proposed project and address any questions or concerns. The meeting will consist of an open house forum with a short presentation at 6:30 P.M. that will include a basic overview of project concepts and design alternatives. Project staff will be available before and after the presentation to answer questions and provide additional information regarding the project.

They will also use this time to share plans, pros and cons, about the entire road from north of East Washington Ave. down to McFarland.

Here's a Project Website to review, and a copy of the invitation from DOT. Please read through it and make arrangements through them if you have any accommodations needs. 

Your input is very important - we have choice to either have Hwy 51 "speed up" with a more highway-like design, or a choice to have it "slow down" with a pleasant trip along a road that offers connections to all the existing businesses and neighborhoods. Either way will be safer, but there are quality of life and cost implications to either scenario - and all the ones in between! The choices are interesting; please share your thoughts!


Reston Heights Littlemore Apartment Home at Plan Commission Monday
Posted March 2, 2013 at 4:37 PM

Here's the Plan Commission Staff Review of the project proposed for 6801 Littlemore Dr. It is two apartment homes with a total of 61 units. 

It will be Item No. 8 at the Plan Commission meeting on Monday, March 4. The Public Hearing starts at 6 pm, and there are  few items ahead of it.

The Urban Design Commission has approved it and the staff review is favorable because it complies with the plan for the area. When we shared with neighbors at two meetings, there was no objection to the design or plan, but street parking is the remaining issue. While this apartment home, and the other new ones that have been built over the last year, have both underground and surface lots on site, street parking seems to be popular and with rather narrow streets, it causes complications - especially in the winter!

"Let's Talk About the Parking" Meeting March 21
I have planned a meeting to discuss parking in the area of these new apartment homes in general for Thursday, March 21 at 6:30 pm at the East District Police Station. Mark Winter from Traffic Engineering will be working with us to determine appropriate parking restrictions. Postcards will be mailed to a large area, but everyone's welcome!  

Call or email if you have questions!

Kennedy School Safety Update: All safe but someone's in trouble!
Posted March 1, 2013 at 3:44 PM

On Wednesday, another bullet was found on Kennedy School's property. This letter was sent home to parents:

Feb. 27
Dear Kennedy Families:

It is important to us that we keep Kennedy families informed of events which happen at our school. In
that spirit, I am communicating with you to share that at approximately 8:25 am, one of our students
found one spent (empty) bullet shell on the grounds of our school. The student immediately gave it to a
teacher who in turn notified our assistant principal. The shell casing was found on the north side of the
school sitting on top of the fresh snow. It's not known if the shell was placed there recently or if as our
custodian was plowing the sidewalk, it was kicked up on to the snow bank. It had not been noticed by
our custodian.

We immediately contacted the 911 Center and our MMSD Security Office. We are working closely with
the Madison Police Department and they are investigating the event. We have also been in contact with
Lt. Joey Skenandore to inform him of the findings.

Our students are safe, and our staff is aware of the incident. We will continue to be alert and will work
closely with the police department on the investigation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me. (from Principal Nancy Caldwell)

Today, this letter was sent home to parents: 

March 1, 2013
Dear Kennedy Families:
I want to update you on the latest development regarding the spent shell casing found in our school grounds on Tuesday. Today, we were able to determine that a student brought the shell from home and dropped it in the snow Tuesday morning.

As I indicated in my previous letter regarding this incident, we place a high priority on our school's safety and we are committed to keeping you informed of any incident that occurs at or near our school. I appreciate your support and am thankful for the Madison Police Department's investigation and commitment to the safety of our school.


Despite the quick resolution to this situation, the school and Madison Police continue to work on solving the prior incidents and continue with prevention measures to keep our community's kids and school staff safe

Neighborhood Steps Underway
Both Heritage Heights and Rolling Meadows Neighborhood Associations have met and expressed interest in neighborhood safety strategies. Lieutenant Trevor Knoght has presented the Nine House Model to increase overall safety, I have requested a klighting/safety study of Kennedy Park from the Police Department which they will undertake, and held a conversation with the Parks Dept. which will increase ranger presence. 

Lastly, at Rolling Meadows NA Board meeting last night we discussed an innovative on-line solution that Captain Schauf discoverd. Here's a link to the idea in a story from a St. Louis newspaper.

If you have ideas that you think would work to connect us to each other to improve safety and catch this/these persons, please let me know and I will share them here. Or, discuss them at your neighborhood association. Each association is very engaged in this topic and they are in great positions to get people involved.

Join the NAG!
Posted February 26, 2013 at 10:48 PM

One of the conditions of approval for the Grandview Commons Town Center was to establish a Neighborhood Advisory Group (NAG) to work with the development team's leasing vice president to help guide the recommendations of businesses to recruit for the Town Center as it grows. The first buildings will be the Copps Market and a smaller two-story commercial building that could contain shops/small eating establishment/service provider or office. And there are more to come!

Because this is not a city committee, there aren't set rules or even a template to guide this, but the purpose is to gather  a dedicated group of people to work together, meeting periodically to identify business types, brainstorm about who we want here, recommend and share ideas and concerns with the developer, and support efforts to recruit these businesses to complete the Town Center. There will be zoning regulations to follow in terms of what kinds of businesses are allowed, but other than that, it's a wide open horizon!

The group could continue for a couple years, although membership may change over time. The expectation is that everyone engages as partners with ideas and the work. For example, members might meet with prospects, or contact prospects to send to the developer for further discussion. Members might write letters of support to encourage businesses. The developer will keep members in the loop, although may have some contractual confidentiality to maintain per client request.

This is a novel and useful way to "build our own" and rebuild relationships that were strained over the first stages of this development.

If you are intersted in learning more or participating, please contact Dan Brinkman, DSI Real Estate by email:

Thankas for participating in this project! 


Development Project Updates
Posted February 26, 2013 at 10:32 PM

The two projects underway in D3 reached new milestones at their recent appearances before City commissions.

The Grandview Commons re-platting passed the Plan Commission unanimously. Two neighbors shared some concerns about rental properties and upkeep. Both the Planning Division and the developer described how the properties, specifically the twin homes (duplexes), will be controlled to maintain both the design from the start and also the ongoing maintenance. Here's the answer: These twin home designs must be approved by the Veridian Architectural Review Board and on-going maintenance will be governed by the homeowner's association, as well as the city's ordinances.

The proposal then passed the Common Council tonight unanimously. 

The apartment homes on Littlemore were presented to the Urban Design Commission. I attended to share people's concerns about parking adequacy and issues with street parking. The Commissioners offered several design modifications to improve hte landscaping and site plan, and suggested that access to the property be off of Wyalusing, not East Hill Parkway, to improve traffic. The developer will talk to Traffic Engineering and the Fire Dept. about that idea. What do you think?

We preserved the "pointy roof" design, even though it's become sort of an inside joke between the commissioners and me!

I will post here when the Plan Commission will take up the proposal.

On Parking Changes
I have reserved the East District Police Station and one traffic engineer for Thursday, March 21,at 6:30 pm for a meeting to dicuss traffic and parking in light of the recent development in the East Hill Parkway, Stockbridge, Bailey area. Postcards will be sent to adjacent streets and anyone is welcome to attend.


Please - check your sidewalk to be sure it's ice-free!
Posted February 23, 2013 at 9:47 AM

First, thanks to everyone who diligently clears sidewalks and treats ice all over our neighborhoods. Those of us walking dogs at 7 am marvel at your energy - you must be out there at 3 am! Generally, we're all pretty good, but occasionally, some sidewalks are always behind or just never get done - especially the abandoned homes.

It has been the most pesky winter - even for winter sport lovers - because of the ice. But even the non-snow sport lovers have dogs to walk, kids to march to school, strollers to push, mail to deliver or retrieve, and buses to catch. Almost everyone uses sidewalks for some important activity of daily living.

I know your wrists hurt from chopping at the ice, your ears are frozen from a quick morning clean before work without a hat that messes up your hair, and your gloves are permanently stained from sowing ice-melt crystals. But, the sidewalks must be cleared of snow and treated for ice with salt or sand - edge to edge. 

Not only because it's in the Madison ordinances (the law) but neighbors are complaining. Here's a review of the rules: I've highlighted the deadlines and fines.

The Rules: 10.28

(1) The owner of each lot or part of lot shall remove all snow and ice upon the sidewalk abutting the premises which he or she owns not later than 12:00 noon of the day after the snow or ice has accumulated on the sidewalk, regardless of the source of accumulation. The owner of property abutting sidewalks on two intersecting streets shall remove all snow and ice from the sidewalks of both streets, including that portion of the sidewalks bordering the crosswalk, including the curb ramp, if any, regardless of the source of the snow accumulation.
Provided that when ice has so formed upon any sidewalk that it cannot be removed, then the owner shall keep the same effectively sprinkled with sand, salt or other suitable substance in such manner as to prevent the ice from being dangerous, until such time as it can be removed, and then it shall be promptly removed. Any person violating any of the provisions of this section shall be subject to a forfeiture of not less than twenty dollars ($20) nor more than fifty dollars ($50) for a first offense and not less than thirty dollars ($30) nor more than one hundred dollars ($100) for any subsequent offense. Each day any violation of this ordinance continues shall constitute a separate offense. (Am. by Ord. 11,218, 3-31-95; Ord. 13,760, Adopted 12-14-04; ORD-07- 00185, 12-20-07)
(2) The Department of Planning and Community and Economic Development shall cause all sidewalks which shall not have been cleared of snow and ice as above described, to be cleared upon default of the person whose duty it shall be to clear the same. An accurate account of the expenses incurred shall be kept and reported to the Finance Director, who shall annually prepare a statement of the expense so incurred in front of each lot or parcel of land and report the same to the City Clerk, and the amount therein charged to each lot or parcel of land shall be by said Clerk entered in the tax roll as a special tax against said lot or parcel of land, and the same shall be collected in all respects like other taxes upon real estate. Prosecution under Subsection (1) of this ordinance shall not bar the City from proceeding under Subsection (2) of this ordinance, nor shall proceeding under Subsection (2) bar prosecution under Subsection (1). (Am. by Ord. 8262, 2-20- 84; ORD-07-00185, 12-20-07; Am. by ORD-11-00037, 3-8-11)
(3) Actions for violations of Sec. 10.28(1) shall be commenced by citation as provided by Wis. Stat. § 66.0113 or summons and complaint or warrant as provided by Wis. Stat. § 66.0114(1)(a). (Am. by Ord. 6370, 10-10-78; ORD-07-00185, 12-20-07)

The City Provides Free Sand
The Streets Division has piles of sand available for the use of City of Madison residents. The sand piles are for the use of individuals and not contractors. The sand piles can be found at the following locations. For a map of the exact spot of the sand pile click on the location name. Don't forget to bring your pail and shovel!

East Side:
Sycamore Park in the parking lot across from the Streets Division offices at 4602 Sycamore Ave.
Monona Golf Course (Front parking lot by the waste oil site at the corner of Monona Avenue and East Dean Road)
Olbrich Park (Softball parking lot off of Walter Street)

What if I can't care for my sidewalks?
If you cannot clear your sidewalks, there are plenty of teens and young adults in the neighborhoods who are willing to help. Check you neighborhood association newsletter, listserv, website or message board for ideas. We've made a bit of deal over here on Kevins Way by taking turns shoveling each other's walks - if you're out first, you just push or blow a little further. It's such a joy to open the front blinds and see your walk already done! Vacations are not an excuse. Please make arrangements for someone to pitch in while you're on the beach somewhere else!

What if I want to report a chronic offender or a dangerous situation?
If you are not comfortable asking a neighbor to clear his/her sidewalk, you can use Report a Problem on the city's website. Here's the address: Your name is not shared when building inspection visits or issues the citation.

How will I know what the deadline is for clearing the sidewalk?
I get automatic reminders sent to my phone and computer. While I like to think that I'm in compliance, it's a nudge to run out and check to make repairs. People can sign up here: by establishing a Madison account. You have one since you're getting this message, so all you need to do is add Sidewalk Snow Removal Email Alerts to your account.


Development Update: Stockbridge Apartments on Urban Design Commission agenda Wed., Feb, 20.
Posted February 17, 2013 at 8:02 PM

This project is located at 6801 Littlemore Dr.

This is proposal meets the approved zoning and Sprecher East Neighborhood Plan for one 28-unit (2 story) and one 33-unit (3 story) building in the area of East Hill Parkway and Littlemore Dr. The Urban Design Commission will be reviewing it for "the look," features of its relationship to the lot and surrounding area, all with an eye to make it more beautiful! They will address the building materials, the landscaping and parking as a whole package.

When it goes to Plan Commission, we will also be addressing neighors concerns about street parking specifically for this building. And, we'll have a neighborhood meetng about parking in general for some of the new apartment homes in the area. There are narrow streets in the neighborhood and street parking can be tough - especially in the winter as those slumping snow banks slide out into the streets!

Here's the Urban Design Commission meeting agenda, where you can scroll to item No. 5. Click on the "blackened" number to see the drawings. You are welcome to attend the meeting!


Grandview Commons Replatting Request at Plan Commission Mon., Feb. 18
Posted February 15, 2013 at 12:58 PM

In an earlier post, I shared upcoming development proposals in District 3. One of these is the replatting, lotline-re-arranging for the undeveloped areas of Grandview Commons. The documents I shared in the post below have been reviewed by the Planning Division staff and they have recommended approval in their comments. The actual discussion of the proposal will be at Plan Commission Monday night, as planned.

The items are numbers 9 & 10 on the agenda. The public hearing portion of the meeting starts at 6 pm, so you are safe to arrive at 6. As with all items, especially non-controversial ones, it may end up on the consent agenda, which means there will be no dicsussion unless a plan commissioner asks to have it discussed, or a member of the public registers to speak about it. I have a sense this one may end up as a consent item, so if you'd like to discuss it, plan to arrive a little before 6 pm to be sure you are registered to speak.

A member of the neighborhood posed some questions about the changes for the "twin homes" (duplexes) with regard to upkeep and maintaining the standards people have come to expect in care, design and decor courtesy of the neighborhood's covenants. The Plan Division staff answered those and I forwarded them to the developer to be ready to respond at Plan Commission.

The staff comments are a great summary of the proposal and the regulations that apply. You can also read the actual submittal by opening the Plan Commission agenda, and clicking through the links on Items 9 & 10. They can be slow loading files, so don't give up!

Please come on Monday if you are available and interested!


Upcoming Development in the Approval Process
Posted February 1, 2013 at 10:41 AM

Despite the frigid temperatures, there are three projects taking place in our district that may interest you.

Homburg Quarry Use Langauage Clarification
This quarry is located on the corner of Milwaukee St. and the eastern side of I90 and has been around since before most of us were either born or lived here. The city has sort of grown up around it and it has continued to (mostly) quietly do its business, providing much of the rock for the roads here in Madison. For the past couple years, the quarry has also recycled asphalt shingles - a requirement in Madison - for re-use.

The City was aware of this, and had no issue or concerns. In mid-2012, it was discovered that the zoning language that lists permitted activities for the quarry did not include this recycling business. Since this is an important "green" business activity, it complies with other regulations and there have been no complains about it, the Zoning Administrator recommended the use be formally added to the zoning language, triggering a trip to Plan Commission.

This will occur at Monday's Plan Commission meeting. Here's the link for the background and application. It's a big file and make take a moment to open.

Thanks to Zoning and Planning Staff for both their vigilence and work to rectify the situation!

Apartment Homes at 6801 Littlemore Dr.
This is a proposal that meets the approved zoning and Sprecher East Neighborhood Plan for one 28-unit (2 story) and one 33-unit (3 story) building in the area of East Hill Parkway and Littlemore Dr.

The project was presented at a meeting in January and neighbors provided feedback. The one big thing is the concern about street parking in the area. While the apartment buildings do provide both underground and surface lot parking, the design of modern buildings often provides the first floor apartments with a front door on the street. Residents may find it more convenient, especially for a quick trip home, to park on the street. Add that to guests, deliveries, and existing homes' cars on narrow streets, then add snow and it's a recipe for conflict!

I met with Traffic Engineering and we'll be holding a neighborhood meeting - invitations to households on Stcokbrdige, Bailey, LIttlemore and East Hill - but anyone who uses these roads is welcome to attend as we figure out how to apply parking restrictions which can range from no parking on either side to one-side only to legal hours or days.

This project will come before the Urban Design Commission on Feb. 20.  The agenda isn't up yet, but I will send it our when it's available. All the materials including site plan and building pictures will be available then, too.

Second Addition to Grandview Commons
As the economy sparks back to life, home building is picking up - a little - and developers are making plans for the economy's recovery. There is a submitted proposal to adjust the plan for the undeveloped area in the Grandview Commons neighborhood. (It's a big file and make take a moment to open.) 

Known as: 457 North Star Drive et al, the title of the request is - PUD-GDP & PUD-SIP to Amended PUD(PD)-GDP-SIP and Preliminary Plat & Final Plat - Second Addition to Grandview Commons, replatting 103 existing lots and various outlots into 101 single-family lots, 6 two-family lots and 5 outlots. In real-life speak, these lots are bounded by Dominion Dr., North Star Dr., Caldera St., part of Galileo and around to Venus. Interior streets include Pluto, Aries, and Saturn.

The current approved zoning is for 101 single family home lots and 20 multi-family lots. The request is to change to 101 single family  home lots and 12 twin home lots by adjusting lot lines, and removing alleys (yay! say the snowplows and garbage trucks).

A second amendment reduces minimum lot width to accommodate a 51 ft wide minimum lot width for some homes in a particular district.

This is slated to come before Plan Commission Feb. 18. I will post that agenda, too, when it becomes available. 


If you have any questions or comments, feel free to send them to me by email or call 235-9179.

Stay warm!!






Madison Fun! Neighborhood Grants and Music Day
Posted January 28, 2013 at 10:10 PM

2013 Neighborhood Grant Program
·       Mandatory Pre-Application Meeting by February 11, 4:30pm
·       Applications Due by February 18, 4:30pm

The Department of Planning and Community & Economic Development, Planning Division, invites neighborhood associations, business associations, and planning councils to consider applying to the 2013 Neighborhood Grant Program for projects that will help neighborhood associations build capacity, beautify public places, and plan for the future.* The grant program helps to improve the quality of life within neighborhoods, and the City as a whole.

New for 2013
PLACEMAKING - Placemaking proposals to activate public spaces with events and activities on 5 or more occasions during 2013 may earn up to 15 extra points. See Guidelines below for details.
MANDATORY PRE-APPLICATION MEETING - All applicants must contact Linda Horvath of the Planning Division at 608-267-1131, or, to discuss proposals and setup a pre-application meeting for a date and time between now and February 11, 4:30 p.m.

Application Forms and Guidelines (attached and below)
Click here for the Grant Application Guidelines which must be followed when filling out the application.
Click here for the Grant Application form. You may complete the application online and use the Submit Form button to email it to Linda Horvath. You may also choose to download and save the file to your computer and either fill it out on your computer and email the file, or hand write your application, then mail or drop it off.
Applications are due by February 18, 4:30 p.m.

*Other community organizations may be eligible to apply when a neighborhood does not have a functional neighborhood association, business association or representative planning council. Governmental agencies are ineligible. Applicants in the other category must be authorized by the Planning Division before beginning the application process.

Now, dreaming of summer . . . . Make Music Madison June 21, 4 to 8 pm

A few months ago, a group of citizens started to work toward a vision to "Make Music Madison" a possibility in our City. Make Music Madison will be a one-day, citywide, free, outdoor music event to be held annually on the Summer Solstice, June 21. Madison will be one of 450 communities across the world that will celebrate a Make Music event in 2013.

The success of other Make Music events in cities such as Chicago, LA, and New York, have largely been due to the efforts of their neighborhood organizations.   We are hoping that your neighborhood can identify a team of 3-5 people to coordinate a unique music celebration in your area. Two neighborhood associations have already started their planning:

-University Hill Farms: Nick, a resident of the neighborhood association, volunteered to be lead.  In addition to programming music groups at the local park shelter, Nick has already arranged to have a neighborhood parade where residents will walk down several streets to hear local musicians playing in driveways. Nick is planning to approach the local swimming pool and shopping center to receive permission for musicians to play at these locations too.

-Vilas:  Four Vilas Neighborhood Association council members have volunteered to organize performance venues for their neighborhood. Locations will include the Vilas Park Shelter house and the Bear Mound Park in the circle on Vilas Ave. Other ideas under discussion include floating tuba players in rowboats on the Vilas lagoons and designating a one block section of an alley as "Garage Band Alley" where several garage bands will be playing along one stretch of alley. The group is also working with the Monroe St. Merchants Association regarding venue locations along Monroe St. such as the outdoor gathering area near Trader Joe's.

Download the detailed Make Music Madison Organizers Handbook is attached to this email. If participation in the Make Music Madison event looks like something your neighborhood association would be interested in, the handbook provides much more detail on what would be involved.

Here are some of  the important volunteer organizer activities:

1.       Identify neighborhood "Make Music" organizers: Neighborhood associations will seek out 3-5 individuals to be neighborhood organizers.

          Identify venues: The role of neighborhood organizers is to identify and secure locations for musicians to play on June 21, 2013 between 4:00 – 8:00 pm.

2.       Enter venue information into "matchmaking" software. The Make Music Madison organizers will operate a software package that will match musicians and venues. The neighborhood organizers will sign-up their venues in the "match-making" software during the month of February.  In addition, they also talk with local musicians to encourage them to play at the venues in the neighborhood (or other venues of their choosing around the city). Remember: this is a great opportunity for amateurs to have a stage to perform no matter what their age or how dusty their instrument is!

3.       Monitor the matchmaking software: In late March, musicians can start to sign-up for venues to play.  Using the matchmaking software, the local organizers will receive the musician's requests to play at their venues. The neighborhood organizers will then accept/deny the musicians for their particular locations and times. Once again, the Organizers Handbook will provide helpful details and MMM volunteers will be available to help you with details.

4.       Be creative: Creativity is key to each neighborhood's success.  The official time for MMM is on June 21 from 4 -8 pm.  Want to have it longer?  Go ahead!  Want to have a neighborhood picnic or other event to draw people to the venues?  Go ahead!  Check out some of these web links from other cities to get ideas.

New York:
Cape Town:

We need your participation to make this a successful event.  We encourage you to call Jon Standridge at 608-669-8770 (Vilas Neighborhood) if you have any questions. You can also email Jon at . Be sure to visit MMM web site and sign up to receive periodic updates at

We are grateful that the City of Madison and a growing list of others are supporting this effort.

Homicide Details Updated
Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:32 AM

From today's police newsrelease and conversatioan with Captain Mary Schauf:

The MPD is continuing to process two scenes following the discovery of the homicide victim yesterday morning: investigators are collecting evidence inside her residence in the 6800 block of Milwaukee St., and are also collecting evidence inside the residence of the victim's husband which is in the 3800 block of Atwood Ave.

A search warrant was executed on the Atwood Ave. home overnight and the 34-year old husband was found deceased from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The MPD is investigating these cases as a domestic related murder/suicide. According to court records, the couple was scheduled to have a divorce hearing in the Dane County Courthouse this morning.

The Dane County Medical Examiner will be conducting autopsies today on both the victim and o suspect. It is up to the Medical Examiner to release names of the deceased, as well as the official cause and manner of their deaths.

There is not believed to be any ongoing threat to the community.


From Lauren:

This incident reminds us not only of the preciousness of life, but also the importance of understanding and responding to domestic violence. We have resources in our community, supported partly by your tax dollars through the Office of Community Services, and also the generosity of individuals and companies in the area.

If you know anyone who is in a domestic situation that threatens his or her health or life, please reach out to support and encourage the person to speak up and get help. These are not private matters, it is our "business" to prevent harm to others.

 Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS) here in Madison is a wonderful resource that can provide support, options and safe harbor. They can also help friends, family members and co-workers understand what to look for when someone is being abused and may end up a victim like this.



Safety Updates: Kennedy School and Homicide in the area
Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:59 PM

Kennedy School Playground Bullet Update
On January 10, Kennedy PTA organized a meeting to discuss parent concerns about the incident just before the winter holidays where bullets were found scattered about the school yard. It was an extremely well-attended meeting and many thanks to PTA leadership Nikki Cook, Jennifer Peterson, Molly Kilkenny, Laurel Franczek, and John Hausbeck  Principal Nancy Caldwell and members of her staff and the school district, School Board member Marg Passman, as well as East District Police Captain Mary Schauf and Officer Trevor Knight.

Attached here are the notes from the meeting in English and Spanish.

One parent is very interested in working with the Rolling Meadows and Heritage Heights Neighborhood Associations (these two are adjacent to Kenedy) to form a neighborhood watch group or develop strategies for us to keep an eye on the school as we drive by, walk through, run around and play with our kids and dogs in the park and area around the school. I will contact these groups and if you're interested in participating, please watch here for updates and a kick-off meeting date and time.

City's First Murder Occurs in D3
Today, Captain Mary Schauf alerted me that there had been a murder in our district - the first in the city this year. You may have seen or heard some news about it, and I wanted to share the details, as can be released, with you.

The crime occurred in an apartment home at the very far eastern end of Milwaukee St. The victim, a 30-some year-old woman. was found deceased inside her apartment around 10:35 a.m. this morning. There were signs of forced entry into the residence. is running this story now. 


When Captain Schauf and I spoke earlier today, there was no evidence as of yet to know whetther the victim knew the perpetrator or not. Captain Schauf advised me that we should continue to take all the safety precautions that are always advised:

  1. be aware of yor surroundings
  2. lock your home doors and windows, and cars
  3. be cautious before you answer your door for a stranger
  4. let someone know where you are going and when you are expected back
  5. report suspicious people or incidents to police. 911 for emergencies and 266-4948 for urgent but non-emergency concerns

The police are continuing to investigate both of these crimes and appeciate any tipcs or information you may have about either incident. Tips can be anonymously provided to Madison Area Crime Stoppers at 266-6014. Callers may be eligible for up to a $1,000 reward for information in the homicide case.

Neither of these incidents is typical for the neighborhoods that comprise District 3, which adds to the fear and grief many people feel. One way we can manage this is to talk to each other and watch out for each other. It can't undo the damage to the people involved, but it will help to strengthen our sense of community and caring. If you have a group that would like to have a representative from the Police Department meet with you, please contact the East District Police Station (266-4887) or me to arrange a meeting. 


Think Spring - Help Plan Olbrich Garden's Future
Posted January 12, 2013 at 9:59 PM

Olbrich Gardens is undertaking a development plan for buildings in 2013. Your input is requested to help determine what a building plan should look like. If you're a fan of this little gem in Madison, this is a great opportunity to be more involved.
First Public Stakeholder Meeting - Tuesday, January 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Topic Pre-Design: Evaluate & Refine Planning Concept

The public is invited to attend a series of community meetings to help inform the development of a schematic plan for Olbrich Botanical Gardens' public buildings. Olbrich is currently working with an architectural firm, HGA, to evaluate its building space needs. It's probable that final recommendations may include addition(s) and/or renovations of the current buildings to better accomplish Olbrich's mission and better serve its visitors.

Olbrich is asking for input from neighbors, visitors, members, users, and other stakeholders. A series of five public meetings will be held between January 15 and May 20 to gather input and feedback.  Throughout the process, Olbrich's website will feature up-to-date information, including meeting notes, so those who are unable to attend the meetings can stay informed. The website will also offer a way to provide input and comments.

The five meeting topics will work in progression, with the ultimate goal of  creating a schematic plan for Olbrich's buildings to help the facilities better meet the Gardens' mission of education and outreach, as well as foster the appreciation of natural beauty and sustainable gardening. This project includes the development of planning ideas and preparation of pre-design and schematic design documents.  Pre-design will include a vision statement/guiding principles, service profile program, space program, staffing program, and space needs summary.  Schematic design will include designs, plans, and conceptual estimates for a possible renovation and/or expansion of the buildings and surrounding site, such as bike access and garden development adjacent to the buildings.

All meetings will be held at Olbrich Botanical Gardens:

Public Stakeholder Meeting 1
Tuesday, January 15 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Topic Pre-Design: Evaluate & Refine Planning Concept

Public Stakeholder Meeting 2
Thursday, February 21 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Topic Pre-Design: Final Planning Concept Presentation

Public Stakeholder Meeting 3
Monday, March 25 |5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Topic Schematic Design: Initial Concepts
*Meeting will end by sunset in observance of Passover

Public Stakeholder Meeting 4
Monday, April 22 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Topic: Schematic Design: Evaluate & Refine Concept

Public Stakeholder Meeting 5
Monday, May 20 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Topic: Final Schematic Design Presentation

For more information, call 608-246-4550.

Holiday Clean-up: Trees, storm-damaged limbs and broken strings of lights
Posted December 31, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Tree and Brush Pick-Up on Monday, Jan. 7
The Streets Division will begin collecting storm-damaged tree limbs and brush on Monday January 7, the same date Christmas tree collection begins. Just put broken limbs and branches on the curb for collection by 7 a.m. on January 7 to ensure they will be collected during the first round of collection. A second round of collection is tentatively set to begin on Tuesday January 22nd.

Tree limbs placed at the curb for collection should be 8 feet in length or less and less than 8 inches in diameter.  Brush that has been cut by contractors will not be collected. Residents who hire others to cut their brush must make arrangements with those contractors to remove the material.

If you have a street tree (one located between the sidewalk and the street) that was damaged in the storm and not yet cleaned up, please call (608) 266-4816 during work hours - the office is open again on Wednesday - and let them know the location. (I did call in the one on Kevins Way.)

If you want to get rid of limbs and brush this week or you miss the pick-up dates, you can take brush to the city drop-off sites at 1501 W. Badger Rd. and 4602 Sycamore Ave. Winter hours are M-F from 7:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.  Additional information on sites and brush collection is available at the Streets Division's web site

New Holiday Light Recycling Opportunity Until January 13
Holiday lights burned out or have new more energy efficient ones? Don't just throw them away; recycle them! The city's waste collection sites on Badger Road and Sycamore Ave. can recycle them for you. Look for the special bins available until January 13. Read more here

Kennedy School Mtg Jan. 10 to Address Recent Bullets Incident
Posted December 27, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Kennedy School PTA, Principal Nancy Caldwell, East District Police Captain Mary Schauf and I will be participating in a meeting on Thursday, January 10, from 6 to 7:30 pm. The purpose of the meeting is to share information and concerns, explore school safety approaches and ask/answer questions about the incident that occurred before the holidays involving the discovery of bullets outside the school. This is a deeply disturbing event, and this meeting will be a good place to get background, and share with each other.

Winter Wrap-up for Friday
Posted December 21, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Here are a few messages from the City Team:

Snow Plowing Updates
by Chris Kelley, Streets Superintendent
posted December 21, 2012 5:20 AM
It was a very busy night for City of Madison plowing operations.  Crews worked  overnight on residential streets.  Units spent a lot of time responding to emergency calls for assistance from residents who had lost power and needed to get to alternate locations and assisting utility and Forestry crews getting to down wires and trees.  We also had issues with plows getting stuck and needing to get pulled back on route.

As of 5 a.m. crews had yet to complete all residential streets.  Due to the wet, heavy snow crews had to make up to six passes to clear streets.  Progress was hampered by downed power lines, trees, and stuck vehicles.  Work will continue on residential streets, but City crews will also start running salt routes to open them up for the morning commute.

Many residential streets remain snow covered.  High winds have led to significant drifting in various areas around the city.  Crews have spent time overnight working on these areas but the continued winds has slowed progress.  Another problem on residential streets will be windrows at intersections.  Crews will continue to work on clearing up these issues in the early morning hours but cul de sacs, circles, and dead ends could still be obstructed by windrows.

Main streets will be in good winter driving condition.  There will be continued hazards in areas subject to drifting due to high winds.  Drivers should use caution and allow added time to stop.  Drivers should also be aware that traffic signals could be out due to the loss of power.  Conditions on main streets should gradually improve throughout the day as salt has a chance to work.  However, commuters will encounter stretches of  streets with hard packed snow that will be slippery.

Contractors will be returning to residential streets this morning to complete plowing operations.  Additional City crews will also work on residential streets and be available to respond to problem areas.  Clean up on residential streets will last throughout the day.  Many City sidewalks and all bus stops will not be cleared until the weekend.

The snow that started to fall on Wednesday, December 19, 2012 continued into Thursday evening. Due to the extent of this storm, all snow and ice that accumulated on Thursday, shall be removed the public sidewalks by 12:00 noon on Saturday, December 22, 2012. Ice that cannot be removed shall be treated with sand and/or salt to provide traction. Free sand can be found at the locations contained in the following link:


Please help your elderly and disabled neighbors that may be incapable of dealing with this snowstorm.

Return of the Busses
Metro Service Canceled on Friday, December 21

Due to safety concerns related to blowing snow and ice, Metro has canceled all fixed-route and paratransit service for Friday, December 21.

Full service will resume at the start of the day on Saturday, December 22.

Metro customer service phone reps will be available later this morning at 266-4466 to book paratransit rides and answer questions regarding service starting again on Saturday.


Snow plowing updates
Posted December 20, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Snow days just aren't the same for adults, are they? While the kids sculpt snow figures and ask , "Think there will be school tomorrow?" we adults are checking the front window and listening for the rumble of the plows. Here's the latest update from Madison's Streets Division, where they've been working round the clock since yesterday.

Friday, roads should be clear by typical commute time, but it's gonna be slow. See details below and make a plan now to get the end of the driveway clear. It's gonna be tough, according to predictions. 

Snow Plowing Updates
by Chris Kelley, Streets Superintendent
posted December 20, 2012 1:44 PM

We have had 90 City plows working on our salt routes to keep main streets open. Starting at Noon we will begin to shift our efforts to residential streets.

We have decided to start plowing residential streets right away rather than wait for the snow to stop because of the large amount of snow we are getting and because the snow is so hard to plow. At Ten A.M. we brought in our contractors to begin working on residential streets.  We have asked them to bring in as much additional equipment as they can to assist in the effort.

We will add 80 City plows to the residential operations bringing the total number of vehicles involved in that effort to 175.

We will be keeping ten city trucks on our major main streets to keep them open.  All salt route streets are included on residential routes so they will be getting attention from those trucks as well.  Our goal is to get residential streets open while avoiding the formation of hard pack on main streets.

Since the snow is forecast to continue into the evening hours, we do not expect to complete clearing residential streets until the early morning hours of Friday.  However, by starting work on them now we should make it easier for residents to get to main roads today.

It is going to take plows at least three passes on each lane to get them open due to the weight of the snow.  The heavy snow will lead to the formation of large boulders and heavy windrows in driveways.  It is the responsibility of residents to clear their driveways.  The Streets Division will not be able to provide assistance.   Residents may wish to wait to clear out their driveways to avoid having to open them up multiple times.

Working with the East District Police
Posted December 17, 2012 at 9:49 PM

A normal day on the east side doesn't attract a whole lot of police attention - for good reason. We live in one of the safest districts in the city. It's upsetting enough when people experience burglaries, car accidents, speeding and drunk driving, but every once in a while, something really frightening happens.

The police and I have been in touch about the incident at Kennedy School this morning where bullets were found in the school parking lot. School officials notified the police and work has been going on all day to find the (insert your nasty adjective here) person or people who did this. This in the midst of Madison Police Department's efforts to address increased security concerns following the tragedy in Connecticut last week.

The school is communicating directly with Kennedy parents about the incident and precautions; the police are also addressing "hardening" security and detectives are involved. As they conduct the investigation, they can't reveal many details in order to not compromise it, and interfere with the chances of arresting the offender(s).

Check the East District Police Report on the East District Website for news about safety tips and crimes in the area, and I will re-post information provided by them. As always, if you see something suspicious or have information to share about crimes, please call 911 for emergencies, and the east district at 266-4887 or the dispatcher (608) 266-4948 for non-emergencies or questions.

You can help guide the work of the police department by taking the survey here. Captain Mary Schauf is anxious for feedback as it helps her serve the area better.

I know they'd appreciate your feedback.

Grandview Commons Town Center Grocery Store and First Retail Building
Posted December 11, 2012 at 8:30 PM

Built upon the effort and commitment of residents in Districts 3 and 16, the development team, city staff, committee members and alders, the project passed its final step of approval tonight on a vote of 18 aye, and 1 no.

I voted yes, affirming the hard work of all of the above people and the improvements contained in the unanimous approvals of the Plan Commission and the Urban Design Commission.  

Work on the site is slated to begin in spring 2013 with completion in spring 2014.

Thank you to everyone who engaged in this project. I look forward to watching the Town Center develop over the years into the vibrant, engaging place it has always been planned to be. The Neighborhood Advisory Group will initiate next year, guiding the work of drawing new businesses, services and employment in the area. 


See you Tuesday? Grandview Commons Town Center final approval up for consideration.
Posted December 9, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Please join the Common Council on Tuesday, Dec. 11, for its final consideration of the plans for the Grandview Commons Town Center, a.k.a. grocery store and the small commercial/retail building.

The items are numbers 5 and 6 and will likely be considered together.

I appreciate the e-mails I've received thus far and look forward to succinct comments on the project as approved by the Urban Design and Plan Commissions this fall.

The only "scheduled surprise" to meet some neighbor concerns will be additional language to assure that the operations and mechanical equipment meet Madison's noise ordinances. The Urban Design Commission highlighted this required this in its apprpoval, and this language will be offered by me as a condition of approval:

"The Plan Commission retains continuing jurisdiction over the grocery store for the purpose of resolving complaints regarding noise impacts generated by the store's mechanical equipment (HVAC, store refrigeration, etc.) and service functions along the eastern wall, including loading, delivery, and trash collection and compaction. Any citizen, the Zoning Administrator, or other official may file a written complaint with the Plan Commission. If the Plan Commission initially determines that a reasonable probability that a violation to the approved specific implementation plan or Section 24.08 MGO exists, which results in a negative noise-generated impact, it shall conduct a hearing after giving notice as required for zoning map amendments in the Zoning Code. The Plan Commission may, in order to bring the project into compliance with the approved plans and Section 24.08 MGO, modify the existing conditions and impose additional reasonable conditions relating to addressing noise generated by the store's mechanical equipment and service functions."

Here's the link to the agenda - the public hearing starts at 6:45, so good to plan on being in your seat at 6:30 in Room 201 of the city-county building, 210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.. You may register to indicate support or opposition, support, oppose or neither and available to answer questions, or speak. Public hearing items have a full 5 minutes to address the Council and you get the best response if you try to articulate a unique point, not repeat what others have said. Thunder has been stolen, so have a few points in your arsenal!


Grandview Commons Town Center Back at Plan Commission Monday, Dec. 3
Posted November 30, 2012 at 3:07 PM

This project is returning to the Plan Commission on Monday to clarify the language of the unanimous approval granted by the Commission earlier this month based on a letter from a law firm hired by residents in opposition to the project.

On the advice of the City Attorney and the Planning Division, the project was sent to Plan Commission to provide clearer language regarding its approval. Instructions containing a great explanation of the situation came from the City Attorney. 

If you're weighing to attend this meeting or not, the letter will help with your decision. Essentially, the project is returning to add language to the approval, not to open the elements of the project again. Nothing regarding the additional traffic calming, landscape plans, or design is open for discussion or decision again. The Plan Commission will decide (or not) to explicitly include in its approval language that they waive particular elements of the large format retail ordinance because the design as approved has superior features while not comporting precisely to some elements of the ordinance.

It will be an interesting technical discussion that will be pretty short. It's item No. 3 on the agenda, and may be taken up shortly after the 5:30 start of the meeting.

The project will return to the Common Council again on Dec. 11 for approval or denial. 

The passions are high about the issue and I strongly recommend that you attend the Common Council meeting if you favor an outcome either way. Based on the involvement of legal counsel this week and, as you may recall from the previous stage of approval, a zoning protest petition, many predict additional legal steps that will nudge this process to a higher level. This makes all of your voices' participation more critical.

I will send the Common Council agenda out when it is published Friday, Dec. 7. 


Final Decisions Tuesday, 11-27-12: Fire Station and Grandview Commons Town Center at Common Council
Posted November 26, 2012 at 6:33 AM

The three projects that were approved at Plan Commission unanimously last week are on schedule for their appearances at Common Council tomorrow at 6:45 pm. 

It is likely to be a busy meeting so try to arrive at 6:30 to register your support or opposition.

Here's a link to the agenda for you to review documents, including Plan Commission reccommendations for additional dollars and ideas for traffic calming for the Grandview Commons Town Center.

This meeting would be a great way to wrap up your year of civic engagement - please come to share your opinions!

Please come to Plan Commission Monday, Nov. 19, for Grandview Commons Town Center and East Side Fire Station Approvals
Posted November 16, 2012 at 11:32 AM

The two most important East Side development projects of the year will be making appearances at the Plan Commission on Monday at 5:30 pm. Please review the agenda and bring your comments, ideas and concerns. We are the bulk of the agenda and our projects will be taken up at 6 pm.

The Plan Commission is the last step before the Common Council meeting for approval on Tuesday, Nov. 27. The Plan Commission is also the most effective place to make changes to projects. There is still an opportunity to do so at the Common Council, but "PC" is extremely important.

If you can't come, please send comments to me ( and I will read them verbatim at the meeting, and also incorporate them into my comments.

While there are still outstanding issues to be resolved, I remain in support of he project and know that the experienced and thoughtful Plan Commissioners, with the support of staff planners and engineers, will guide this project to an appropriate resolution. 


Horses at North Star Park, Thurs., Nov. 15 2:30 - 4:30 pm
Posted November 13, 2012 at 6:14 PM

Officer Sarah McLaughlin, the Unit Coordinator for the City of Madison Police Departments' Mounted Patrol Unit, will be in the neighborhood this Thursday, November 15th, 2012, with the Mounted Patrol and their horses. They will be patrolling and spending time in NORTH STAR PARK from approximately 2:30p.m.-4:30 p.m..

The mounted patrol does high visibility patrol shifts throughout the city during the weekdays and is a good way to bring neighbors out of their homes. The approachability of the horses allows neighbors to get to know one another-which in turn, can promote a feeling of safety and ownership in their community. We have found that when we are out and about patrolling, many people stop to say hello and in turn, furnish information about neighborhood problems or have questions about potential police related issues.

Please come out to meet this special law enforcement team!

District 3 a Highlight at next Monday's Plan Commission: Grandview Commons Grocery Store and Small Retail Building, and Fire Station #13
Posted November 13, 2012 at 6:03 PM

This is the big meeting for eveyone who care about these three projects. So, please join the Madison Plan Commission on Monday, November 19, 2012, to listen to each other and share your viewpoints on these projects.

The agenda should be out by Friday so we don't know what number the items will be, but it's always a safe bet to arrive in time for the public hearing portion of the meeting, which starts at 6 pm. (Remember - free street parking after 6 pm downtown.)

I encourage you to check out the agenda, which is available on-line at the city's website, so you have a chance to review the submitted plans (drawings and text) and read all the staff comments to formulate your questions, responses or requests to the presented materials and staff analysis.

It will be a long meeting, so bring snacks and a drink, but we have renovated Room 201 in the City-County Buidling (201 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd) so the chairs are new and far more comfortable, and the presentation capabilities are much improved.

If you only have time for two remaining meetings with your city this year, please make this one, and the Common Council (slated for Tuesday, Nov. 27) the two you choose.




Big Development Week in D3- Fire Station at Plan Commission Monday and Grandview Commons Town Center at Urban Design Commission Wed.
Posted November 4, 2012 at 3:15 PM

Fire Station No. 13
Years of planning and design are coming to fruition this week as the new far east side fire station (no. 13) applies for approval at the Plan Commission Monday night, Nov. 5. It's item no. 12 and will be addressed very close to 6 pm. (Agenda link.)

This station is the result of active advocacy from the Sprecher East Neighborhood Association, area residents, Alder Jill Johnson and me, two fire chiefs, two mayors, hard work from city staff - including finding and purchasing a second site when the school district backed out of a shared site for a school and fire station east of Sprecher Rd. -  and support from a lot of fire fighters!

Following approval at Plan Commission, where I will speak in support of the project, it will go to Common Council. The money is in the budget to build it, the Fire Dept. earned a grant to hire, train and staff the station in its first year, so I expect full approval.

Grandview Commons Town Center
On Wednesday, Nov. 7, the Grandview Commons Town Center will appear before the Urban Design Commission for its "final approval" before it goes to Plan Commission (slated for Nov. 19), then the Common Council. The project earned initial approval in October and the design team left with 8 items to address. All of them have been and will be discussed at the meeting on Wed. A remaining topic of noise from both the loading dock and the trash compactor will be fully discussed, including decibel levels and the merits of a roof for the trash compactor and doors for the interior loading dock, or other mitigation if the noise level is unaccpetable.

While the item is fairly deep (no. 12 for the retail building and no. 13 for the grocery store) in the agenda, last time the meeting went very quickly, so I recommend arriving by 5 pm - just in case! Review the latest submission and the agenda here.

If you can't attend this meeting, please consider attending the Plan Commission meeting on Nov. 19. 

And, just to add one more thing to your week - remember to vote on Tuesday!

Grandview Commons Town Center SIP Approval: Take 2 on Wednesday
Posted October 15, 2012 at 6:13 PM

The project presentation that was referred two weeks ago is back on at Urban Design this Wednesday, meeting starts at 4:30 pm. Here's the link to the agenda:, This project is Item 8 and 9. Item 7 may be of interest also, two apartment buildings on Hercules Trail. 

All the paperwork is in order so everyone can study and think about how to best use citizen, commissioner and development team time for good questions, asnwers and discussions.

I also understand that the architect will have a computer visualization known as a fly-over that allows the project to be viewed in 3D from all sorts of angles - if you were walking up to it, looking down from above, driving around it, from all vantage points. I always find this very helpful to envision height, rooflines, what I can and cannot see as a mere 5 foot-something-tall human being.

This meeitng is for initial approval, where the commission provides feedback and the development team discusses it and makes changes before the next Urban Design Meeting meeting where final approvl is requested.

Please consider attending to learn more. WIth the greater level of detail in this stage of approval, many questions can be finally answered - or asked again. It's tough to predict a time for the presentation, but closer to 5 pm than 4:30 is likely reasonable. Parking is free after 6 pm . . . .




Grandview Commons Next Steps (The SIP and UDC)
Posted October 6, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Never mind. That's how it felt Wednesday night as the Urban Design Commission and design team assembled for the first presentation to request approval of the Copp's Market and first retail building that were approved under the General Development Plan.

The Planning Division staff - due to workload - (Yes, your city employees are often overworked) - provided its analysis memo to the commissioners, other staff, the design team and me just as the item before was wrapping up. 

The memo's purpose is to compare the project submittal to the large format retail ordinance, as well as check it against the details of the GDP approval. Three pages of dense and detailed text were presented - 5 minutes before showtime.

While I respect that the work was done under the dealine and am very empathetic to staff workload, it would be inappropriate, if not impossible, for anyone participating to absorb and act on the information presented - some of it negative, some of it positive, all of it important. Plus, you didn't get to see it either if you'd gone to visit the city's website to learn about the latest project details. Instead of scrambling and making hasty decision, I asked to have the presentation referred to the next Urban Design Commission meeting in two weeks. The Commission voted to do that, also noting it wasn't the best use of process to have late-breaking infomration.

Sort of an awkward moment in the life of development in Madison, but the pause button allows everyone the opportunity to make a better decision - and that's what's most important for our long-term existence as a city.

As new information comes out based on the analysis and discussions with the Planning Division on details, I'll let you know more.

In the meantime, if you need food you can walk to, there are two more Capiotl View Farmers' Markets! 



Grandview Commons Town Center Urban Design Commission Mtg Details
Posted October 1, 2012 at 8:22 AM

The Urban Design Commission agenda has been published - here's the link:

You can see the time and location, an note that we are Nos. 6 and 7. It's extremely hard to guess at the precise time this will be taken up, but it's fairly safe to assume you don't have to be at the meeting at 4:30 preceisely. CLick through the agenda links to see all the documentation of the projects - one essentially the Copp's Market, the other the first retail building.

There will be a presentation, your comments are welcome, you have three minutes to present them, and the commissioners may ask questions of you. If you choose to speak, be sure to register ahead of time - it takes about a minute.

See you Wednesday night!


Grandview Commons Town Center SIP Submitted: First Mtg., Wed., Oct. 3
Posted September 27, 2012 at 10:54 PM

The Grandview Common Town Center grocery store and second retail building package has been submitted to the Planning Division to begin the Specific Implementation Plan (SIP) approval process. The proposed design is an entirely new concept in Copp's stores, the Copp's Market, and I think it's great that we in D3 have been instrumental in this new n' improved vision. Here are the elevation sketches for all four sides. 



















The meeting schedule is listed below. It would be good to put these dates on your calendar, and be sure to follow them on-line in the City's Legistar calendar or watch for email updates since they can shift – as you all know – based on a decisions made or not made at each meeting!

The Urban Design Commission (UDC) will focus on architecture and landscape plans.
The Plan Commission will focus on adherence to the approved General Development Plan (GDP) and zoning, as well as land use and impacts – things like traffic and some operations details.
The Common Council will take up all these issues and some of the softer ones, like concerns about neighborhood impacts, both positive and negative. 

  • Urban Design Commissions Meetings (all Wednesdays): October 3, 2012, October 17, 2012 and November 7, 2012
  • Plan Commission Meeting:   Monday, November 19, 2012
  • Common Council Meeting:   Tuesday, November 27, 2012

To keep tabs yourself on the meetings and specifics of the agenda, follow (and bookmark) this link Pick the meeting that interests you by selecting it from the pick list on the far right. The boards and commissions are listed in alphabetical order.

Then, click "search meetings" underneath the Search box. A list of all that body's meetings will appear; just scroll to date you want. You will see the time and location, and you can open and download the agenda to search for the number of the item you want, and all associated documents with an agenda item. You can also see the minutes from meetings to see the vote or recommendations for an item.

As of tonight, the Urban Design Commission agenda is not yet posted. When it is, I will send the details – like item number and a reminder of how to participate.

It will be a busy fall tracking this item, and I hope you all can participate. Everyone has had an influence on this project and it would be fitting for all of us to continue to its finale.

If approved as scheduled, construction is slated to begin in the first half of 2013, with completion of the Copp's Market and the first retail building in 2014.


New Water Meter Updates and Events
Posted September 20, 2012 at 8:22 PM

The new "smart" water meters are being successfully installed in the pilot area of Madison. It's been a successful project so far, but like all new and massive undertakings, there are a few bugs, like miscommunicated appointments, phone numbers working on and off, and some customers feeling unsure about the technology, and whether or not they want it in their homes.

District 3 will be the second area to have installation done, and this may start as early as this fall. You will receive a letter to make your appointment or get on a list to opt out.

Why Your Alder Supported Smart Meters
As an aside, I have supported this project from its inception and see incredible value for customers as individuals - monthly bills (way more managable), a chance to better monitor use and choose to change habits that waste water, and a tool identify  - and fix - leaks faster, saving you money paid for wasted water. 

For the system as a whole, billing will be easier, revenues will be more predictable to reinvest in our aging system, and system wide leaks of water from wells before it even gets to our homes can be detected and fixed. No more wasting this precious resource!

Lastly, there is no credible evidence this technology in these meters is harmful, as reviewed and reported by the Public Health Department.

Learn all about Project H2O, the smart meter installation, at the Water Utility's website or attend 

Project H2O Meter Project Open House
Come learn about rates and billing, wireless facts, water conservation, infrastructure, and water quality.  Kids activities, too. 

Thursday, September 27, 6-8 p.m.
Alicia Ashman Public Library, 733 N. High Point Road

Opt-out Policy Draft Ready for Review
One of the snafus has been the development of a fair and affordable policy that allows people with concerns to "opt out" of the system. Frankly, I don't recommend it because it will cost you money and the meters are safe. Mine's in and no one's sick over here. But, people do have the right to their beliefs and the right to have their government services respond in a reasonable way that doesn't hurt other customers or citizens.

The Public Service Commission, Water Board member and citizens have worked together to draft a policy that will be reviewed and approved by the Water Board, the Common Council and the Public Service Commission.

To help people know their choices, the Water Board will hold two meetings on this topic:

Monday, September 24 at 4:30 p.m.
Public Hearing on Draft Opt-Out Policy
Water Utility Conference Room A&B, 119 East Olin Ave.

If you have concerns about these meters, please come to learn more and share your thoughts about the policy that allows people to use the existing technology or have a modified installation (outside, rather than in the basement).

Following that meeting, the Water Board will meet on Thursday to discuss and incorporate citizen input, then forward the policy to the Common Council, where it will act to send something on to the Public Service Commission for approval. All of these meetings are open to the public and I really encourage you to come if the topic interests you. We need your input to respond to the Public Service Commission's ruling that we need a policy.

Thursday, September 27, 4:30 pm
The Water Board Meeting to Approve Opt-out Policy
Water Utility Conference Room A&B, 119 East Olin Ave.

Tuesday, October 2, 6:30 pm
Common Council Action
Room 201, City-County Building, Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. 

These meetings are not designed to discuss or debate the selection of this system, but will be focused on allowing customers the opportunity to not participate at this time. If you have any concerns about the meters and want to learn the options and costs, this is a great place to learn more and help shape the policy.


Whew - writing this made me thirsty - off to the kitchen tap!



Lions and tigers and fliers, oh my!
Posted February 6, 2012 at 7:44 AM

Much like the presidential primaries, the opinion and persuasion activities are running hot with information and questions about the Grandview Town Center in distribution.

I receive copies of these filers and e-mails so have the opportunity to verify information with the development team and city staff. With passion and commitment high, I am interested in supporting sharing of facts, which means correcting inaccuracies and keeping you up to date.

Who's distributing email, fliers and petitions?
These are both citizen groups; groups comprised of at least some residents who live in Grandview Commons. One group has been active for a long time; the other is new. I encourage you to review all the information you get, check it for accuracy and make your own decision. The development team and city staff are more than happy to respond to your e-mails if something seems different than what you understood or has changed.

If you are getting e-mails that you don't want and didn't sign up for, it's likely because you were on my e-mail list and your address was copied from an open records request about a year ago. Please be aware that ANY e-mail you send to me is NEVER confidential and can be obtained through an open records request. You can always get off my e-mail list by unsubscribing.

What's Next on the Schedule?
The Common Council agenda this Tuesday has this project (in its multiple legislative files) on the agenda and it will be referred for action. That means the Council will do nothing with it. It is on the agenda due to its initial scheduling and will keep reappearing there until it has all its other committee work done. The items cannot be acted upon without a recommendation from the Plan Commission, which will act only after a recommendation from the Urban Design Commission. Referrals are common for complex projects.

You do not have to come to the Common Council meeting or any other meeting when things are referred. You may of course, do so. When I note you don't have to come, I hope I am doing you a kindness in your busy lives, not discouraging you from participating in or watching your government at work.

But, when the item is up for action, you should now definitely be there to share your concerns and ideas.

The next meeting where you should attend is the Urban Design Commission set for Wed., Feb. 15 at 4:30 pm. Further details will be available by mid-to-end of week. I will share them with you.

Fact Check
Pictures and Timelines of Plans and Pictures of Buildings
Plans in the context of this level of zoning approval are just that – plans. Plans are concepts and meant to help us "see" where things will go and their approximate look for height, location of the doors, where is the parking, where's the building next door, etc. When buildings come forward for approval (which certain ones do) the pictures do reflect that actual thing to be built. The pictures provided on the city's Website and contained on some Web sites are current and again, concepts. They are not lies to fool people.

No development or neighborhood of this scale is built out all at once or to a specific time frame. The absence of one for this project is not misleading. If that were the case, we wouldn't be looking at this proposal – we'd have the existing plan evidenced as a cluster of empty buildings on the site, and we'd only be talking about the empty Doric Lodge. Imagine all of Grandview Commons filled with empty "spec" homes. Grandview Commons itself, and much of the Sprecher Neighborhood, still has approved plans, but unbuilt buildings.

Size and Use Matters
There is no request for a 65,000 square foot grocery store, or an attempt to leave the door open to other "large format retail" operation. The request is limited to one anchor retail user grocery store with a single use of appx. 58,000 square feet. That is the request for approval. (Page 18, Submittal October 19, 2011) This excerpt from a recent thorough e-mail from Michael Waidelich, the city's principal planner on the project, discusses size and use: To further limit the size: this text will be added to the approved plan changes:

"Add the following new Map Note to the CMU designated area:

The Community Mixed Use designation is applied to this area to allow the potential to develop a large grocery store of not more than 60,000 square feet at this location, provided that it is part of an integrated, comprehensively-planned mixed-use center and utilizes shared parking, provides good pedestrian connectivity and amenity, and features unique architectural treatments, durable, high-quality building materials, and extensive landscaping. Development of other types of large-scale retail uses in this area is not intended."

The e-mail also notes the limitation to a grocery store:
". . . in the case of Grandview Commons, neither the proposed amendment to the PUD-GDP zoning for the property to allow a 58,000 square foot anchor grocery, nor the proposed amendments to the City of Madison Comprehensive Plan and the Sprecher Neighborhood Development Plan that would also be required in order to approve the grocery, would allow large retail uses other than the grocery."

IF the developer wanted to later change this, they'd be undergoing this process again. I find that a highly unlikely scenario.

Large Format Retail Ordinance and Building Compliance
This proposal does not violate any "big box ordinance." First, the ordinance does not preclude stores over 40,000 square feet from being built in Madison. It just means they have stricter approval processes, including design features they must provide. A "violation" could only occur of something were built that did not comport to its approvals. As a city, we are concerned about appearance and function and these approval processes are an excellent way to improve large stores.

Stay tuned for more and please ask questions to seek facts, and develop an opinion to share. City staff, the development, the neighborhood groups and I all want to hear and respond to your thoughts.

Latest Grandview Commons Town Center Schedule
Posted January 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Take the night off, if you were planning on attending Plan Commission for this item!

Here's an excellent write up from Michael Waidelich, the city's Planning Division staff who has been managing this process:


Project Review Schedule Update:

On January 18, 2012, the Urban Design Commission (UDC) voted to refer, or take no action, on the request to amend the Planned Unit Development–General Development Plan for the Grandview Commons Town Center. Because the UDC is required to make a recommendation on all Planned Unit Developments before the Plan Commission takes action on a project, the January 23 hearing at the Plan Commission will be referred to a future meeting pending the UDC's recommendation. The January 23 public hearings scheduled for the proposed Sprecher Neighborhood Development Plan and Comprehensive Plan amendments associated with this project will also be referred to a future meeting, since it was intended to consider these three items concurrently. There will be no discussion of the project or the two related plan amendments on January 23 other than the required referrals.

The applicant, Veridian Homes, has requested that the Plan Commission refer the project to its February 20 meeting, with the Common Council meeting to follow on February 28. If the Plan Commission refers the project to a specific date, there will be no new public hearing notice sent.

The notices for the February 7, 2011 Common Council public hearings on these three items have already been published, so these items will appear on the agenda for that meeting, but will be referred to the February 28 Common Council meeting. There will be no discussion of the proposed Planned Unit Development amendment or the two plan amendments at the February 7 Common Council meeting other than the required referrals.

Veridian is targeting the UDC meeting on February 15 to present their plans again.

The tentative new hearing schedule for the Grandview Commons Town Center project and related Comprehensive Plan and Sprecher Neighborhood Plan amendments therefore is:

- Urban Design Commission: February 15, 2012 (time to be determined)
- Plan Commission: February 20, 2012, 6:00 PM
- Common Council: February 28, 2012, 6:45 PM 

Reminder: Grandview Commons Town Center Before Urban Design Commission Wednesday, Jan. 18
Posted January 17, 2012 at 10:18 PM

The Urban Design Commission meets this Wednesday night at 4:30 in Room 260 of the Madison Municipal Building
Here is the link to the agenda:

If you have a comment or position to share, this is a very important meeting for you to attend. The item is number 8 on the agenda, and it will be very hard to advise you on what time to be there, but you could arrive after 5 pm to give yourself a little more time for dinner. Please bring something to read or do as you wait, and it could be a late meeting!

I will not be attending, but want to share with you my letter of support for the proposal that I sent to share with the commissioners earlier today:

TO: Members of Urban Design Commission
FR: Lauren Cnare, Alder District 3

Dear Commissioners,

Please accept this memo in lieu of testimony at your Wednesday, January 18 meeting. I am on vacation in Arizona and unable to convince my rental horse that a quick ride back to Madison is part of our contract.

The purpose of this memo is to share my position and request your approval on the Grandview Town Center GDP proposal, which you will review for initial and perhaps final approval tonight. As you are aware, it is hotly debated and a well-examined proposal that has drawn residents into a robust discussion.

The project has been in the conversation/development phase for nearly 2 years now. The most recent presentation, the second wide-area neighborhood meeting, was held last week. The mailing for the area contained several thousand names resulting in attendance of roughly 150 people. The presentation format was presentation of the process and the proposal, with an hour and fifteen minutes for Q & A. We collected comments on cards and the Common Council office is typing up the ones that concern the proposal.

From the initial meetings with two Roundy's development teams two years ago, through neighborhood boards meetings, landowner and development team meetings, City of Madison Planning staff meetings, two large neighborhood meetings, half a dozen association meetings, and hundreds of individual face-to-face, telephone and e-mail conversations up to today, I always had confidence that a proposal for development at this site would be approved through improvements along the way from engaged and open-minded residents, city staff professional guidance and design team respect for the people who will be most affected by any project.

Two years later, many, many changes have occurred to the proposal through resident feedback, research, best practices, staff input and many critical eyes – including yours as members of a commission that helps Madison become an enviable establishment of the urban form with buildings and neighborhoods that serve well and age well in all parts of the city.

Despite the long journey and thousands of conversations, there is still disagreement about the suitability of the proposal before you. I wish that we could've come to joyful agreement or at least consensus about the proposal, but we have not. And, it's time to make a decision. With your input, the proposal has another opportunity for improvement as it takes its next step in the decision process.

Tonight, while there is equally strong support and strong opposition to the proposal, I urge you to make those improvements that you see, and approve the proposal to go on to Plan Commission and the Common Council for further examination and debate.

Here are the reasons for my conclusion to support the proposal:
1. This area of the city has long been the new face of new urbanism in Madison. At the city's edge, it has the land and the attitude to support the notion that "old suburbia" does not have to be endlessly replicated in new developments – urban features can be integrated into neighborhoods, not every resident must drive miles for services and goods, and retail/commercial "homes" can be thoughtfully designed to share the best of the old forms. These businesses do not have to be relegated to a strip mall-parking lot design.
2. The landowners have made a good faith effort to bring this area to fruition exact to plan. The residences have flourished in number and design, but the commercial and retail areas have lain moribund – in good and bad economic times. This situation has occurred in other new urbanist areas of Madison as well. As a community that values learning, I think we have learned that our plans are very close, but not quite as practical as "the marketplace" would wish. Finally, there is a proposal for action! It is different, but not a wholesale change to the original plan for the town center. By blending the realistic with the visionary, this proposal assures that the plan can be implemented.
3. For some, there is significant concern about traffic and high-levels of activity that would occur with this plan. It's true – there will be additional traffic to this site from the neighborhood and likely other neighborhoods. But, the traffic will be increased with any establishment of any town center, even the approved one – with or without a 58,000 sf grocery store anchor. This grocery store is pivotal in the dissatisfaction and also the realization of this town center. I am convinced that it is the only chance for the other desired things to occur. Things like a coffee shop, an ice cream shop, a craft store and small restaurants that residents have longed for. It is a necessary ingredient in the center. If it must be the catalyst for this growth, let's do it.
4. Without this proposal, nothing will happen in the area, at the very least for years to come. While some will argue that the proposal in its current form does not comport to a fine plan or a definition of new urbanism, neither does an empty field. But a compromise and a test of today's reality winds assures that the underlying tenet of new urbanism – services embedded in a neighborhood, the ability to walk from home for a quick pick-up, creating opportunity for engagement and activity, nearby work and learning opportunities, and small business establishment - can all be met by this proposal. No other proposal – in 10 years – has come forward to serve this end.

Thank you for your attention to this proposal. As I've said before, others and I welcome your insight and input. Please use your professional judgment, practical wisdom and love for the city we all live in to improve this proposal and send it on to other bodies for their work and ultimate approval.

Lauren Cnare

The next scheduled meeting for approval is Plan Commission on Monday, January 23, at 5:30 pm. The agenda should come out Thursday or Friday; please check the city's web site for its posting. Since the schedule has shifted in the past, it's best to check before you hop in our car to come downtown. I am on vacation this week and have spotty opportunities at a computer, so many not get the information to you in an e-mail. I will attend that meeting; and you should, too. Please plan to testify to share your thoughts.


Grandview Commons Town Center Meeting Update: TOMORROW
Posted January 11, 2012 at 10:13 PM

Despite the fact that I bought myself snow shoes a few weeks ago and kept them in the back hall to appeal to the snow gods for some white stuff, I am not happy about the snow arriving on our big  meeting night!

However, Mother Nature is in charge and I will keep an eye on road conditions and forecasts, consult with the site, presentation team, colleagues and city staff to make a call on cancelling by 4 pm tomorrow. If you do not hear from me via e-mail by 4:30, the meeting is on. I am hopeful that since the meeting is in the nearby area, city plow crews are prepped and fresh to keep the streets clean, and this storm, while long and slow, can change direction or intensity at any time, we can go forward.

The meeting room has been changed to the sanctuary of Messiah Lutheran Church. After discussing the audience and presentation needs with the facility manager there, he and the pastor recommended this room. It has ample seating in theatre style, two video screen for presentation, microphone, and a lobby to view boards and gather.

Doors will open at 6:30, and the presentation will start at 7; end at 9 pm.

Alder Jill Johnson (D16) and I will be at a table near the door to greet and sign in people. We will have agendas, a meeting schedule for the proposal's approval and information meetings, cards to write down your questions (to be read aloud and answered) and comments (to collect and share), some pens, (but if you have one, please bring it) and business cards to contact city staff or presenters.  

The development team is meeting with city staff tomorrow morning to share updated drawings and text on the proposal at the regularly scheduled Development Assistance Team meeting. They will have new drawings and information to share Thursday night, as well as the recently submitted traffic study.

The purpose of this meeting is to share updated information, bring people up to speed who have not followed the proposal over the last 2 years, and answer questions. Comments will be collected on cards to share with decision-making body members and staff. You will also learn the next meeting dates. Here are the key ones that you should plan on attending to share your comments. This is where the decisions are made!

Save these Dates
Urban Design Commissions: 

January 18, 2012 (initial approval)
February 1, 2012 (final approval)
Library Board
February 2, 2012
Plan Commission Meeting: January 23, 2012
Common Council Meeting: February 7, 2012


Keep your fingers crossed for enough snow to play, but not too much to meet!



Safety & Those Who Keep It
Posted January 9, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Farewell, Capt. Snyder; Welcome, Capt. Schauf

The first of the year brings changes in all organizations, but for City of Madison Police, it means change in district assignments, and sometimes even a change in command. Here in the East District, we are saying thank you and goodbye to Captain Tom Snyder who has served us for several years, and hello and welcome to Captain Mary Schauf.

Captain Snyder will be transitioning to a new position in Personnel and Training, where I am sure he will do well. He was always a patient, informative and engaging public servant with my many questions. I always enjoyed working with Captain Snyder, and while you might think that our conversations revolved around crime and unhappy things, we also had many talks about the neighborhood, our east side schools and the elements that make this such a fabulous place to live. I will miss him, but am glad that he can pass on some of his wisdom and people-smarts to those who will come next to serve our city.

Captain Mary Schauf comes with excellent recommendations from my Alder colleagues who know her from her work in the Central District. I am sure her experiences from downtown on Badger Saturdays and Willy St. festivals will seem a little more glamorous than the events she may find in the East District, but her skills as a manager and communicator will be equally applicable.

She and I are working on setting up a meeting to get to know each other and the neighborhoods in D3. I have invited my colleagues from the 15th, 16th, and 17th Districts to meet with us so we can share our concerns and goals for the entire east side. Crime doesn't respect aldermanic boundaries so the more we share, the better we can keep each other informed about potential threats. I will also share neighborhood leader contact information with her so she's connected as soon as possible.

If you'd like to meet Captain Schauf, I am sure she'd be interested in joining you at a neighborhood meeting or event. Contact her at or 266-4887 (East District Police station.)

Batch of Break-ins
A constituent and I ran into each other at the grocery store this weekend and we discussed the rash of break-ins in the Garnet Lane area. She is rightfully concerned and asked what we could do. With investigations underway, I contacted Lt. Wayne Strong, who shared these points with me to share with others.

"In these situations it is extremely important for everyone in the neighborhood to be mindful of any suspicious activity; i.e. a vehicle cruising the neighborhood or person(s) on foot that appear out of place. Do not hesitate to call the non-emergency number (266-4275) to report any suspicious activity. Here are just a few helpful hints to protect yourself against theft from autos:

1.) Always lock your doors and keep your windows closed.

2.) Never leave your vehicle running, if unattended.

3.) Limit the amount of personal information kept in the glove box or console to avoid identity theft."

He is also willing to meet with neighbors. Please let me know if you are interested in the later part of January or early February.

Also, contact Lieutenant Wayne Strong at or 608-261-9112 (Office) or
209-7163 (cell) if you have any further questions.