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District 5

Alder Regina Vidaver

Image of Alder Regina Vidaver

Alder Regina Vidaver

Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service

Alder Vidaver’s Updates

Park on the odd side tonight, Transit-Oriented Development, Family Definition in housing, events and announcements

December 10, 2022 9:10 PM

Hello neighbors,

With the snowy conditions this weekend reminding us that we do, in fact, reside in Wisconsin, please make sure to keep informed about snow emergencies and alternate side parking rules by subscribing to either the email or text alerts provided by the city. Note that tonight, December 10, IS a snow emergency night, so please park on the odd side of the street overnight.

Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)

In my last communication on this topic, I stated that our historic districts were exempted from the upcoming plan to implement the TOD zoning overlay. Since then, the Transportation Policy and Planning Board (TPPB) chose to amend the proposal to include historic districts. I asked our Planning Department to provide some examples about what this might mean, should the proposal pass:

  • The site at 1711 University Ave (currently an abandoned church building) has generated some interest from a potential developer. This is within the University Heights historic district and zoned TR-U1. The primary change if a TOD-Overlay as proposed is applied to the TR-U1 base Zoning District is an increase in the number of allowable residential units as a permitted use from 24 to 36. That said, this property is so small that only a maximum of 28 units would be able to "fit" onto the site based on density limits in the code, which aren't changing under the TOD-Overlay. So, the change would be going from 24 units to 28 units allowed as a permitted use, and given the density limits in the code, 28 units would be the maximum here as a conditional use as well.
  • At this time, only properties with single-family homes are eligible to add accessory dwelling units (ADUs). Within the TOD-Overlay as proposed, two-unit buildings (duplexes, two-flats, etc.) would also be able to add detached ADUs. Some properties along Kendall Ave, for example, might be eligible to add detached ADUs, depending on density limits based on the parcel size.
  • Some homes – particularly larger homes, may be situated such that one could "carve out" through interior change a second unit within the home – this could be done as a permitted use. This scenario is independent of the TOD-Overlay.
  • Please remember that, for any scenario involving exterior changes or new development in a Local Historic District, all review requirements by the Landmarks Commission still apply.

This item will be part of the Plan Commission agenda on Monday, December 12 at 5:30pm, should you wish to register to speak on this item, or just give a listen.

Family Definition Changes

Our current zoning code restricts the number of people who can livin in an apartment or house together in Madison based on:

  • Zoning district
  • Whether they are renters or homeowners, and
  • Wheter they are related to one another.

Currently, in a non-owner-occupied housing unit in parts of our city, including some neighborhoods in our district, the number of unrelated adults allowed to reside in the unit is limited to two. In these same areas, owner-occupied housing units can house up to five unrelated individuals. These zoning districts are primarily lower density districts with single family houses. Other zoning districts allow a maximum of five unrelated individuals, thus our current zoning restrictions are inherently inequitable.

In all areas where housing is allowed, if the residents in a household are all related to one another, there is no limit on the number of related residents, other than the safety-related limits in building code and minimum housing and property maintenance code.

What is proposed to change?

An upcoming proposed zoning change would:

  • Allow up to five unrelated adults and their dependents in a housing unit in all zoning districts that allow housing.
  • Keep the current standard of allowing an unlimited number of related individuals (e.g., multi-generational families are allowed to live together).
  • Remove the distinction between owner-occupied households and renter-occupied households.
  • Allow two unrelated families with dependents to live together as one household (e.g., an unmarried couple with their respective children).
  • Remove the distinction between some zoning districts and others by creating the same occupancy standard for all zoning districts that allow housing.

Why Change Things Now?

The original intent of the family definition was to protect single family neighborhoods from college student renter households. Madison has changed substantially since the number of unrelated individuals in rental housing was restricted in 1966.

  • In the past 20 years, thousands of amenity-rich student-oriented rentals have been built close to UW's campus. That trend is continuing.
  • At same time, the City's population has risen faster than enrollment at UW-Madison. Standardizing the ability of unrelated individuals to live with one another across the City would allow for better utilization of existing housing stock.
  • There are processes in place for managing noise complaints, and property negligence. The zoning restrictions prevent many well-behaved students, and many unrelated non-students from living together in what are usually more economically reasonable situations. Given the high price of housing, it is particularly important to reduce barriers to rent burden.

You are invited to join a Public Information Meeting regarding this topic on Monday, December 19 at 7pm to hear a presentation, and join in Q & A. The meeting will be virtual. Please register in advance.

In case you missed it...

Several Public Information Meetings were held this week for which you can review the recordings:

Wisconsin Help for Homeowners Assistance Extended Deadline (12/30/2022)!

Wisconsin Help for Homeowners is still available and applications will be accepted through December 30. This statewide program can help with overdue bills like mortgage payment, property taxes, HOA/Condo fees, manufactured home loan monthly payment and/or lot rent, land contract monthly payments, and utilities. Maximum amount of assistance is up to $40,000. For more information or to apply go to or call 1-855-2-HOME-WI.

Events & Announcements

Take care,

Regina Vidaver

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