Skip to main content

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

Q&A regarding the proposed development on Speedway

March 16, 2022 7:55 PM

Hello neighbors,

Thank you to everyone who came out in person for the second neighborhood meeting regarding the proposed development on Speedway Rd. It was lovely to get to meet so many of you in person and have such a lively discussion! The first neighborhood meeting was recorded.

Below please find a Q&A regarding the proposal.

Q: What is this proposal?

A: This proposal is for a mixed use development, including an 816 square foot commercial space, and 31 rental units. The rental units would be a mix of studios, one-bedrooms, and two-bedroom apartments, providing much-needed housing to the City. The plan includes 24 covered automobile parking stalls, with entrance and exit only off of Speedway Rd. Two surface spots are proposed for the commercial entity, which are also accessed from Speedway Rd. The building would be built on already developed land, demolishing the existing small structure on the site.

Q: What type of commercial tenant might there be?

A: Originally, the property was deed restricted to prevent the sale or service of food, coffee, alcohol, etc. Thanks to the intrepid work of a dedicated neighbor, those deed restrictions have been lifted, thus virtually any commercial tenant could be in the space. The developer will build the space to suit the commercial tenant.

Q: Will there be affordable housing?

A: The developer does not plan to offer affordable housing on this site. There are creative ways neighborhoods have chosen to make housing affordable, even when sites are not designated as such. Some examples include: Paying for security deposits, paying into a savings account, or "topping off" the rent for eligible families. These creative approaches could be implemented through partnerships with existing non-profit organizations.

Q: How will storm water on the site be managed?

A: The site will comply with Madison's ordinance requiring storm water runoff mitigation.

Q: Why is the developer proposing more stories than are recommended in the neighborhood plan?

A: The neighborhood plan recommends a 2-story structure on the north side of the property, adjacent to existing single family homes, stepping up to a 3-story maximum height. The developer is proposing a 3-story structure, stepping up to 4-stories in the center of the mass.

The most expensive part of any development is the foundation. Once the foundation is laid, there is a greater return on investment for every story that can be built atop that. The costs of materials and labor have increased dramatically since the plan was developed in 2014, leading the developer to conclude the only financially feasible path is for a 3-4 story building.

Q: Couldn't the developer just not build the 4th story, and charge more per rental unit?

A: Market rate for rentals is set by the market – what people are willing to pay, and what landlords are willing to accept. If the landlord requests a higher rate than market, he will likely not be able to fill the space, and therefore have a delayed return on investment, ultimately making the project not financially viable.

Q: Couldn't the developer dig deeper for parking, thus allowing fewer floors above ground?

A: Digging deeper is significantly more expensive, and the turnaround required to maneuver cars around spirals reduces availability of land for parking. Thus, there is not a real gain in space for significant added expense.

Q: What traffic impacts might there be?

A: With a maximum of 26 cars able to enter and exit the building at any given time, the traffic volume will be far smaller than what was experienced when the site was a gas station. The primary difference is that the gas station had entrances and exits on both Glenway St. and Speedway Rd., while this complex would have no entrance/exit on Glenway St. This may result in additional cars circling the block (Glenway St. to Hammersley Ave. to Speedway Rd., or Glenway St. to Hammersley Ave. to Waverly Pl. to Speedway Rd.) in order to enter with a right turn from Speedway into the complex. The City of Madison Traffic Engineering Department has reviewed the plans, and identified no concerns with this project.

Q: Won't the people who live in this unit need to park on the streets, since there are fewer parking spaces than units?

A: The developer will proactively seek out renters who do not need parking. Renters will not be eligible for residential parking permits in the area. If residents in the area would like to restrict parking on their block to residential permit parking only, 50% or more of the property owners on the block can petition the city to restrict parking to residents.

Q: If the residents in this complex are reliant on public transportation, isn't it a problem that the Metro Transit Redesign plan calls for rush-hour-only service along Mineral Point and Speedway?

A: Possibly. While most demand for bus use is during the morning and evening rush hours, people often work different shifts, or need access to appointments or shopping during the day. As a result of the proposed service change, the closest intersections with daily, all-day bus service would be on Regent Street at Speedway Road (0.7 miles away from the subject site), Midvale Boulevard at Mineral Point Road (0.6 miles away), or Monroe Street at Glenway Street (0.6 miles away).

It is important for Metro to hear from residents regarding their needs and desires for Metro service. Our dedicated neighborhood meeting is March 22 at 6:00pm, and we invite everyone to share their perspectives on the proposed Transit Redesign plan there, or by taking this survey.

Q: What effect on home re-sale values might there be?

A: The most significant impacts will be on the homes directly north of the site. These homes were purchased when the site was a functioning gas station, thus the residents purchased those homes knowing they would experience significant traffic, noise, and fumes from the adjacent property. While these impacts are now gone, a larger development would alter the southern view from these homes, and as the shadow drawings show, would result in significant shading in the winter. Other similar developments across the city have not resulted in lowered home sales; since the 2008 recession, all home sale prices in Madison have continued to increase.

Q: What impact will there be on the cell tower on the adjacent building?

A: The City would not regulate the impacts on that tower with respect to this proposed building, as it is considered a private matter. The FCC might have regulations the developer would have to comply with.

Q: What happens next?

A: The Plan Commission will be reviewing the conditional use and demolition permit requests associated with this proposal at their public meeting on March 21 at 5:30pm. Residents are invited to send additional comments to the Plan Commission, or register to speak.

Staff recommend you submit comments before the weekend, so they will be uploaded by the time the Plan Commissioners typically review the materials (in advance of the meeting). However, any and all comments received, at any point, will be added to the public record for this project.

Should you wish to speak at the meeting - be it in support, in opposition, or neither – you will have up to three (3) minutes to speak. (This does not include any subsequent Q & A with the Plan Commissioners). You also have the option of just registering (in support, in opposition, or neither) and/or being available to answer questions.

The Plan Commission's possible actions are:

  • Place the requests on file without prejudice (i.e., reject the plan for the time being)
  • Approve the proposal [and associated requests] as is
  • Approve the proposal with additional conditions (i.e., changes, additions, etc.), or
  • Refer the requests to a subsequent meeting.

Please note that the Plan Commission will consider the conditional use requests separately from the demolition permit request, meaning that the Plan Commission could hypothetically approve the demolition permit while denying/referring the conditional uses.

The Plan Commission meeting agenda will be posted online by Friday.

Q: What are the actual requests associated with this proposal that are being considered by the Plan Commission at their meeting on Monday, March 21?

A: The applicant is making three requests:

1) Consideration of a demolition permit to demolish a one-story commercial building;

2) Consideration of a conditional use to construct a mixed-use building with over 24 dwelling units in the Neighborhood Mixed-Use (NMX) District; and

3) Consideration of a conditional use for a building in the NMX District exceeding three stories and 40 feet in height.

Q: How does the Plan Commission make their decision? What is it based on?

A: The Plan Commission will need to find all of the approval standards – for Demolition Permits and Conditional Uses – met to approve the requests. These approval standards are listed below:


Standards of Approval (28.185(9)(c). The Plan Commission shall not approve an application for demolition or removal unless it finds that each of the following standards are met:

1. The applicant has included information related to any efforts to relocate the building, including but not limited to assessing the costs of relocation, the impact of relocation on city terrace trees, and the structural soundness of the building.

2. The applicant has received a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Landmarks Commission under MGO Secs. 41.09(1)(c) and 41.12(3), if applicable.

3. The applicant has received an approved reuse and recycling plan from the City Recycling Coordinator.

4. The Plan Commission has received and considered the report of the City's historic preservation planner regarding the historic value of the property as well as any report that may be submitted by the Landmarks Commission.

5. The Plan Commission has received and considered the report of the City Forester regarding the impact a proposed building relocation could have on City terrace trees, if applicable.

6. The Plan Commission shall consider the condition of the building or buildings proposed for demolition or removal. In order to find this standard met, the Plan Commission may consider a report of the Madison Fire Department, Police Department, and/or Building Inspection Division regarding the proposed demolition, including whether any evidence of a potential fire hazard, unlawful use of the property, public nuisance, or other public health and safety concern supports demolition or removal.

7. The Plan Commission shall consider the factors and information specified in items 1--6 and find that the proposed demolition or removal is consistent with the statement of purpose of this section (see statement of purpose copied immediately below) and with the health, prosperity, safety, and welfare of the City of Madison.

Statement of Purpose of the Demolition Section (28.185(1)): It is hereby declared as a matter of public policy that the careful consideration of requests to demolish or remove existing principal buildings is a public necessity and required in the interest of the health, prosperity, safety, and welfare of the people. The purpose of this section is therefore to ensure the preservation of historic buildings, encourage applicants to strongly consider relocating rather than demolishing existing buildings, aid in the implementation of adopted City plans, maximize the reuse or recycling of materials resulting from a demolition, protect the public from potentially unsafe structures and public nuisances, and require the use of safe and orderly demolition or removal methods.


In order for the Plan Commission to ultimately approve the conditional use requests associated with this proposal, they must find all of the following standards met (Note: standards, 8, 10, 11, and 13-17 do not apply to this project):


(6) Approval Standards.

(a) The City Plan Commission shall not approve a conditional use without due consideration of the recommendations in the City of Madison Comprehensive Plan and any applicable, neighborhood, neighborhood development, or special area plan, including design guidelines adopted as supplements to these plans. No application for a conditional use shall be granted by the Plan Commission unless it finds that all of the following conditions are present:

1. The establishment, maintenance or operation of the conditional use will not be detrimental to or endanger the public health, safety, or general welfare.

2. The City is able to provide municipal services to the property where the conditional use is proposed, given due consideration of the cost of providing those services.

3. The uses, values and enjoyment of other property in the neighborhood for purposes already established will not be substantially impaired or diminished in any foreseeable manner.

4. The establishment of the conditional use will not impede the normal and orderly development and improvement of the surrounding property for uses permitted in the district.

5. Adequate utilities, access roads, drainage, parking supply, internal circulation improvements, including but not limited to vehicular, pedestrian, bicycle, public transit and other necessary site improvements have been or are being provided.

6. Measures, which may include transportation demand management (TDM) and participation in a transportation management association have been or will be taken to provide adequate ingress and egress, including all off-site improvements, so designed as to minimize traffic congestion and to ensure public safety and adequate traffic flow, both on-site and on the public streets.

7. The conditional use conforms to all applicable regulations of the district in which it is located.

8. When applying the above standards to an application by a community living arrangement, the Plan Commission shall:

a.   Bear in mind the City's general intent to accommodate community living arrangements.

b.   Exercise care to avoid an over-concentration of community living arrangements, which could create an institutional setting and seriously strain the existing social structure of a community. Considerations relevant for this determination are the distance between the proposed facility and other such facilities, the capacity of the proposed facility and the percentage by which the facility will increase the population of the community, the total capacity of all community living arrangements in the community, the impact on the community of other community living arrangements, the success or failure of integration into communities of other such facilities operated by the individual or group seeking approval, and the ability of the community to meet the special needs, if any, of the applicant facility.

9. When applying the above standards to any new construction of a building or an addition to an existing building the Plan Commission shall find that the project creates an environment of sustained aesthetic desirability compatible with the existing or intended character of the area and the statement of purpose for the zoning district. In order to find that this standard is met, the Plan Commission may require the applicant to submit plans to the Urban Design Commission for comment and recommendation. (Am. by ORD-14-00030, 2-18-14)

10. When applying the above standards to an application for a reduction in off-street parking requirements, the Plan Commission shall consider and give decisive weight to all relevant facts, including but not limited to, the availability and accessibility of alternative parking; impact on adjacent residential neighborhoods; existing or potential shared parking arrangements; number of residential parking permits issued for the area; proximity to transit routes and/or bicycle paths and provision of bicycle racks; the proportion of the total parking required that is represented by the requested reduction; the proportion of the total parking required that is decreased by Sec. 28.141. The characteristics of the use, including hours of operation and peak parking demand times design and maintenance of off-street parking that will be provided; and whether the proposed use is now or a small addition to an existing use.

11. When applying the above standards to telecommunication facilities, the Plan Commission shall consider the review of the application by a professional engineer required by Sec. 28.143.

12. When applying the above standards to an application for height in excess of that allowed in the district, the Plan Commission shall consider recommendations in adopted plans; the impact on surrounding properties, including height, mass, orientation, shadows and view; architectural quality and amenities; the relationship of the proposed building(s) with adjoining streets, alleys, and public rights of ways; and the public interest in exceeding the district height limits.

13. When applying the above standards to lakefront development under Sec. 28.138, the Plan Commission shall consider the height and bulk of principal buildings on the five (5) developed lots or three hundred (300) feet on either side of the lot with the proposed development.

14. When applying the above standards to an application for height in excess of that allowed by Section 28.071(2)(a) Downtown Height Map for a development located within the Additional Height Areas identified in Section 28.071(2)(b), the Plan Commission shall consider the recommendations in adopted plans, and no application for excess height shall be granted by the Plan Commission unless it finds that all of the following conditions are present:

a.   The excess height is compatible with the existing or planned (if the recommendations in the Downtown Plan call for changes) character of the surrounding area, including but not limited to the scale, mass, rhythm, and setbacks of buildings and relationships to street frontages and public spaces.

b.   The excess height allows for a demonstrated higher quality building than could be achieved without the additional stories.

c.   The scale, massing and design of new buildings complement and positively contribute to the setting of any landmark buildings within or adjacent to the projects and create a pleasing visual relationship with them.

d.   For projects proposed in priority viewsheds and other views and vistas identified on the Views and Vistas Map in the City of Madison Downtown Plan, there are no negative impacts on the viewshed as demonstrated by viewshed studies prepared by the applicant.

15. When applying the above standards to an application to redevelop a site that was occupied on January 1, 2013 by a building taller than the maximum building height allowed by Section 28.071(2)(a) Downtown Height Map, as provided by Section 28.071(2)(a)1., no application for excess height shall be granted by the Plan Commission unless it finds that all the following additional conditions are also present:

a.   The new building is entirely located on the same parcel as the building being replaced.

b.   The new building is not taller in stories or in feet than the building being replaced.

c.   The new building is not larger in total volume than the building being replaced.

d.   The new building is consistent with the design standards in Section 28.071(3) and meets all of the dimensional standards of the zoning district other than height.

e.   The Urban Design Commission shall review the proposed development and make a recommendation to the Plan Commission.

16. When applying the above standards to an application for limited production and processing use, the Plan Commission shall consider the effect of such a use on the surrounding properties, including the effects of odors, noise, vibration, glare, hours of operation, and other potential side effects of a manufacturing process. (Cr. by ORD-15-00124, 11-11-15)

17. When applying the above standards to an application for allowable projections into the capitol view height area, the Plan Commission shall only approve the projection if it determines the encroachment is the minimum necessary and does not significantly impact the long views of the State Capitol building.


Take care,

Regina Vidaver


Email to a friend Email to a friend

Subscribe to Email List

Subscribe to the District 5 – Alder Vidaver email list:

By participating on this list the Wisconsin Public Records Laws may subject your email address to disclosure to third parties. By selecting "Yes" you are requesting that we treat your email address that you have provided to this list as confidential and you are also stating that you would not participate in this service if the City is obligated to release your email address to such third party requesters.