Alder Steve King
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210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
WI Relay Service
Hello District 7 Residents:
I wanted to share a few important updates on issues in the City, and in particular, our area. We now have the ability to update our own website area, and to push out information via e-mail when updates are posted. If you haven't before, please take a moment and sign up for District 7 updates through the link on my home page. It's definitely the most efficient and economical way for me to share information with you.
Crime-related items have certainly taken center stage in recent months. A rash of robberies at the intersection of Maple Grove and McKee/PD, as well as other events in the City overall, have generated a lot of correspondence. I can assure you that every Council member prioritizes public safety as the foundation of our quality of life in Madison. Our Police Department has been laser-focused on helping to solve these crimes (which included the capture of the likely culprits of a majority of the robberies). More importantly, however, our police continue to focus on proactive ways to engage the community through neighborhood police officers and involvement with neighborhood resource teams which are active in more crime-troubled areas of the City (there are none directly in District 7). As mentioned below, the Council approved a funding strategy to create a new Midtown Police Station on the near west side (off of Mineral Point road) that will be fully operational in 2019, but have some capacity before then in a phased approach. It is hoped that this will help the overburdened West Side Police District and provide a more equitable and efficient spread of resources within the City.
Stay plugged in! The Police Department's webpage continues to be a great place for information. Sign up for the "Blotter" feature which allow you to receive updates. Check out the West District's page to sign up for this and for other important information and links. MPD also has a Twitter account and Facebook page.
And now for my standard reminders:
Please lock your outside doors at all times. And lock interior doors that lead to your garage. If at all possible, install motion detector lights, particularly at the sides and rear of your house. Buy energy efficient lights and keep them on all night around your garage. And of course, always lock cars and close all doors. I know this sounds simplistic and common sense, but in many of the burglaries these simple measures would have helped to prevent crime.
Last but not least, know your neighbors and keep an eye out for each other. If you see someone's paper out for more than a couple of days, pick it up for them. If you ever see anything even remotely suspicious, report it immediately. The police non-emergency number is 266-4948.
Most of the development within and around the district has continued to be focused on residential apartments. The demand for this type of housing across the City has remained very high and vacancy rates in some areas are at or below two percent.
A project from Oakwood Corporation for an 80 unit affordable housing development at the area near Stonecreek Drive and Highway PD (the westernmost part of the empty parcel there) was approved this year and construction will begin in early 2016. This project has my full support as a part of the City's overall affordable housing strategy. There is a lot of misinformation about what "affordable housing" really is, particularly related to Section 42 tax credits. Please note, this is not "Section 8" housing. The developer (Oakwood), with the City's backing, will be using tax incentivized financing to develop most units that are below market rate rents. It also includes some family-friendly three bedroom units in the mix.
Here are some specifics: The project has a mix of market rate units (about 15% of the total) with approximate rents from $1,025 - $1,350 on one and two bedroom units. Another 60% of the units will have their rents based on 50% and 60% of Area Median Income (AMI), with rents that will range from $700 for a one bedroom to $1,000 for a three bedroom apartment. About 25% of the units designated are for those at 30% of AMI. These apartments are targeted to disabled individuals, including seniors and veterans. Rents on those 1 bedroom apartments are around $400 per month. This will be a high quality project with good architecture, building materials and attractive landscaping.. it will be professionally managed and be indistinguishable from other "market rate" projects being developed in the area. Oakbrook Corporation has a solid reputation and manages over 8000 rental units on its properties, 70% of which have some sort of subsidized rent structure.
Planning staff will begin the process to update the City's Comprehensive Plan in 2016. At the request of residents, I will use this review process to adjust the zoning for the empty farmland parcel that is next to Chavez Elementary. Under the Cross Country Neighborhood Plan this area is zoned for medium density development. Given the incremental increases in density that all of the most recent developments have added, I am proposing an amendment to the plan to decrease the zoning in this area to single family in the interior and slightly higher density on the Maple Grove corridor.
I am not currently aware of any active development proposals for the SW corner of the PD/Maple Grove intersection.
Road Construction and Traffic Concerns:
Information about the Highway PD reconstruction and planning can be found here. There has already been one public feedback session on the proposed plan thus far. Adjustments will surely be made. Construction is now planned for 2017 and will include a signalized intersection at Muir Field/Country Grove and some much needed improvements to the intersection at Maple Grove Drive.
Now that funding has been restored (and even increased) for traffic calming measures, I will be working with neighborhood groups to bring several proposals to the "list" of potential projects moving forward within the City, including within Ice Age Falls and Glacier Ridge, as well as on Carnwood Drive (The cut-through between Muir Field and Maple Grove Drive).
The Council and Mayor had a relatively collaborative budget process this year that was mostly consensus and compromise-driven.
A few budget highlights:
- Approval of capital funding for a new "Midtown" police station on the near west side to be partly operational beginning in 2017/2018 and fully operational by 2019.
- A continued commitment to a development project on the "Judge Doyle Square" site downtown.
- Necessary expenditures to advance the public market project on the near east side provided that identified outside funding sources (which are a majority of the funding) come to reality.
- A follow-through on a commitment by both the Mayor and Council to work towards alleviating some wage parity issues by approving a 1.15% pay increase for most City workers.
- Neighborhood Traffic Management. Thanks to my amendment and the support of my colleagues, the Council restored this funding to just above the 2015 level. This is important funding for neighborhood-driven traffic calming investments and major street improvement's for enhancements of pedestrian infrastructure and safety. Learn more about this program here.
The bottom line was a historically average increase in the City's portion of the tax assessment at 3.49%.
Winter is here, and so are alternate side parking rules!
The Emerald Ash Borer has been found in our area not far from Maple Grove Drive and Chavez Elementary. Sigh. As some have already commented, the City has begun to remove some ash trees from public property. This is a very unfortunate circumstance for our urban forest. Info about the response can be found on the Emerald Ash Borer area of the Parks website.
A reminder that The City approved and will be offering the option for residents to pay property taxes in four installments this coming year. More information is here and is included with your statements which you should have already received.
The City's website has undergone a significant redesign with some added features and better accessibility from mobile devices. "Report a Problem" remains one of the most valuable ways to contact the City for non-emergency concerns and information.
Values and Priorities Survey
How we grow matters! Where and how we build and connect buildings, roads, and parks affects our economic opportunities, our well-being, and the natural environment. In short, growth matters to what we care about and value.
Planning for future growth and transportation needs will position the region for success. The first step is the Greater Madison Region Values and Priorities Survey. This 20-minute anonymous survey will tell us about your feelings concerning the quality of life here and priorities for the future.
Please click HERE to complete the Values and Priorities Survey.
A Greater Madison Vision, an initiative of the Capital Area Regional Planning Commission, will use the survey results to engage you and your neighbors in conversations about how we grow. Drawing on shared values, community members will help define growth options, and select the option that best matches regional values. The outcome will be a vision and strategy for growth in the Greater Madison Region that generates real improvements to issues we care about
I serve on The Madison Area Transportation Planning Board which will also be using the survey results as a foundation for development of the vision, goals, and priorities for the Regional Transportation Plan 2050. For more information, go to MadisonAreaRTP.org.