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City of Madison Development Services Center

Development Review Bodies

A commission is a volunteer body appointed by the Mayor and approved by the Common Council to serve the Council as advisors having the powers specified by the commission charter.

Board of Estimates

If a development is seeking city assistance through Tax Incremental Financing (TIF), other funding, or infrastructure projects, they will have to appear before the City’s Board of Estimates. This body determines impacts of financing decisions on the City’s Budget.

Board of Public Works

Seven voting members — one City employee, two alderpeople, three lay citizens, and the Mayor or a designee meet twice a month to advise the Common Council on any matters concerning public lands or structures.

Building and Fire Code Review and Appeals Board

A nine-member board that grants modifications to building and fire codes as listed in Chapters 27-29 and 34 of the Madison General Ordinances. They also rule on request for variances to the State building codes per an agreement with the State of Wisconsin.

Common Council

The Council has final authority on rezoning; including Planned Unit Developments (PUDs), annexation, and subdivision requests.

Community Development Authority (CDA)

As set forth in the State Statutes the CDA acts as an agent of the City to perform, operate and administer the City's housing rehabilitation services.

Landmarks Commission

The Landmarks Commission has final authority on certificates of appropriateness for projects within local historic districts and on projects involving a property with landmark designation. The Commission consists of one registered architect, one historic preservationist, one real estate broker, one alderperson, and three citizen members with an interest in historic preservation. The Commission meets twice a month.

Pedestrian/Bicycle/Motor Vehicle Commission

An eleven-member body, composed of alderpeople, citizens, and the Mayor or designee, which makes recommendations to the Common Council regarding policies on pedestrian, bicycle, and motor vehicles systems and facilities. The Commission meets once a month.

Plan Commission

The Plan Commission has final authority on conditional use and demolition requests, and is advisory to the Common Council on rezoning, annexation and subdivision requests. The Commission consists of three alderpeople, the Mayor or designee, and five citizen members. It meets twice a month.

Privilege in Streets Committee

This committee, composed of City staff members representing the City Attorney, Risk Manager, Building Inspection Division, Economic Development Division, Planning Division, Traffic Engineering, and Engineering Division, meets as often as needed to review applications for privileges in streets for encroachments beyond the lot line or within public rights-of-way and other public land.

Urban Design Commission (UDC)

The UDC has final authority on requests in Urban Design Districts and is advisory to the Plan Commission on PUDs, Projects in the C4 downtown zoning district and Planned Commercial Districts (PCD). They meet twice a month.

Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA)

This five member body hears requests for variances or relief from specific requirements of the Zoning Ordinance. The Board also serves as an appeals body for decisions made by the Zoning Administrator during the enforcement of the ordinance. Many requests before the Board involve improvements to individual properties that require discussion with adjacent neighbors and, occasionally, with a neighborhood association.