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Update on City of Madison Zoning Code and Downtown Plan Rewrites 2010

| Nathan J. Wautier
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Below is a status update on two very important projects currently moving through the City of Madison: (1) The City’s Zoning Code rewrite, and (2) The City’s Downtown Plan rewrite.

These two documents are designed to work together to regulate and encourage land-use development both now and in the future. The Zoning Code is the primary tool used by the City to regulate current development by detailing requirements for land-use ranging from single-family homes to large mixed-use projects. In the case of the Downtown Plan, the goal is to describe the desired future composition of the downtown landscape. The current Downtown Plan has not been revised in more than 20 years, while the Zoning Code has not been updated since 1966.

Zoning Code Rewrite Status

A draft of the revised Zoning Code was completed by third-party consultants earlier this year and reviewed by City staff. City staff recommendations to the draft Zoning Code text are in the process of being modified, approved or rejected by the City’s Plan Commission. The Plan Commission currently has two more meetings, scheduled on October 25 and 26, to complete this process. Upon completion of the Plan Commission’s review of the draft Zoning Code, the Plan Commission will make its recommendation to the City Council for its review and adoption of the new Zoning Code. The goal is to have a revised Zoning Code adopted in early 2011.

A full timeline and schedule of meetings on the Zoning Code is available on CityofMadison.com.

Downtown Plan Rewrite Status

The City’s Downtown Plan is being revised concurrently with the Zoning Code. Originally, the Downtown Plan project was to begin in 2008 with an anticipated timeline of one year. An overview and draft recommendations of this plan were introduced by City staff on September 23, 2010.  The overview provides a suggested vision for future development of the downtown, including very specific building height restrictions and land-use designations. The new Downtown Plan also aims to harmonize competing visions that may arise between neighborhood plans and the City’s Comprehensive Plan. To the extent differences remain, the Downtown Plan is meant to take precedence, with changes being made to other plans to make them conform. The overview and draft recommendations are currently open to public comment and will eventually result in a draft Downtown Plan for review.

A full timeline and schedule of meetings on the Downtown Plan is available on City of Madison Legislative Information Center. Each of these rewrites has the potential to greatly impact your current properties or future projects in Madison and are very parcel-specific. Your Reinhart real estate attorney is available to discuss how changes to either the Zoning Code or Downtown Plan may impact your real estate holdings or aspirations.