Madison PRDs limited to one-family units
City council vote split 3-2 on amendment
By Stephanie Johns
The Madison City Council voted to amend the city’s Planned Residential Districts (PRDs) 3-2 with councilmen Whitey Hunt, Michael Naples and Joe DiLetto in favor and councilmen Fred Perriman and Rick Blanton opposed.
Naples read the following statement and requested that it be approved:
“Additionally, any proposed Planned Residential District (PRD) that lies within the Historic Preservation Overlay District be limited to single-family (detached) units, thereby precluding any two-family or multi-family units in the district.”
Naples said that his recommendation would benefit the Madison Historic Preservation District, which already has two PRDs and three duplexes.
“If we don’t protect our resources, we’re gambling,” he said.
Hunt agreed with Naples’ recommendation and said, “It’s what makes Madison what it is.”
DiLetto asked if the council could consider future projects as they come up instead of approving Naples’ recommendation, which he said was “a blanket denial.”
Perriman asked Naples if the property owners think PRDs will devalue their properties and Naples said yes.
Members of the public, including David Land, Jim McManus, James Orr, Stratton Hicky, Elizabeth Bell and Theresa Bishop, commented in favor of Naples’ recommendation.
Land asked how the PRDs would affect guest houses. Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan said that guest houses or “accessory units” would not be affected.
Orr told council members that he was concerned about the threat of litigation from well-heeled developers if the council voted down Naples’ recommendation.
“This is not just for this city council,” he said. “It’s for the future.”
City attorney Joe Reitman said he doesn’t worry about litigation, “I worry about a defensible legal position.”
McManus told council members, “Don’t abandon me.”
Bell said she thought DiLetto should not vote as she saw his relationship with the Friesens as a “conflict of interest.”
“It’s my home, my family,” she said. “You should disqualify yourself from your vote on my home.”
DiLetto responded that he had discussed this with Reitman and they had determined that he could vote.
“I’ve tried to keep an open mind for all the properties,” he said. “I will vote and vote my conscious.”
He added that some of his constituents feel “counted out” and that he must consider opportunities for them.
Bishop told the council they were “contemplating a change that should not be made.”
Hunt said that the city’s historic district brings in tax dollars every day.
As to comments made during the meeting about who owns the property, Perriman said he was not concerned about who owns the property, only about doing what is right.
Once the council voted to approve Naples’ request, they then voted to extend the PRD moratorium in the Historic Preservation Overlay (HPO) district through Jan. 15, 2013. This vote was unanimous.
Printed in the October 11, 2012