DDA to amend Urban Renewal Plan to allow housing deal

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By Nick Nunn staff writer

The Madison Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will consider an amendment to their Urban Renewal Plan in order to accommodate the proposed senior housing development by Parallel Housing, Inc.

The current Urban Renewal Plan, which was adopted by the Madison City Council in May 2011, focuses on the West Washington gateway. According to Madison’s website, an Urban Renewal Area is “an area designated in the community for extra concentration of community services, programs, and improvements to relieve slum and blight conditions and bring renewal opportunities.”

Madison Planning Director Monica Callahan stated that the preliminary URA amendment should be completed in the next 15 days and that the DDA will have to propose the amendment to the city council, who will ultimately vote to accept the amendment.

The senior housing development represents a possible $8 million investment in the West Washington gateway. Callahan also stated that the Madison City Council will be looking at a sketch of a Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) ordinance during their upcoming work session. She stated that the scope of the TDR ordinance would only be “microscopic” in scale at this stage and would focus on residential development rights at this stage. Callahan stated that a TDR would help to protect greenspace in the Urban Renewal Area while still encouraging development.

She encouraged that the DDA members attempt to attend the council’s work session to hear more discussion about the proposed ordinance. DDA Member Everett Royal stated that the slab foundation and plumbing for the Depot replacement building have been installed, and that the construction company is leaving a “very nice, clean site.” “We’ll get a good building,” said Royal.

Royal also stated that there have been some changes in grading around the McDowell building in order to create stability. He also said that the storm sewer is almost complete and that the paving for the depot parking lot should begin soon, pending good weather.

DDA Chair Shandon Land stated that work is going “slowly but surely” on the Gilmore building, but that, in addition to being able to raise the downstairs ceiling to nine-and-a-half feet, they also found that there were eight layers of shingles on some sections of the roof of the building.

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