Requests could alter historic district density

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By Tia Lynn Ivey

managing editor

New housing developments could be in the Historic District of Madison’s future, including a revised version of the controversial Foster Street project.

City Staff is currently reviewing two applications for rezoning property in the Historic District, one filed by Brad Good, a local developer, and the other filed by Alex Newton, a founding member of the Madison Historic Coalition.

Both applications are seeking rezoning for the respective plots of lands to be designated as Residential 4 (R4) zones, which would allow for .25-acre minimum lots per house. Good’s application currently depicts 24 housing lots spread across the 10.36 acres of land behind the historic Miller-Thomason house off Main Street. Newton’s application currently depicts four housing lots across his 1.94 acres of property located at 406 Fourth Street. According to City Planner Mollie Bogle, both applications are still in the early stages and could change the number of proposed lots at any time. But if these applications are approved as they are, nearly 30 new single-family houses could be constructed within the Historic District of Madison.

According to Good, the Foster Street is the ideal place for a new housing development in Madison.

“The Foster house has been vacant and unused for at least 20 years due to a fire causing significant damage to the home. The home is now in need of major renovation,” wrote Good in his application to the city.  “The approximate 10.36 acres is well suited for development as the land slopes gently from South Main to the rear of the property. The configuration of the property with residential development on all sides is narrow and restricted for its best economic use under the current larger lot R-2 zoning which allows for 22 lots. The proposed plan allows for a compatible design, with 24 proposed lots, in keeping with neighboring development patterns of varying lot sizes in the adjacent Plum, Poplar and Pine neighborhood. The plan also addresses a new housing need for Madison and with mid size lots allows for an economically viable design. The lots also accommodate different sizes and historic styles of homes with a maximum gross square foot of structures up to 7,500 S.F.”

“The Foster Park project as re-zoned brings a viable neighborhood to a currently non-productive property. The new 24 homes are situated in a walk-able community and does not reduce the current level of A service in traffic volume. Foster Park will be a great asset to the entire city of Madison,” closed Good on his application.

Good’s application follows more than a year of public debate after he originally proposed a 37-house subdivision called Foster Park on the property through a Planned Residential Development (PRD). The project was opposed by local residents who worried about how the new housing development would affect surrounding property values. Opponents also complained that the increased density would create more noise, light, and traffic-congestion in their neighborhoods. After a series of public hearings, Good pulled the project and the Madison Mayor and City Council ultimately voted to eliminate PRDs altogether from the historic district. The next best option, according to Good, is rezoning the Foster Street property to an R4 classification.

Good’s application will go before the Madison Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday, July 20 and then the Madison Mayor and City Council on Monday, August 14. Newton’s application will go before the Madison Planning and Zoning Commission on Thursday, August 17, and then before the Madison Mayor and City Council on Monday, Sept. 11.

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