Local News

Monroe Street deal OK'd for 2nd time despite neighbors' concerns

Mixed-use building scheduled for 2014 completion

MADISON, Wis. - Neighbors who fought against a controversial west side development came away unhappy after Madison city leaders approved it for the second time.

Developer Fred Rouse has plans for a four-story building with 21 apartment units and first-floor shopping on the corner of Monroe and Knickerbocker streets.

Neighbors have said they're concerned that people on upper balconies will be able to see into their backyards, and are also worried about an increase in traffic.

"We all want the best possible neighborhood," said Alderman Sue Ellingson, who supported the project despite the opposition of some constituents. "We want it to be a viable place, where people want to live. And it's tragic, I guess, that we don't have the same idea to make that happen."

Neighbors forced the city council to take a stand on the project by petitioning for a second look after the Madison Planning Commission approved the development last month.

Tuesday, council members approved speed bumps for Knickerbocker and a small pedestrian island on Monroe, Ellingson said.

But that's not enough for neighbors like Mike Murray, who lives down the street.

"It certainly does not address the majority of the overwhelming traffic, parking and safety concerns for the neighborhood," said Murray, as his kids played nearby. "I think what has frustrated a lot of people was that they felt like the voice of the neighborhood was not heard."

Monroe Street deal OK'd for 2nd time despite neighbors' concerns

The project is scheduled to be completed in 2014. The developer would tear down an old service station at the corner and the home next door to construct the building.

Murray said the group of neighbors opposed to the project will regroup and try to persuade the developer to make changes.

"This is our neighborhood, and this is where my children play," Murray said. "We want to make sure it's a safe place for them to play and it's an enjoyable place for all of us to live."

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