From links to a landfill, plans for new Dane County landfill progressing

MADISON, Wis – The City of Madison and Dane County have come to an agreement on plans to turn half of the Yahara Hills Golf Course into a landfill but to complete the sale the proposal would need to go through the approval process at both the city and county committee level.

This comes after Madison city leaders questioned the sustainability of the golf course and the County was running out of space in its existing landfill, however many in the area aren’t on board with their plans.

“My main concern though is just quickly it’s happening and that people don’t know about it,” said area neighbor president John Nagler. “It just feels kind of shady.”

RELATED: Dane County Waste Management wants to purchase a portion of Yahara Hills Golf Course for new landfill

Nagler wants the City to consider other alternatives before committing to the county’s proposal, like partnering with private organizations to bridge the financial gap because he thinks the land would be wasted on a new landfill.

“Why not throw it out to the community and say ‘hey this golf course isn’t making money for us right now. We’d really love to see it continue to be a golf course, does Vitense, does Ho-chunk, does anyone–does Big Top,” he said. “Why would we turn that into a dump when we can put a dump any old where?”

But John Welch, Director of the County’s Department of Waste and Renewables, said their plans for the new landfill, with a sustainability campus and business park, go beyond a hole in the ground in need of land that’s not easy to come by.

“We need sewer water, electricity, internet, a lot of those types of utilities,” Welch said. “You also need proximity to decent haul routes and transportation routes and so Yahara really is an ideal site for having all of those things.” 

Still, Nagler thinks the City of Madison was too quick to agree, even questioning the sale price of 24 thousand an acre, believing it to be undervalued.

Nagler wants the City, which came to that agreement based on an appraisal run jointly between the City of Madison Real Estate and their counterparts in Dane County, to get multiple evaluations.

However, Charlie Romines, the City’s Streets and Urban Forestry Superintendent said there was no discount given and the price set for sale was slightly more than what it was valued at.

He also said even if the city manages to sell the land for a higher price they’d end up paying for it another way.

“Dane County operates their landfill as an enterprise,” Romines explained. “They have to get that money back from their users which is the City of Madison, which is paid for with tax dollars so the more we drive the price up the more they’re going to drive up our tipping fees.”

Welch said Dane County could begin building the compost site, education, center, and offices as early as 2025 while construction on the actual Landfill would begin in 2028.

He also said for the current site they have plans to turn the land into a conservancy once closed.