Madison Common Council votes to sell portion of Yahara Hills Golf Course to Dane Co.

MADISON, Wis. — The Madison Common Council voted Tuesday night to sell a portion of the Yahara Hills Golf Course in hopes it will be the site of a future landfill and sustainable business park.

Despite Tuesday night’s vote, there is still a long way to go before those plans become a reality. The earliest the county could start construction would be 2028.

“Approving a land sale now does not guarantee a landfill will be sited there. The county actually has a lot more work to do, also the county could decide for any number of reasons that they don’t want to put a landfill there,” Charlie Romines of the City of Madison said during Tuesday night’s meeting.

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

But the progress has come too quickly for some. Dane County Board chair Patrick Miles said he wanted to see more input from the public.

“The site selection should have been much more transparent and should have engaged stakeholders, and because that didn’t happen, public trust has been undermined,” he said in an interview Wednesday with News 3 Now. “I don’t fault residents for raising concerns now and being a little suspect about promises being made.”

Miles said he expects the county board to approve the sale when it meets May 19, but county officials say they will keep soliciting public input if the project moves forward.

“This doesn’t mean that we’re done with our engagement with the community — far from it,” said John Welch, director of the county’s Division of Waste and Renewables.

In the face of concerns that the landfill is close to houses, Welch said that distance is “less typical than you’d see in most landfills, but it’s not necessarily rare.”

The project still faces concerns from residents however.

“There are too many unknowns, there hasn’t been enough input and outreach into the community,” said Mike Pfohl during Tuesday’s council meeting.

“I think the thinking is, for the best of the county as a whole, the project needs to move forward,” Miles said.

Dane County’s current landfill is projected to run out of space by 2030. The proposed new landfill could cover the City of Madison’s needs for 70 years, Romines said.

There is a buy-back provision in case the county decides not to build a landfill in the space.

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

When News 3 Now spoke with county leaders last week, they said they plan to begin building a compost site, education center, and offices as early as 2025.

The Council voted 17 to 2 in favor of moving ahead with the sale.