Madison residents express concern over planned Amazon delivery facility

MADISON, Wis. – As developers plan to build an Amazon distribution facility on Madison’s east side, neighboring residents are expressing their concerns.

The Amazon hub is being planned at 3650 Milwaukee St. near Woodman’s and right next to the Madison Metro Transit East Transfer Point. A report from the city’s planning division indicates about half of the 228,000 square-foot building formerly known as the Swiss Colony distribution center will be razed and rebuilt as the Amazon facility, which is already allowed by zoning regulations.

Developers still need approval for a proposed surface parking lot and storm water management facility on the now-empty, adjacent site located at 3630 Milwaukee Street, which was on the plan commission’s agenda Monday night. The item was open for public testimony.

“It’s frustrating,” said neighboring resident John Steines. He and others from the Friends of Starkweather Creek, a water advocacy volunteer group, had concerns, including about the planned parking lot.

“We have flooding issues, adjacent wetlands,” Steines said. “They’re not designed to deal with parking runoff. They have a natural function.”

Steines said Monday was the first he heard of the meeting.

“Nobody knew about this,” he said. Other speakers also expressed concerns that the final approval vote was coming too soon.

Alder Grant Foster, who represents the area, said in his blog that’s because demolition on the parcel had previously been approved, so there was little public notice on the item.

It’s unclear how many jobs would be created by the Amazon hub, but the planning division’s report said the parking lot would accommodate about 500 spots for delivery vans and 200 for employees. Some 200 of the stalls would technically be located on the 3650 parcel.

In the report, the planning division recommends the plan commission approve the request, noting that denying this request would not preclude the property owner from proceeding with plans for the Amazon distribution center.

“Review of the permitted use site plans for the 3650 Milwaukee Street property for compliance with Madison General Ordinances are ongoing,” the report said, “which will include any ordinance requirements for the 3630 property.”

As of 10 p.m. Monday night, the commission had yet to come to a vote on the item.