Neighbors may petition after Monroe Street deal gets city’s OK

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

The Madison alderwoman whose district includes a controversial development proposal said neighbors unhappy with the deal may petition city leaders to take a second look.

Ald. Sue Ellingson, who represents the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood, supported a proposed retail and apartment building, although some neighbors did not.

“The plans are good plans,” Ellingson said. “I’m really sorry that we couldn’t come to an agreement with the neighbors.”

Neighbors said they were concerned the four-story, mixed-use building would add to traffic and parking problems, and said balconies would look out over their yards and disrupt privacy.

The neighborhood association voted 11-2 in opposition to the project, which got the city Plan Commission’s approval Monday night.

Because of an ordinance change, the conditional-use permit doesn’t require a go-ahead from the City Council, but neighbors could petition to have alders take a new look at the development proposal.

Neighbors may petition after Monroe Street deal gets city’s OK

“The developer is in the driver’s seat,” said Sherwood Malamud, the neighborhood association’s president. “The neighborhood association wanted to participate.”

The project will help revitalize the corner, Ellingson said.

Without a new challenge, developer Rouse Management plans to start demolition of an auto repair business, an old gas station and a single-family home in the fall. Construction would finish next summer, the company said in its application to the city.

The auto repair shop’s owner, Tom Rice, said he decided to sell after years of offers from developers for his prime Monroe Street real estate.

“I’ve got bad knees and a bad hip and it’s not really as much fun to work anymore,” Rice said.

Rice has been in the auto repair business since 1962 on Monroe Street, and said his is just the latest neighborhood shop to come and go.

“People won’t even know it was here in two years,” Rice said. “I really do think (the development) is going to be good for the neighborhood.”