Plan Commission approves multiple large construction projects

Ald. Ledell Zellers, District 2, said the continual encroachment of shadows on Lamp House is the "death of a thousand cuts." 

Image By: Dana Kampa

Two construction projects presented at a Madison Plan Commission meeting Monday generated controversy, including an 80-unit apartment and a 10-story hotel.

The 164-room hotel at 202 East Washington Ave. and 15 North Webster St. was referred at a Sept. 22 Plan Commission meeting.

“This project represents over 24 months of work and collaboration with a lot of different groups … the design is really befitting of the location,” Josh Wilcox, Gary Brink & Associates vice president and senior project manager, said.

Ald. Ledell Zellers, District 2, originally moved to place the project on file because although she thought the project was better, it didn’t justify the additional height and encroached on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Lamp House.

The motion to approve eventually passed on a divided vote.

Designer Ulian Kissiov then presented plans for an apartment at 617 Jupiter Drive and 610 Hercules Trail looks like one building but functions as two.

However, residents said the two-driveway design would worsen heavily trafficked roads.

“Parking is definitely important, but safety is too,” Hercules Trail resident Renee Disch said.

Traffic Specialist Scott Langer said the number of cars in the area would likely increase by 24 at peak hours, but any issues with speeding residents mentioned would not be altered much.

The design passed with one dissenting vote.

The Commission also unanimously approved further action for the Downtown Plan, adopted in 2012. In a few months, the plan will begin looking holistically at the State Street and Capitol Square area, evaluating everything from bus routes to affordability over the next few years.

Bill Fruhling, a principle planner, said he hopes students will make their needs heard for this.

“We hope to include as many people in this process, representing as many different perspectives, as possible,” Fruhling said. “State Street is a special place in the city, and we have to make sure to stay on top of things.”

Commissioners also placed the UW-Madison School of Music Performance project on the consent agenda. Chair Ken Opin said it was “remarkable” such a large project passed without comment, which he attributed to good planning and beautiful design.

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