Members of Madison’s Plan Commission unanimously approved a proposal Monday to rezone a downtown area from a housing friendly residential zone to a commercial friendly mixed-use one.
The properties, an office building and two parking lots located on the 600 blocks of West Main Street and West Doty Street, will undergo this change by combining the two parking lots. The change to a mixed-use area is in line with a 2006 plan, which recommended altering the zoning code.
John Koffel, co-director of Delta Properties said there has been a lot of dialogue between interested parties ever since they realized the outdated zoning code. Delta Properties has owned the land since 1989.
"We're putting the train back on track," said Bill White, the company’s lawyer, about the move to a new zoning code.
The Bassett Neighborhood Association and the Downtown Plan both support the change, according to Delta Properties.
The Downtown Plan, approved by city council in 2012, is a set of measures designed to revitalize and balance commercial and residential activity, specific to each separate city neighborhood making up the isthmus.
The zoning code changes in January 2013 did not zone the West Main Street and Doty Street area as fully commercial, Ald. Mike Verveer, District 4, said.
"It was a multi-year, lengthy, deliberative process to rezone a single parcel," Verveer said. "The previous zoning code dated until 1966.”
Though Delta Properties does not have a specific plan with the new rezoning policies, Bruce Wunnicke, co-director of Delta Properties, testified the classification change from downtown residential to urban mixed use would help to attract prospective businesses and nonprofits.
"Three of the top five startups companies in Madison rented with Delta Properties. We support the Downtown Plan, and we cannot operate without legitimate zoning policies," Wunnicke said.
Some members on the commission were careful to classify this decision to rezone as an exception to the general zoning protocol process.
"I generally don't like approving rezoning without a specific plan in place," said Ald. Ledell Zellers, District 2. "I don't want to set a precedent."
In addition to the rezoning plan, the Plan Commission approved construction of a 189-unit apartment building at East Mifflin Street and North Livingston Street, though its affordability for residents came into question.