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Edgewater appeal gets new life

Paul Snyder
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A group of Madison residents’ appeal of a city commission’s approval of the Edgewater Hotel project is back on the table.

Earlier this month, the residents’ appeal was denied because it lacked enough valid signatures. The residents want the Common Council to overturn the Madison Plan Commission’s March 22 approval of a conditional use permit for the estimated $93 million reconstruction of the Edgewater.

But according to a memo this week to Common Council members from City Attorney Michael May and Assistant City Attorney Katherine Noonan, the appeal was found to be valid based on the mailing list the residents used to collect signatures.

According to the memo, the appeal had been denied because the signatures were evaluated based on a mailing list of affected neighbors compiled by the city in March. But the signatures were collected based on the December mailing list, which the residents were directed to use by the City Clerk’s office.

As a result, the Common Council could consider the appeal at its May 18 meeting.

The Common Council needs a simple majority to consider the appeal, and a two-thirds majority to overturn the Plan Commission decision.

“I’m just glad they’re going to redo it,” Eugene Devitt, chairman of Capitol Neighborhood Inc.’s Mansion Hill Historic District, said of the Common Council’s possible consideration of the appeal. “There are issues that haven’t been looked at.”Neighbors filed the appeal, Devitt said, because the Plan Commission failed to discuss some issues related to building codes, parking, bus traffic and the project’s effect on the surrounding neighborhood.

Hammes Co., Brookfield, proposes a major redevelopment of the Edgewater. The project would include renovation, addition of a nine-story tower, a public plaza area on Lake Mendota and underground parking for about 350 vehicles.

The project is too big for the neighborhood, Devitt said, and does not conform to local building codes.

Alderwoman Lauren Cnare, who is also a member of the Plan Commission, said she made the motion to approve the conditional use permit without going into deeper discussion of some of the neighbors’ concerns. However, she said she stands by the call and will do so if the Common Council revisits it.

“There’s a significant amount of judgment allowed in commission approval,” she said. “I wouldn’t make a motion if I didn’t think the project met what we were looking for.”

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