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Legislator: Extend Capitol height limit

Wisconsin State Capitol and downtown Madison skyline as seen from the upper floors of the Van Hise Building on the campus of UW-Madison. A wind child warning is in effect until noon. Temperatures are in double digits below zero across the state. Sparta's temperature is 27 below, without the wind chill. In Antigo, it's 22 below and Kenosha is 12 below. (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, John Hart)

Sen. Fred Risser plans to introduce a bill that would enlarge building height restrictions around the state Capitol to two miles. (AP Photo/Wisconsin State Journal, John Hart)

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin legislator wants to expand height restrictions on Madison buildings to protect views of the state Capitol.

Current state law prohibits any building within a one-mile radius of the Capitol from being taller than the base of the Capitol’s dome. The Wisconsin State Journal reported Tuesday that Sen. Fred Risser, a Madison Democrat, plans to introduce a bill that would enlarge that zone to two miles.

The new zone would include the UW-Madison campus. Three existing campus buildings — Van Hise Hall, the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Science Building and the Engineering Research Building — would violate the new restrictions but would be exempt.

Risser was one of the authors of the 1989 legislation that created the current buffer zone. He told the State Journal a spate of recent building projects prompted him to draft the expansion.

Madison city officials said they’re not aware of any current or planned building construction that would interfere with the view of the Capitol. Carole Schaeffer, executive director for Smart Growth Madison, called the buffer zone expansion overkill.

“I don’t see how a building two miles away is going to interfere with the view of the Capitol,” she told the State Journal.

Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsj

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