December 15, 2019

Residents speak about local zoning concerns - Daily Leader Extra : Local News

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Residents speak about local zoning concerns

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Posted: Wednesday, November 20, 2019 5:04 pm

Two Madison residents who live in the city's historical district spoke to city commissioners on Monday about zoning issues and changes that some owners of single-family homes in the neighborhood would prefer to see enacted by Madison officials.

During their Nov. 12 meeting, the Madison City Commissioners heard the first readings of changes to municipal zoning laws that would add to regulations concerning duplex dwellings and congregate living.

A Brookings developer is currently working on a project to build duplex dwellings with congregate-living facilities on two lots located near Dakota State University. The duplexes, which are located in Madison's historical district, are designed with separate sleeping areas; however, residents also have some communal living areas in the buildings.

When the developer, Opel Properties of Brookings, initially introduced the idea of building multi-residential housing units on the lots, neighbors attended city meetings and spoke about their concerns that new multi-residential housing would increase the population density and exacerbate parking problems.

The previous single-family, home-style residences on the lots were rented as student housing. In rebuilding on the properties, the developers were proposing student housing, constructed in duplex buildings, for dozens of people.

Bob Sahr, a neighbor, spoke to the commissioners and outlined four points for consideration. Sahr's initial point centered on the city changing its limit of allowing six unrelated adults living in one dwelling to a maximum of three unrelated adults living in a single dwelling.

According to Sahr, the six-person limit would lead to high-density housing that didn't "fit" into the character of Madison's historical district. He pointed out that other cities had enacted three-adult limits.

For his second point, Sahr asked city officials to remove the "split-zoning" enacted on several blocks of N. Egan Ave. near DSU. Sahr pointed out that the east side of several blocks are designated R-60 (zones that include duplex housing) while the west sides are designated R-90 (zones that include single-family residences).

His third point dealt with the ability in the new zoning rules, through a conditional-use permit, for a developer to build up to four congregate dwellings on a lot. That possibility also led to concerns about increased population density in certain Madison neighborhoods.

Sahr's fourth point supported expanded parking requirements so that developers building multi-residential housing -- not family housing -- would provide at least one off-street, vehicle parking space per sleeping area or bedroom.

Tim Tucker, another neighborhood resident, also spoke to the commissioners about enacting a "three unrelated adults" limit on residential housing and ensuring that developers provide enough off-street parking for residents' vehicles. Tucker said that when classes are in session, DSU-related vehicles already fill street parking in the neighborhood.

According to Tucker, people can equate congregate housing with high-density housing where residents are basically renting a room. He proposed that city officials allow congregate-living residences to develop in high-density population areas. Tucker added that for high-density housing in communities, "...typically the city moves that out to the edges."

The city commissioners were scheduled to hear the second readings of changes to zoning ordinances and hold a public hearing during their Nov. 25 meeting. After the second reading, the commissioners can consider approving the changes.

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