City Defers Decision on Edgewood Campus Master Plan
After many hours of public testimony from members of the Vilas and Edgewood neighborhoods and other city residents who use Lake Wingra, the Arboretum and the two city parks next to the Edgewood campus, the Plan Commission voted on August 26 to defer its decision on Edgewood’s request for early termination of its Master Plan.
The ten-year Master Plan, approved by the city in 2014 and incorporated as part of its zoning code, is a finely-crafted and negotiated contract between the neighborhoods and the 55-acre campus that codifies agreements covering everything from environmental protections to new construction to land use.
Without a Master Plan, surrounding homes and businesses and some of Madison's most beloved public lands would lose essential rights and protections. That is why the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association, the Vilas Park Neighborhood Association, the Greenbush Neighborhood Association, and members of the Friends of Lake Wingra as well as dozens of city residents turned out Monday to ask the Plan Commission to hold Edgewood to its commitments and to use established processes to amend the Master Plan if it wants to make any changes.
We have faith in the Plan Commission and the process that has served Madison so well and earned it a national reputation as one of the most livable cities in the nation. By deciding to defer the matter to its October 14 meeting, it appears the Plan Commission is focusing on the city's zoning code and standards, and not on the bullying tactics of an institution threatening religious discrimination if it is not allowed to do whatever it wants with its land regardless of the impact on its surroundings.
The entire city should be grateful for the Plan Commission’s exercise of restraint and deliberation. Giving in to Edgewood's threat – that it will pursue the religious discrimination lawsuit it filed last week in federal court against the city if it isn't allowed to walk away from the agreements spelled out in the Master Plan and build a football stadium – would set a dangerous precedent for public policy-making.
The Plan Commission or city should not create a mechanism for Edgewood to play games on its field, unless such a solution has been developed in true partnership with neighbors. There is room in the current process for Edgewood to amend its Master Plan to accomplish this. There is no need for Edgewood to exit the Master Plan or to sue the city to achieve this goal.
About No New Stadium
No New Stadium is a grassroots organization of hundreds of neighbors who oppose Edgewood High School’s proposal to build an outdoor stadium with lights and amplified sound on its Monroe Street campus. The group was formed in October 2018. Learn more at nonewstadium.org .
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July 11- After 6 hours of testimony and deliberation the ZBA voted 4-0 with the City . Edgewood High School cannot play games on the practice field. Your contributions made the difference – our attorney's arguments were woven throughout testimony and questions. We stood up for neighborhoods and natural areas against a large entity represented by three law firms. THANK YOU to everyone who showed up, spoke out and supported No New Stadium!
Recognizing that we are just a grassroots organization, our high-powered legal firm has agreed to a payment plan with reasonable terms to finish paying our outstanding legal bills. We have achieved so much with your support. Please donate to No New Stadium.
No New Stadium members have been hard at work on behalf of our neighborhood since last October, researching, strategizing and advocating to preserve its residential character and to hold Edgewood High School to the City’s zoning code. The steering committee has met every week for the past six months. Our members have invested hundreds of hours and their skills and expertise in an effort to counter Edgewood’s paid lobbyists and legal counsel.
· funding an independent sound study that proved the negative impacts of noise on adjacent properties and deeper into the neighborhood. It showed that stadium noise would exceed City regulations and cannot be adequately controlled. Our findings prompted EHS to perform a sound study of its own. This study confirmed that even small crowds would create noise in excess of City ordinances. Such noise could be partially mitigated by building a wall, 26’ high at minimum, on the Monroe and Woodrow sides of the field; even then, noise levels would be at/above City limits.
· developing a presentation of the technical issues for a lay audience, to ensure the members of the Plan Commission and others understand the harms that EHS’s proposal would inflict on the neighborhood.
· educating City staff on EHS’s intent to build a stadium via administrative means, bypassing the public process. This resulted in the City rescinding a permit to install lights on the field.
· uncovering numerous misrepresentations made by EHS to the City, including the fact that EHS publicly claimed the field was for practices, whilst simultaneously negotiating with the Goodman Foundation to expand use of the field beyond the approved zoning specifications.
· documenting Edgewood’s repeated violations of the City’s zoning code. We are submitting evidence to the City every time a game is played illegally on the field. This has led the Planning Department to issue notices of violation that require EHS to stop playing games and seek to amend their Master Plan through the Plan Commission.
Recently, anticipating that EHS would appeal their zoning violation and/or go back to the Plan Commission to seek an amendment to their Master Plan to allow games to be played on the field, the Steering Committee decided to retain legal counsel.
As committed as we are, the time has come to counter Edgewood’s paid counsel and lobbyists with our own professional counsel.
After a thorough vetting process, we retained a prominent Madison firm with significant experience in municipal law to research the neighborhood’s interests, developing a legal and policy strategy to protect the residential character of our neighborhood from the negative impacts of noise, light and associated effects of a broader use of the field than the current approved use allows.
Our attorneys have been researching, developing and executing a strategy to advance our position through legal and policy channels. Their assistance led to a successful outcome at the hearing of the Zoning Board of Appeals on July 11, 2019.
We need your help NOW – legal help is expensive. We have invested a great deal of our time, our talents and our resources. We need to raise funds to ensure we can continue to retain counsel as EHS seeks to make a legal case for expanding the field’s use. To date we have raised over $17,000, including generous contributions from each steering committee member. Please consider making a donation to our legal defense fund.
Please help. Time is of the essence. Every dollar counts.
Grassroots organization, No New Stadium
Co-Treasurer of NNS, Kay Gabriel
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- Tanya Cunningham
Fundraising team: No New Stadium (3)
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