1490 Martin Street Appeal Letter, meeting on Thursday at 6:00 at the Town of Madison Town Hall (2120 Fish Hatchery Rd.)
Hand Delivered and Transmitted via Email
June 17, 2014
TO: Renee Schwass, Business Manager/Clerk, Town of Madison
FROM: Travis Myren, Director of Administration, Dane County
RE: Appeal of Building Permit Denial
Dane County intends to purchase the parcel located at 1490 Martin Street in the Town of Madison for the purpose of upgrading the facility and continuing its use as a day resource center for homeless individuals. The facility, known as the Hospitality House, is currently owned and operated by Porchlight, Inc. and has been used as a day center for the homeless for the past 10 years. The facility is zoned C-1. The day resource center use is a permitted use in this zoning classification. The County intends to upgrade the facility to provide a more modern and efficient physical plant as well as a more comprehensive portfolio of services for homeless individuals in our community.
Consistent with the Town’s Building Code, the County sought approval from the Town’s Plan Commission to proceed with alterations to the facility. As a commercial use, issuance of a building permit is contingent on the Plan Commission’s approval of the proposed site plan. On June 10, 2014, the Plan Commission voted to deny the County’s proposed site plan. Denials of building permits that are contingent upon site plan approval may be appealed to the Town Board by filing a notice of appeal with the Town Clerk within ten days of the denial. This letter serves as the County’s appeal of the Plan
The Plan Commission failed to provide specific reasons for the denial other than to seemingly object to the facility’s continued use as a day resource center for the homeless. According to the ordinance, the site plan is necessary to enable the Plan Commission to determine whether the proposed building permit application meets the requirements of the building code ordinance. The Commission’s action made no findings regarding compliance with the building code and is arbitrary and capricious. The County believes all of requirements for Town approval have been met as detailed below.
a. The appropriateness of the site plan and buildings in relation to the physical character of the site and the usage of adjoining land areas.
The County’s proposal does not change the physical character of the site in any material way. The County proposes moving the primary entrance of the facility from the front of building facing Martin Street to the side of the building. This is intended to minimize gatherings of people along Martin Street. The County would also clear the site of existing debris. Screening of the adjoining properties is already in place and would not be altered.
b. The layout of the site with regard to entrances and exits to public streets; the arrangement and improvement of interior roadways; the location, adequacy and improvement of areas for parking and for loading and unloading; and shall, in this connection, satisfy itself that the traffic pattern generated by the proposed construction or use shall be developed in a manner consistent with the safety of residents and the community, and the applicant shall so design the construction or use as to minimize any traffic hazard created thereby.
The County’s proposal does not change the layout of the site with regard to traffic entrances, interior roadways, parking, or traffic pattern. The County expects most guests will arrive using a van service or public transportation, thereby minimizing traffic volume and potential traffic hazards.
c. The adequacy of the proposed water supply, drainage facilities, and sanitary and waste disposal.
The County’s proposal satisfies all of the concerns related to the water supply, drainage facilities, and sanitary and waste disposal. The facility currently receives water service from the Lake Forest Water Cooperative. The Cooperative and the Town have raised concerns about the adequacy of this service. As a result, the County proposes extending City water service to the facility. This extension will also allow the County to relieve the Fire Chief’s concern about adding a sprinkler system for fire suppression. With City water service, the County would install a sprinkler system.
The County’s proposal would also improve drainage around the facility by more efficiently moving storm water around the building and into existing drainage systems.
Finally, Town staff raised a concern about the ability of the Town’s lift station to handle any additional waste stream that may be generated by this facility. The County’s proposal adds a grinder pump that would pump sewage directly into a gravity main and avoid impacting the Town’s lift station entirely.
d. The landscaping and appearance of the completed site. The Plan Commission may require that those portions of all front, rear and side yards not used for off-street parking shall be attractively planted with trees, shrubs, plants or grass lawns, and that the site be effectively screened so as not to impair the value of adjacent properties nor impair the intent or purposes of this Section.
The County is not aware of any concerns related to landscaping and physical appearance of the site. As mentioned above, the site will be cleared of debris. The County will also clear the overgrown vegetation from behind the facility in order to place a concrete pad there to house an air handling unit that is currently on the roof. Finally, the parking lot will be repaired and repaved.
The Town ordinance also requires that if municipal services or utilities are extended as part of the site plan, the Town Board shall enter into an agreement with the applicant regarding the development of such facilities. The County is prepared to fully and actively engage in those discussions as soon as possible.
I hope this letter clarifies how the County’s site plan is compliant with all of the requirements contained in the Town’s Building Code ordinance. If you or other Town staff or officials have any questions prior to the Town Board’s consideration of this appeal, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Cc: Dave Gault, Assistant Corporation Counsel
Rick Rose, Public Works Director, Town of Madison
Josh Wescott, Chief of Staff to the County Executive
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