ACTION NEEDED: Messner Property Use for Affordable Housing (UPDATED)

Posted January 8th, 2018 @ 9:08 AM by

What happened?!?!? The county’s process for making decisions about who gets the RFPs really needs review. You’ve heard me say it before, but this time its insane! The county board passed a resolution (2016 RES-497) about a process – the process wasn’t followed – including leaving out the alder and county board supervisor from the project area. There were 7 applicants, but we can’t see their proposals (I’m working on it, but I don’t even know who they all are) and again, it was announced as if its a done deal with no public input and as if it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. It’s the county tho, so its not really a surprise.

The resolution the county board passed clearly says the following:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the RFP evaluation team include the following: a representative from the Tenney Lapham Neighborhood Association, City of Madison Community Development Staff, Dane County Affordable Housing Development Fund Staff, District 2 City Alder, and the District 2 County Supervisor; and

OOOPS – wrong version of the resolution – try this one!

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board recommends that the RFP evaluation team include the following: one representative from the Tenney Lapham Neighborhood Association, a City of Madison representative as designated by the Mayor, Dane County Affordable Housing Development Fund Staff, and the District 2 County Supervisor; and

I don’t really know who was on the team that decided, because nothing was public, but I know who wasn’t.
– The City of Madison Community Development staff said they asked to be on the committee but weren’t.
– My Alder – from the 2nd District where the project is – wasn’t on the committee.
– My County Board Supervisor – from the 2nd District where the project is – wasn’t on the committee.

Let me just say, when my alder and my county board supervisor are left out of the process, that means me and all my neighbors are also denied that representation.

And, when the developer says in their proposal that they are expecting $1M from the city – shouldn’t the city be included? The resolution says “that the county shall seek to partner with the City of Madison on the development project.” That’s one hell of a partnership.

If I was on the county board and we were passing resolutions that just get ignored, I’d be throwing a fit and making sure everyone knew. Instead, the county board just lets it happen. What is the point of having a county board work on things if they just roll over and let County Executive Joe Parisi run the show? What the hell is going on? I’d be livid.

The county board is infamous for not sharing information. This is no exception. If you look in legistar to get more information on the project you will see this:
1. The resolution naming Gorman and Company as the developer
2. The fiscal note
3. Gorman and Company’s Response
So, if you were a county board supervisor, given this information, how would you vote? Where are the other 6 proposals? Who were they? What did their projects look like and who are they proposing to serve?

I facebooked or blogged or something about an update I heard on the Messner project and a developer contacted me and asked me how I knew. Because they hadn’t been contacted. When I started contacting the developers that I knew submitted proposals – one of them replied and said that they were in the top three, but they read the announcement in the paper. They were not happy.

They are some kind of joke.

They “partner” with the city by choosing a proposal that requires $1M in funding from the city, by not even including the staff or alder in the process.

They “partner” with the developers by not communicating with them.

The Gorman Proposal is kind of thin on details. Its got a lot of information, but really you only need to read the following pages to get the bulk of what little information is there: 3-6, 66-68 and look at the pictures on pages 71-73. I immediately had the following questions:
1. There is no guarantee on the rents – why not
2. The tenant selection plan have very few details, why?
3. Who so little green space for families and so much surface parking?
4. Why is the housing only affordable for 30 years?
5. How will veterans be prioritized? And what if you can’t find enough veteran families?
6. Is this even a good model? Is it good that this is the “largest in the country”?
7. Why veteran families? What is the need in our community?

1. Email the county board and Joe Parisi ( and ask any or all of the following questions:
a. Why were our elected representatives and the City of Madison left out of the process?
b. Who were the other applicants and where are their applications?
c. Why was Gorman chosen over the others?
d. Any concerns you might have about the proposal?

2. Attend the Personnel and Finance Committee meeting tonight and speak in the Public Comment for items not on the agenda sections and ask these questions same questions and ask for this to be referred to the Homeless Issues Committee and the Health and Human Needs Committee.

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