August 28, 2019
Edgewood Master Plan decision delayed
For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Catherine Jagoe
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 September 16 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.