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Neighbors invited to weigh in on E. Wash apartment project
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Neighbors invited to weigh in on E. Wash apartment project

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An architectural rendering of The Continental, a 10-story apartment building slated for 414 E. Washington Ave.

A neighborhood meeting has been scheduled for Oct. 1 to involve area residents in a discussion about a revised proposal to build a nine-story apartment building on 414 E. Washington Avenue. 

LZ Ventures’ proposal is a revised submission after its first attempt to develop the parcels of land around the old Klinke Cleaners on East Washington Avenue was denied by the Plan Commission in August. 

The revised proposal is to demolish seven existing structures from 402-414 E. Washington Ave., and build a nine-story apartment building with 148 living units and 1,226 square feet of commercial space. The previous proposal called for a 10-story building with 156 units, which area residents said would be too large and out of scale with the surrounding area. 

Even though it is a revised submission, LZ Ventures is essentially starting the approval process over again from scratch. So, at the October 1 meeting, there will be a new Steering Committee formed. The Steering Committee will collaborate with LZ Ventures’ development team and provide feedback on how they feel the proposal integrates with the James Madison Park Neighborhood.

In the previous iteration of the proposal, the Steering Committee wrote letters to the Plan Commission and Urban Design Commission in opposition to the project. Members felt that it was too large and tall, for the most part, and inconsistent with other buildings in the area. The development team will also have to make brand new presentations before the Urban Design Commission and the Plan Commission. 

LZ Ventures is able to turn around and deliver revised submissions as many times as they would like, because they own the parcels of land from 401-414 E. Washington Ave., unless the Plan Commission places the proposal “On file” (which is different from “On file without prejudice”) in which case they would have to wait a year to come back. 

Because the process is technically starting over again, people such as the district’s Alder, Patrick Heck, and former Steering Committee Chair Bob Klebba say it’s too early to know if things will be different this time around. 

Klebba said that neighborhood sentiment needs to be gauged about the new specifications before he is comfortable offering an opinion about it. Heck said that it will be hard to predict how the meeting will unfold. 

“I can imagine that most will feel the same, some might begrudgingly say it is better,” Heck said while adding that there “could also be some new voices involved since the rejected proposal got a lot of publicity.”

There will also be a neighborhood meeting via Zoom on Wednesday, September 23, at 6:30 p.m. hosted by Alder Zachary Henak to discuss a proposal for a new apartment building at 4604 Hammersley Road. The meeting will include Tom Ripple, the developer, as well as representatives from City of Madison Planning, and Traffic Engineering. The project is currently proposed to be a three-story, 53-unit apartment building with 1,722 square feet of commercial space.

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