After being denied the ability to host sports competitions, Edgewood High School is asking Madison to terminate the master plan for the campus, which would open up the possibility of playing games and matches on its field.
The City Council will decide whether to repeal the master plan. The city says the plan prohibits the private Catholic school from hosting games or matches on the Goodman Athletic Complex, a position upheld by the Zoning Board of Appeals last month.
An ordinance change repealing the master plan will be introduced to the City Council on Tuesday. It is expected to go before the Plan Commission and return to the council in early September.
Ald. Tag Evers, who represents the Near West Side district that includes Edgewood, opposes the repeal of the master plan, saying the school should go through an amendment process to the master plan if it wants to host competitions.
“My concern is that when you do away with (the master plan), that we are in some ways undermining an important process,” he said.
Evers also took issue with the school wanting to step away from a plan it entered into voluntarily after he said neighborhood residents spent “countless hours” negotiating and providing feedback on the plan before it was approved in 2014.
No New Stadium — a group of neighborhood residents opposed to Edgewood’s proposal to add lights and a sound system to the field — said in a statement the group “unequivocally opposes” a repeal.
“By allowing Edgewood to abandon this agreement now, because it wants something that is not in the master plan, the city would be discouraging future trust by all Madison residents in the city input process,” the statement said.
Matt Lee, an attorney representing Edgewood, cited a letter from City Attorney Michael May that the school was invited by the city to terminate the master plan. He said Edgewood is seeking equal treatment for its sports complex that other high schools receive.
On July 11, the zoning board sided with the city and zoning administrator Matt Tucker’s reading of the master plan that only physical education classes and practices can be held on the field. Edgewood officials disagreed with that position, arguing the school has a right to host competitions and has been doing such since 1927.
This spring, Edgewood High School held soccer matches on the field, resulting in the city issuing notices for ordinance violations that the school then appealed to the board.
After the appeal was denied, the school’s president, Michael Elliott, said Edgewood officials intended to explore further options, including having the school “walk away” from the plan now or wait until it expires, which is set to happen in 2025.
On Monday, the presidents of Edgewood High School, Edgewood College and Edgewood Campus School sent a letter to Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway and the city’s planning director requesting the master plan be repealed. At their request, Rhodes-Conway is sponsoring the ordinance change to repeal the master plan.
The repeal would mean Edgewood loses the rights to future development activities included in the master plan. Instead, the school would have to go through an approval process for further developments that are larger than 4,000 square feet.
“Rather than litigate this disagreement, Edgewood has agreed to forgo the many benefits of the master plan and consent to the mayor sponsoring an ordinance that would terminate the master plan before it expires,” Lee said in an email.
The effort to hold athletic competitions also follows recent interest by the school to add more seating, lighting and a sound system to the field — a plan that has faced stiff opposition from some neighbors.