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Garver Feed Mill

Madison's City Council approved a development agreement Tuesday, as well as a $1.82 million grant and $1.6 million in soil remediation costs, for the redevelopment of the Garver Feed Mill.

After several delays in the redevelopment of the Garver Feed Mill, the Madison City Council adopted an agreement late Tuesday for a private developer to renovate the East Side building and transform the surrounding property.

Just before midnight, the council voted 17-2 to approve a development agreement with Baum Development for its $19.8 million plan to turn the crumbling building into an artisan food production facility and build up to 50 “microlodging” units on the surrounding five acres that will be available for short-term rental.

As part of the adoption, the council agreed to borrow an additional $1.6 million for soil remediation efforts at the Garver property, 109 S. Fair Oaks Ave., and provide an already budgeted $1.82 million grant for the project.

Fifteen votes were needed to pass the $1.6 million in additional borrowing.

Alds. David Ahrens and Samba Baldeh voted against the project.

The site is contaminated with some petroleum and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). Several areas of the property will need to have soil capped or removed, and clean topsoil will also be needed to be brought in.

Ahrens, who has consistently opposed the remediation funds, said the city could save money by not going with a plan that intends to excavate as much soil, speculating the price for cleaning up the ground could keep “rolling and rolling.”

Ald. Mark Clear said it was “disappointing” that remediation efforts were not included in the project’s budget but urged members to move it forward.

Under the agreement, the city will sell the Garver Feed Mill building to Baum but retain the land it has held for 20 years under a ground lease. The city is responsible for the cleanup of the soil; Baum is responsible for the building, said Dan Rolfs, city community development project manager.

Parking restrictions

on mopeds approved

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The City Council also passed a proposal early Wednesday morning to restrict moped parking on pedestrian rights-of-way.

Under a proposal by Ald. Ledell Zellers, drivers will be barred citywide from parking mopeds on public sidewalks and terraces, the area between a sidewalk and the curb. The restrictions will take effect Jan. 1, and a violation carries a $60 fine. Sponsors of the plan, including Alds. Mike Verveer, Zach Wood and Rebecca Kemble and Mayor Paul Soglin, say it’ll reduce clutter, improve pedestrian safety and open up space for bicycle parking.

The plan passed on a voice vote.

“We do have a moped parking problem,” Zellers said. “I really don’t think the city should be subsidizing private developers by providing free moped parking on the public terrace.”

Opponents argue they should be allowed to park on sidewalks or terraces as long as the mopeds don’t impede pedestrian traffic, and many drivers purchase the vehicle to avoid the cost of parking a car Downtown.

Ahrens said the restrictions should be tailored to specific council districts near Downtown or a permit fee should be established to allow moped drivers to park on city terraces.

“What we have is an entire citywide system going to be created to address a very specific problem,” he said.

An educational campaign to inform people where they can legally park on public property will be undertaken.

Exceptions are included in the parking restrictions.

Property owners will be able to establish designated moped parking areas on paved city terraces. Property owners will need to create parking areas at their own expense and receive a sign-off by the city that the parking doesn’t impede pedestrian and vehicle traffic, bus stops, loading zones or on-street visibility.

Anyone will be allowed to park there free of charge.

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