Madison, WI November 19, 2014–Dane County’s Capital Area Regional Planning Commission (CARPC) last week voted against Fitchburg’s plans for its proposed “Northeast Neighborhood”. According to a story by Capital Times reporter Bryna Godar, the CARPC, by a 6-5 decision, voted down Fitchburg’s request for an urban service area expansion that would have allowed a projected mixed-use residential, commercial, and institutional development on 985.9 acres near Lake Waubesa and its associated wetlands. From the time the project was introduced early this year it has raised concerns and drawn opposition because of its almost certain negative impacts on the Waubesa Wetlands in general and water quality in particular.
Godar’s story appeared November 14, in the Capital Times online, click here for the news story. This blog first reported on the Northeast Neighborhood project (Fitchburg’s Rapid Land Use Expansion Raises Concerns) on February 28, 2014.
The proposed project spans two watersheds, the Nine Springs Creek, and Swan Creek watersheds and would sit northwest (uphill and upstream) of Lake Waubesa and the Waubesa Wetlands. Prominent wetland scientists, including Joy Zedler and Cal DeWitt, both of the UW-Madison, have weighed in against the project because of expected impacts from storm water runoff laden with phosphorous and nitrogen. These nutrients and other pollutants commonly found in storm water (despite engineering assurances that they will be removed by treatment) are known to negatively impact wetlands and water quality.
Godar reported that the CARPC vote does not spell the end of the project because ” . . . the city of Fitchburg can now appeal the decision to the state Department of Natural Resources”, which she writes, has twice before reversed CARPC votes against Fitchburg’s requests for urban service area expansion.