Proposal for Apartments and Retail at 3414 Monroe St. Rejected by Landmarks Commission–Again

The Madison Landmarks Commission rejected, for the second time, a proposal to build new apartments and retail at 3414 Monroe Street, according to a story in the Wisconsin State Journal.  The commission ruled Monday night (03.02.15) that the proposed 4-story, 41,000 square foot project at the corner of Glenway Street and Monroe Street would be not be suitable for the neighborhood in general, and in particular, would negatively impact “the historic integrity” of the adjacent historic Plough Inn, which now houses the Arbor House, an environmental inn.

For more background on the proposed apartment/retail construction project see this article in the Winter 2014 issue of the Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association (DMNA) newsletter, The Hornblower.

Next Steps

The Landmarks Commission is advisory to the City Plan Commission which will take up the 3414 Monroe Street proposal at its meeting on Monday March 9, 2015 at 5:30 pm in Room 201 of the City-County Building.  Click here for agenda and location of the Plan Commission meeting.

Environmental Concerns Raised by the Proposed Project

Life in the Dudgeon-Monroe neighborhood is enhanced by its parks, its springs, its prairies and oak savannas, and by Lake Wingra and the wetlands that surround it.  These gifts of nature make up our land and water community.  As members of this land and water community we know that its health begins upstream and we understand that we have the responsibility to use and protect these natural gems for future generations.

Springs and Groundwater

"Council Spring"  below the Kenneth Jensen Wheeler Council Ring on the north side of Lake Wingra.  Photo by Stephen B. Glass.

“Council Spring” below the Kenneth Jensen Wheeler Council Ring on the north side of Lake Wingra. Photo by Stephen B. Glass.

However, one concern is that disruption of our springs and negative impacts on shared groundwater are almost certain results of this proposed project.  For example, when the foundation for the building that houses the Gates and Brovi restaurant, just steps away across Glenway Street from the project in question, was excavated recently, springs and groundwater veins were hit right away and the contractor was forced to pump precious groundwater into the storm sewer so construction could move ahead.

Responsible Use and Protection is Required

The natural environment along Monroe Street is noted and valued for its many springs and groundwater seeps–natural gifts that have historic and cultural value.  Not only that, springs and groundwater supply about 35% of Lake Wingra’s water.

Because it is no secret that groundwater is close to the soil surface along Monroe Street and in the Arboretum, the Plan Commission should consider any possible negative impacts (unintended or not) of this proposed construction project on our land and water community.



About Steve Glass

The blogger is a restoration ecologist, Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (#0093 SER) and writer living in the Midwestern United States.
This entry was posted in Dudgeon-Monroe Neighborhood Association, Groundwater, Springs and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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