Cnare: 'It's also too early to throw the project out.'
The beleaguered Edgewater Hotel expansion project might get referred once again at next week's postponed Madison Common Council meeting, as Ald. Lauren Cnare seeks to find a compromise.
The Council was expected to consider overturning the Landmark Commission's denial of the project last Tuesday, but the meeting was canceled because of the blizzard.
Cnare expects to introduce a motion referring a vote on the Landmark appeal until the Plan Commission and Urban Design Commission -- which could ask for changes that would make the project more palatable to neighbors who have been fighting it -- take a look at it.
"I fully understand why the Landmarks Commission did what it did because there are rules to follow," Cnare says. "We can disagree whether those rules are silly or not."
"It's really complicated," she adds, "But I'm hopeful we can keep things alive and keep things moving and be respectful to everyone in the process."
Cnare says she's talked to some of her colleagues on the council, some of whom support the idea. But she adds, "What I don't know is whether the referral requires 14 votes."
Overturning the Landmarks Commission vote does require a super-majority two-thirds vote.
Cnare says she respects the concerns many neighbors have of the proposal -- primarily that it is too tall and doesn't fit in with the neighborhood character. She would like to see the project go through a master planning process, because "No building of this size sits by itself."
But she offers this compromise because "It's also too early to throw the project out."
Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway thinks many on the council will welcome a chance for more discussion and debate. "Everyone is frustrated," she says of the council. "We spent a lot of time talking about the library. We had three special meetings on it. We've got nothing on this.... I don't know how much the council as a whole has dug in on it."
Most of the council has been getting bombarded with emails and phone calls on the project. Rhodes-Conway says her constituents are about 60%-40% against it.