Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is pleased with how it all turned out: "I got less resistance than I thought I would."
The mayor is referring to the recent unanimous passage of his Northeast Neighborhood plan, which includes design features aimed at achieving a 25% reduction in the use of vehicles, water and energy. As envisioned, it would be Madison's greenest neighborhood and possibly a national model (see "Mayor Dave's Green Dream," 5/29/08 and "Down With Cars," 7/24/09).
In a recent blog post, Cieslewicz noted that plans for this area and University Research Park II passed "almost unnoticed," presumably because there was little opposition.
In an interview, he explains that the northeast area's developers had hoped to be building by last summer, a goal confounded by his desire to retool the planning. He credits them with showing "a lot of patience" and being open to a greener scheme. He thinks it may be a year or so before building begins, due to the recession.
Wait...they wanted to be building already but now won't break ground for a year? "Developers as a rule are optimistic people," muses the mayor. "In this case, their optimism [in the housing market] proved unwarranted."
The passed plan covers half of a 2,800-acre chunk that will ultimately house 30,000 people. Amendments were added to require the annual collection of data on traffic, water use and energy use, and to remove language calling on the city to market and promote the neigborhood.
Cieslewicz says council members felt "the city shouldn't be involved in the marketing and promotion of specific developments."
Does that mean he can't blog about it? The mayor doesn't miss a beat: "I guess we'll just have to test that idea."