Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Neighborhood group seeks (and fails) to get a CBA requirement attached to rezoning

Neighborhood organizers in the town of Madison, Wisconsin, sought to have a CBA requirement attached to a rezoning petition on Friday night, but they left the meeting agreeing not to oppose the rezoning. The rezoning will allow the development of the $120 million Novation campus, and the developer is hoping to get approvals quickly in order to ensure the retention of tenants.

County officials refused to attach any CBA conditions to the rezoning, explaining that this would be illegal contract zoning. (Contract zoning refers to situations where the zoning authority agrees to grant a rezoning or not based on whether the petitioner agrees to certain conditions. While a rezoning conditioned on the negotiation of a CBA would almost certainly be found to be contract zoning, it has long been settled law in Wisconsin (and elsewhere) that a zoning authority may consider private restrictions on the land when deciding whether or not to rezone property. See State ex rel. Zupancic v. Schimenz, 46 Wis. 2d 22 (1970). So, the neighborhood group should have been pushing the developer to negotiate, rather than pushing the county to force the developer to negotiate.)

By the end of the meeting on Friday, the neighborhood group had agreed not to oppose the rezoning petition, and the developer had promised to engage the neighborhood group in its community development plans. One of the group's primary issues is having a community garden space, and the developer agreed to consider extending the lease on the current garden.

No comments: