County

Mon
08
Mar
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People’s Maps Commission Seeks Public Comment  

WISCONSIN–The People’s Maps Commission will hold a virtual public hearing for the 2nd Congressional on Thursday, March 11, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. to seek public input on the upcoming redistricting of legislative maps. All Wisconsin residents are encouraged to watch and participate. 

The hearing is one in a series of at least eight meetings, one for each one of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts. The virtual public hearing will include testimony from subject matter experts and also provide Wisconsinites the opportunity to express how they have been affected by legislative redistricting and share their ideas for how Wisconsin can work together to achieve fair maps.        

Fri
05
Mar
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AMPAC Reviews Final Airport Plan

MIDDLETON–The Airport Master Plan Advisory Committee (AMPAC) last week completed a review of the document’s final chapter in preparation for a public presentation at a date to be announced.

In a nearly 5.5 hour discussion of narrowing alternatives to lengthening or realigning runways and adding hangers, AMPAC reiterated its opposition to a longer runway that would accommodate more jets.

The east-west runway could be lengthen by 440 feet to the west at most and still keep the runway protection zone on the airport property, said Greg Stern of Mead & Hunt, project director. 

A 1,440-feet extension would satisfy insurance requirements for business-type jet operations during slippery conditions, but navigation easements would have to be acquired for a runway protection zone for the longer landing strip, Stern said.

Fri
05
Mar
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Plan Commission Reviews Development Concepts Proposals

MIDDLETON–The Middleton Plan Commission reviewed two conceptual proposals for mixed-use, multi-family, residential-commercial redevelopment projects, granting concept approval for a four story, 81-unit building on University Avenue and referring a proposal from The Bruce Company to redevelop its Parmenter Street location into a multi-phase, multi-building project with up to 600 units.

Planning and Zoning Administrator Mark Opitz said the developer Prime Urban Properties is requesting feedback from the plan commission for a proposal which calls for redeveloping two buildings at 6230 and 6236 University Avenue near the intersection with Allen Boulevard. The site currently has a multi-tenant building with a Milio’s Sandwiches, Queen’s Way Laundry laundromat and a former tattoo shop and another building formerly a Mexican Restaurant. 

Sat
27
Feb
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Town Discusses Lead from Airplane Emissions

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–Middleton Municipal Airport-Morey Field remains Dane County’s second biggest source of lead emissions and the Middleton Town Board last week heard about its harmful effects on people.

“Lead in the air is the motherlode of lead exposure in the human body,” said Dr. Beth Neary, a Clinical Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UW-Madison.

Neary went on to say that there is no safe level of lead in the blood system; that lead is a neuro toxin that damages the developing brain permanently, leading to lower IQ scores in children; lead is toxic to all cells and that society pays a deep cost for each child who is lead poisoned.

Incidents of lead poisoning in children have decreased since unleaded gasoline became universally available in 1976. Twenty years later, the Clean Air Act banned the use leaded gasoline in new vehicles other than aircraft, racing cars, farm equipment, and marine engines.

Thu
04
Feb
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Committee of the Whole Meets for Annual Retreat

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton Committee of the Whole (COW), made up of the Common Council and Plan Commission, met for its annual retreat Jan. 30 to review the city’s ongoing major projects, TIF finance model, state of the real estate market and planning goals and strategies. 

Planning and Zoning Administrator Mark Opitz said work on the airport master plan is resuming and will now include an environmental setting chapter which will review ways to reduce aircraft noise and improve air quality for residents living nearby. The city will survey city and town residents to review feedback. Once that is complete an open house can be scheduled, Opitz said. The goal is to complete the master plan by summer.

The North Mendota Trail long Century Avenue has remaining work, Opitz said, but he is confident the project can be completed within the $1.4 million budget. Once completed the trail will extend from Branch Street to the Highland Way traffic signals.

Mon
01
Feb
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Few Changes Foreseen for Pleasant View Road Design

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–Widening Pleasant View Road will bring drastic changes for some property owners and project engineers held out little hope of the design being tweaked to minimize its impacts.

Property owners on the west side of the road, north of Pleasant View Golf Course, to the intersection with USH 14 have been most vocal about restrictive access the widening will create and the expense they will be assessed.

Northwestern Stone’s owner, Richard Bakken, has said that putting a roundabout at the Quarry Road intersection will be difficult for his oversized equipment to navigate.  

The roundabout’s radius will be tricky for the lowboy trailer to maneuver if it dog tracks or, swings wider through a turn, and it has only eight inches ground clearance, said Bakken during a town of Middleton Town Board meeting last week.

Mon
25
Jan
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Plan Commission Holds Public Hearing on Comprehensive Plan, Defers Twin Sunset Duplex Proposal

MIDDLETON–The City of Middleton Plan Commission held its final public hearing for the city’s revised comprehensive plan which has been working through various public hearings and committees since 2019 when the plan commission approved a complete overhaul.

More than a dozen people spoke or submitted comments regarding various aspects of the comprehensive plan. 

Resident Robert Owen said the transportation section should address electric vehicle infrastructure and that the airport should not be exempt from reducing carbon emissions as the city moves toward its sustainability goals. Owen suggested the city create a low interest loan program for low-income residents to weatherize and make their homes more energy efficient. He added he would also like to see a plan to move away from burning natural gas for energy. 

Mon
25
Jan
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Assembly Off to Rough Start

MIDDLETON–The Wisconsin State Assembly seemed to get off to a rough start last week after Representative Treig Pronschinske (R-Mondovi), chair of the Assembly Committee on Sporting Heritage, Small Business and Rural Issues called for in person hearings offering no remote option and Assembly Speaker Robyn Vos refused to pass a state COVID-19 bill after Gov. Tony Evers and the Wisconsin State Senate reached a compromise.

Dianne Hesselbein (D-Middleton), who represent the 79th Assembly District said she saw no reason that she should have to appear in person during the pandemic when the Senate is allowing a call in option. She said this inhibited assembly members’ ability to ask questions and added that those that appear in person were not wearing masks, further endangering their colleagues. 

“I had to watch the hearing on Wisconsin Eye,” Hesselbein stated.

Thu
14
Jan
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Airport Commission Discusses Noise Complaints

MIDDLETON–The Middleton Airport Commission chairman held out little hope for reduced airplane noise to neighbors of the Middleton Municipal Airport-Morey Field who frequently complain about low, loud flights over their homes.

“Airplanes will operate in this area, that’s just a fact I can’t apologize for. There’s not much anybody can do as long as pilots are operating legally,” Chairman John Hallick said during a commission meeting last week.

“All of us have busted altitude,” said Hallick, a pilot, explaining why some flights drop below approved elevations.

The city receives dozens of noise complaints monthly prompting the commission to review the online complaint form and locate the areas of concern. Gary Keyes, Town of Middleton, who spoke at the beginning of the meeting, made a typical comment about the overflight frequency and decibel level the planes create not being addressed in the complaint process.

Mon
11
Jan
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Town Expects Budget to be Back in Black

TOWN OF MIDDLETON–The Town of Middleton will not need to draw on its cash reserves to finish the 2020 budget year, Treasurer Megan Hughes told the town board Monday night.

The 2020 budget approved in late 2019, allocated $270,981 from cash reserves “to backfill” an income deficit caused by projected expenses exceeding revenue, said then Town Administrator Greg DiMicelli at the time.

Hughes reported on finances only through Nov. 30 so, December expenses and revenue still have to be totaled, and the audit won’t begin until February. However, it appears that trend of using cash reserves to balance the budget won’t occur in 2019, Hughes said.

“We won’t be touching our reserves this year (2019) because we didn’t have some the expenses we expected,” she added.

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