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City of Madison, Wis. Eyes Draconian Zoning Ordinances to ‘Adapt to Climate Change’

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Jeff Poor
Business & Media Institute
Thursday, Jan 15, 2009

Call this a case of liberalism via central planning gone wild.

In one of the most politically left-of-center cities east of Berkeley, Calif., ideas put forth at city hall in Madison, Wis. would dramatically limit free enterprise and personal liberty, all in the name of environmental sustainability.

According to the “Broad Strategies” section of a meeting agenda recently posted on the City of Madison Web site, an ordinance being considered would force city zoning to account for and mitigate climate change:

10. Zoning should adapt to meet the demands of climate change; use zoning to address or mitigate effects, or adapt to climate change; remove any barriers to mitigating the effects, adapting to climate change (trees, green space, mobility, renewable energy, land use).

Another item in the “Broad Strategies” section has a grim outlook for the future. It includes a proposal that spells out a doomsday scenario – allowing for the city to function should shortages in energy and food occur:


  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t

11. Write the code to allow the city to function when automobile travel will be severely limited and oil-related products, including food and heating fuel, become prohibitively expensive because of the scarcity and high-cost of fuel.

Other proposals throughout the document would push for use of alternative energies (solar, geothermal and wind), conservation, electric cars and urban agriculture. Other more Draconian regulations throughout the document would:

  • Limit waterfront development in the name of water sustainability,
  • Require two trees to be planted if one is removed from your property
  • Limit the “number/density of fast food outlets and drive-through windows” in the name of public health
  • Discourage individual parking options to promote public transportation usag



Madison is the state of Wisconsin’s capital and home of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With a very low industrial base and few blue-collar workers, it has a reputation for being politically liberal, based on a high concentration of government employees, academics and students within its city limits.




This article was posted: Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 5:45 am

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