Dakota State University puts residence hall in Madison neighborhood, neighbors upset

Published: Jul. 29, 2019 at 6:16 PM CDT
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Dakota State University will open a brand new residence hall this upcoming fall. People who live in the area aren't happy about a university building in a neighborhood, though.

People in the neighborhood feel like Dakota State University isn't hearing what they have to say. 23 upper level students will move in so they're concerned it will congest the area more than it already is and create safety issues for their children.

For the last four weeks the city of Madison has been working with DSU on how they're going to provide parking for their new residence hall, but in a statement DSU said they've asked the city for a permit to occupy the city's right of way.

The university would create 16 diagonal parking spots and five additional in the alley.

"Our main concern is safety for the kids. As of right now, what I’m hearing it's probably a no to put the parking in there," Mayor of Madison, Marshall Dennert said.

Steve Hofer lives across the street from the residence hall and he's also concerned for the safety of children.

He said the university isn't following the city of Madison’s zoning code.

"Which is to have 23 parking spaces for the 23 students. Even with the proposal that they put forth there's not 23 spots," Neighbor, Steve Hofer said.

He’s spoken with families and they said their homes are too close to the dorm. They've offered to sell them to DSU to help solve the problem, but the university didn't take the offer.

"The college hasn't been forthcoming in their plans all the way back to the proposal of a dorm. It just doesn't feel right to us as a community," Hofer said.

Neighbors are concerned because children are dropped off and picked up on that street for school, but DSU said a majority of their students don't have classes at 8 a.m. or around 3 p.m.

"A lot of things could happen. What if they hit the gas instead of the break? Putting a 23 bed dorm in the middle of a neighborhood is just not the answer," Neighbor, Carrie Vilhauer said.

DSU said the parking would not narrow the street traffic and would improve sight lines at the intersection.

"The other issue that we found out, Third Street is also a fire lane," Mayor Dennert said.

The mayor said moving the fire lane would cost the city extra money and as of right now says it's out of the question.

In a statement, Dakota State University sent, the Vice President for Business and Administrative Services said, "we are confident that we can work with the city of Madison and our neighbors at Van Eps Place to find the best solution for parking at the new residence hall.”

She also said the diagonal parking proposal would minimize students parking on area streets and walking through the neighborhood.

The university has also stated that the residence hall will be overseen with the same rules and procedures as other residential facilities. The next Madison City Council meeting to approve or deny the parking changes is next Monday, August 5.