Wisconsin legislator: Extend Capitol height limit

Wisconsin State Capitol
Wisconsin State Capitol (file photo)

MADISON (AP) – A Wisconsin legislator wants to expand height restrictions on Madison buildings to protect views of the state Capitol.

Current state law prohibits any building within a one-mile radius of the Capitol from being taller than the base of the Capitol’s dome. The Wisconsin State Journal reported Tuesday that Sen. Fred Risser, a Madison Democrat, plans to introduce a bill that would enlarge that zone to two miles.

The new zone would include the UW-Madison campus. Three existing campus buildings – Van Hise Hall, the Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Science Building and the Engineering Research Building – would violate the new restrictions but would be exempt.

Risser was one of the authors of the 1989 legislation that created the current buffer zone. He told the State Journal a spate of recent building projects prompted him to draft the expansion.

Madison city officials said they’re not aware of any current or planned building construction that would interfere with the view of the Capitol. Carole Schaeffer, executive director for Smart Growth Madison, called the buffer zone expansion overkill.

“I don’t see how a building two miles away is going to interfere with the view of the Capitol,” she told the State Journal.

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