Secret Places


City of Madison seeking input on Long-term land use plan

The City of Madison sent out information about their city-wide proposed land use changes.  From their message to the Neighborhood Board:

The City of Madison is requesting input for the Future Land Use Map in its Comprehensive Plan as part of the Imagine Madison The Planning Division is preparing materials for Phase 2 of Imagine Madison, for which land use will be a key component. The Comprehensive Plan Update will include a Future Land Use Map that shows planned land uses for currently developed areas and anticipated growth areas on the edge of the City.  The map guides how and where the City grows.  In order to ensure that the Comprehensive Plan is an accurate expression of community land use goals, a process has been established for considering potential changes to the map.


The Planning Division will accept change requests regarding the Future Land Use Map through March 31. It is preferred that requests be submitted online at Staff will review comments and evaluate requests to create an Initial Draft of the Future Land Use Map, which will be presented for a two-month public comment period beginning in late April. A Final Draft of the Future Land Use Map will be presented to the City’s Plan Commission in July.

What does that mean for our area?  The short version is – eventually houses are likely to be built to the northwest of the neighborhood (where the quarry is) and the east of the neighborhood (where the field is).  However, this is just the early plan and potential changes are always possible. If changes are made to the zoning they would most likely be made to the areas in blue below.

Additionally you can see the current zoning plan and the potential for some low density apartments or condos along Siggelkow further to the east (in the location of the farm).

The Neighborhood Board will be submitting a letter to the City indicating our neighborhood’s preference that the areas around the neighborhood remain low density residential housing, and not to make major changes (such as putting in high density apartments).  It is unlikely such a change would be proposed, but it is best to cover our bases just in case so the City officially knows our preference.

The two main areas of growth we can expect around our neighborhood over the next 10 – 20 years are:

  1.  The Quarry to the Northwest of the neighborhood (along Marsh Rd) will likely be mined out in the next 5 – 10 years and eventually that land will be filled in, leveled, and made into residential property.  This will be a long process with lots of opportunities for public input.
  2. The farmland to the east of the Secret Places Neighborhood will eventually become residential housing, while further to the east on Siggelkow there would be some low density apartments, duplexes, and/or condos.  Again, this process will include public input.

Blue areas have potential for change, but according to the City staff, most likely will stay residential:

From the “Imagine Madison” document under discussion:

Potential areas for change

[ Interactive map here ]


The most current zoning plan:

Current neighborhood plan

[ Interactive map here ]


And the old 1999 neighborhood plan:

1999 neighborhood plan

[ Full document here ]

If you have thoughts, questions, or other suggestions as to what you would like to see the neighborhood board do, as always you can contact us here.

What should our next neighborhood project be for the next Neighborhood Improvement Grant application?

Now that we have successfully implemented the plan for the stream cleanup project, funded in part by the City of Madison Neighborhood Improvement Grant, it is time to think about what the next neighborhood grant project should be.  We can apply for the city grant every year and while approval is not guaranteed, it is worth a shot.


Do you have an idea for what our next application for the Neighborhood Improvement grant should be?  Let us know.


As a background:  The grant cannot be used for maintenance (e.g., repave the walkways) , the grant is typically between $2000-5000, and the city wants the grant to help build community and improve the neighborhood.  According to the application, eligible projects include:  “Projects/activities that will improve the appearance and livability of the neighborhood’s public spaces such as streetscapes, gateways, and neighborhood business areas. Projects and activities are generally high visibility, capital projects that can be undertaken and completed in a short period of time.”  In the past they have approved proposals for art projects, community gardens, or creating public meeting places.


Since the last grant was used to improve the stream on the west side of the neighborhood, it would be great to think of a project on the east side of the neighborhood.  The neighborhood board will do the legwork of putting together the grant application, we would like feedback from neighbors as to what that project should be. If you have suggestions for projects we should consider/ research, please let us know.

Polling location for Election Day and other helpful election links

Our polling location for election day on Tuesday is Glendale Elementary School.
Polls are open 7am – 8pm
If at 8pm you are already in line you can still vote even after the polls close.

You can vote prior to election day via absentee ballot or in-person at these locations:

You will need to present a photo ID to vote.  There are many IDs that will work, they are listed here:

Only if you are registering to vote would you ALSO need to show proof of residence.  If you own your home, you can present the City of Madison assessor’s website (even on your smart phone) or use any of these other various forms of proof of residency listed here:

If you have questions about voting or are for some reason denied the right to vote, there is a free hotline to speak to free election attorneys at 1-866-Our-Vote (Sponsored by League of Women Voters and some other non-profits).  You have a right to vote on a provisional ballot so worse case scenario, do that, and the 866-Our-Vote people can help figure out how to make sure your vote is counted.

If you live in Secret Places your ballot should have the school referendum on the back.  Remember to flip over your ballot to vote.  The school district is seeking ‘yes’ for all 3 questions.  More info here:

If you have other questions about registering to vote, where to vote, or the status of your absentee ballot, you can find that all here:

Studies show taking your kids to vote with you increases the likelihood of them becoming good voters in the future.  Plus, they get an ‘I voted sticker’.  So they have that going for them.

Should HOA begin snow removal of neighborhood bike/walking paths?

Neighbors, the HOA needs our input.

Some neighbors contacted the Home Owners Association (managed by Shandar at DSI) to look into snow/ice removal of the public walking / bike paths through the neighborhood in the winter. After receiving bids for the project, DSI is reporting the cost to clear the paths would be approximately $8k per winter, which would increase neighborhood HOA dues approximately $18.50 per household.

The HOA (currently controlled by Veridian) has the final vote in the matter, but they would obviously like neighborhood input on the issue. PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR VOTE / COMMENTS BELOW and we will pass them along to the HOA.

As background, much earlier in the neighborhood’s history, the paths were cleared but neighbors at the time felt their limited use in the winter did not justify the shoveling expense. Since then, there has been quite a bit of neighborhood growth and increased path usage, so some neighbors asked DSI to look into reinstating snow removal.  Neighbors who walk dogs have been the most vocal supporters of this request.  The cost would be a per-snowfall basis, but they estimate an average of 16 snowfalls per season which would total out to that $18 per household (with the apartments paying their dues share as well).

PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR VOTE / COMMENTS BELOW and we will pass them along to the HOA. If you’d prefer to contact Shandar with DSI directly with your thoughts, you can always reach her at

Vote on Snow Removal

Should HOA dues increase $18 to pay for walking path snow removal in the winter?

[-Voting Closed-]

Secret Places Neighborhood Association 1st Annual Rubber Duck Race

Sun, Oct 2, 11:00 AM


Big pond at the top of the stream (near the Secret Places Park)


Soon, the stream will be shut off for the winter, but first we have a gaggle of rubber ducks who want to race down it. Will your rubber duck finish first?

Please join the Secret Places Neighborhood Association for the 1st Annual Rubber Duck Race on Sunday, October 2, 2016 at 11 a.m. at the big pond at the top of the stream (near the Secret Places Park). Children of all ages are invited to participate for delicious prizes.

If you would like to help volunteer, we need a dozen adults to help shepherd the kids and also long polls, golf clubs, oars, etc. to help nudge stuck duckies along.  Let us know:


Secret Places Neighborhood Ice Cream Social

The Neighborhood Association will once again be hosting a neighborhood Ice Cream Social Wednesday, August 24 from 6pm -7:30pm at Secret Places Park.  Please help spread the word to your neighbors.


Special thanks to neighbor Staci Fritz, owner of Calliope Ice Cream, who is graciously donating the ice cream once again.


We look forward to seeing everyone there.

July Waterways Meeting Recap

Thanks to everyone who made it to the meeting to discuss the stream and ponds for our neighborhood.  Some of the major topics we discussed included:

  • Ongoing efforts to find and address the leak causing the lower pond’s water level to fall.
  • Planned improvements to the stream to reduce algae including installing new bio filters, adding fountains (thanks in part to a grant from the city of Madison, options shown in slideshow), and adding aquatic plant life (options show in slideshow).  The efforts by volunteers earlier this spring to clean out debris and leaves will also help as well.
  • Efforts to reduce erosion by restoring fallen shoreline rocks.
  • Education efforts for neighbors on how to keep the stream looking great.

See the attached slideshow for more information: July 2016- SP Neighborhood Water Meeting – v2

There is still more research to be done on all fronts as well as pricing out what can be done this year vs. future years.  We’ll continue to keep neighbors informed as we move forward.  As always, if you are interested in helping or have questions, just let us know.

Neighborhood Waterways meeting July 13th

There will be a Secret Places neighborhood waterways meeting July 13th from 6:30pm – 8pm at the McFarland Village Hall.

We will discuss maintenance and repair plans, addressing the algae problem, potential upgrades such as adding fountains and aquatic plant life, as well as neighborhood education on ways we can all keep the stream looking great.  There are lots of opportunities for neighborhood input for those who are interested.

Please RSVP here

The addition of fountains are funded in part by the City of Madison Neighborhood Grants Program

Apartment Complex Update: Construction won’t begin until spring 2017

According to the developer, construction will not begin on the new apartment complex until spring 2017.

Updated draft of apartment complex site plans

Here is the latest draft of the apartment complex site plans from the developer.


160510 – Photometric Plan and Cut Sheets 11X17


The developer says:

“We were able to get agreement with the pipeline company for more ground plantings in the ROW, as reflected on the attached plans.

Also of note, we were able to lower the buildings along Catalina Parkway slightly and smooth out the slope to make it less steep.”

Catalina Landscape Plan Set 2016 05 18


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