Dane County Judge says OCR did not fully explain decision
Dane County Circuit Court Judge Maryann Sumi has remanded the City of Madison’s appeal of the closing of two rail road crossings at Livingston and Brearly Streets. State Commissioner of Railroads Jeff Plale had ruled last year that the two crossings should close to address safety concerns. The City contended that there hadn’t been an accident in 40 years and the closures would substantially inhibit traffic flow on the Near East Side
In an email to various City officials City Attorney Steven Brist wrote that Judge Sumi asked the commissioner to re-examine his decision, and added some instructions. The commissioner is to fully explain his reasoning to increase the number of street closures to two, from the one recommended by a hearing examiner in February 2012.
The Judge also said Plale improperly applied the statutory “public safety and convenience” requirement, in that there was no dispute that currently the crossing is safe to the public. The full text of the email is below:
I am pleased to report that this morning Judge Sumi remanded the Railroad Commissioner’s decision closing both the Livingstone and Brearly street crossings back to the OCR.
A “remand” is a kind of “do over” but it is the typical remedy in an appeal of an agency decision. However in her remand she gave some instructions to the Commissioner. The Judge stated that she felt that the commissioner did not adequately explain why two crossings needed to be closed, as opposed to one as recommended by the hearing examiner.
She also concluded that the statutory requirement of “public safety and convenience” had not been properly applied by the Commissioner, noting that there was no disagreement that the crossing was currently safe to the public. I will get a transcript of the decision and will forward it when I receive it.
Steven C. Brist
Assistant City Attorney
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