The Madison City Council approved the construction of a new Target store near Hilldale Mall Tuesday, ending an extensive public and committee approval process.

After the city’s Plan Commission approved the Planned Unit Development in a meeting last week, the proposal received final approval by the council.

Representatives from Target came out in support of the proposal. Target Development Manager Jaci Bell said the current plan reflects the input of Madison residents.

Likewise, Ald. Chris Schmidt, District 11, who represents the Hilldale area, spoke in support of the project. Schmidt said while support for the project is “not universal,” feedback from his constituents has been generally positive.

“[Target representatives] have been very good to work with through the whole thing and very receptive to the public input we received,” Schmidt said. “I think that is reflected in the strong support for this project.”

Schmidt said representatives from Target first expressed interest in constructing a store last July and developed a plan by late September, at which point they presented the idea to district residents.

With almost 300 people in attendance at the initial informational meeting and a subsequent flood of emails, community input was high, Schmidt said.

Schmidt said the project did face opposition from residents in its initial stages. Main concerns were related to traffic on University Avenue, which Schmidt said developers took into consideration as they adapted their plans.

While in support of the project as a whole, Ald. Marsha Rummel, District 6, raised issue with the proposed parking arrangement, which will be located on the lower level of the store. Rummel said she was concerned with the parking facility’s intrusion on the surrounding green space.

However, the construction of the new Target, Schmidt said, would bring significant benefits to his district, providing a boost to Hilldale Mall and its surrounding area.

Furthermore, the close proximity of the store will reduce the amount of travel for residents, Schmidt said.

According to Bell, construction is planned to begin once the ground thaws in spring and is anticipated to be completed in the summer of 2011.

In addition to the new Target store, the council approved a city ordinance that would impose a fine on property owners who unlawfully remove snow, such as depositing it on city sidewalks.

After receiving numerous complaints from her district’s residents over the last three winters, Rummel said she went to city staff, proposing a fine be imposed on violators of city ordinance to recover costs incurred by the city.

Rummel said property owners dumping snow on sidewalks is a common occurrence, but the city has lacked a recourse to mitigate the problem up to this point. Imposing a fine, Rummel said, will “get people’s attention.”

The council passed the proposal without opposition or debate, which Rummel said is because the proposed ordinance is a “no-brainer.”

“It makes sense that if we’re going to require you to do something, there is a penalty if you don’t do it,” Rummel said.