Prior to the Cooperative Plan being adopted, there was a long history of boundary disputes between the three communities. Over time portions of the Town had been annexed by both Cities. The City of Madison then attempted to annex the entirety of the Town, which resulted in Fitchburg petitioning the courts to annex a portion of the Town. In order to avoid further disputes and litigation, the communities entered into a Cooperative Plan. The Plan had several objectives: establish long-term boundaries and eliminate annexation disputes, assure orderly development of Town lands, and protect the financial status of the Town. 

In 2007 the Town of Madison and Fitchburg worked together to create the Southdale Neighborhood Plan. The Plan includes a portion of the Town of Madison that will become a part of Fitchburg. The Plan offers guidance for appropriate and necessary improvements regarding the types of development, densities, economic development, transportation systems, open spaces and community facilities and other services in the planning area. In short, the Plan governs future development of the neighborhood.