Landmarks Commission upholds demolition by neglect on Langdon Street home despite council directive

The Landmarks Commission voted Monday to delay a decision about a historic Madison home’s filing of demolition by neglect, despite Common Council direction to rescind the filing.

The commission voted in June to issue the filing after years of working with the property owner of 121 Langdon Street to get the historic property up to code. By issuing a filing of demolition by neglect, the commission hoped to motivate the owner to get the work done by a deadline set by the city, or else risk the city hiring out the work and billing the owner.

The home at 121 Langdon is all fixed up (for the most part), but the Landmarks Commission decided today NOT to rescind the filing of demolition by neglect until ALL the work is done. The work left (near foundation and landscaping) is expected to wrap up in November. #News3Now pic.twitter.com/N7iSDZVfZW

— Amy Reid (@amyreidreports) September 16, 2019

The filing appeared to work, and the owner got the work done needed to bring the house up to code on Aug. 29, according to the Landmarks Commission. More work outside the home still needs to be done. The work was originally supposed to be finished by Aug. 1, but the city attorney offered an extension of one month after the owner failed to meet it.

At the following Common Council meeting on Aug. 6, council members heard the property owner’s appeal to the filing, and they voted to send the motion back to the Landmarks Commission with the directive to rescind the finding of demolition by neglect or refer it back to the council.

Stu Levitan, the former chair of the Landmarks Commission, said he was floored by the council’s decision not to uphold the work of the commission.

“It’s been undergoing demolition by neglect for three years,” Levitan said. “The Landmarks Commission made that finding, and rather than have the guts to vote up or down by itself on its own authority, the council directed the Landmarks Commission without any prior notice, to rescind the finding of demolition by neglect.”

Levitan made similar comments at the Landmarks Commission meeting, and commissioners agreed that after many years of noncompliance, they couldn’t trust the property owner to finish necessary repairs to the rest of the property without the finding of demolition by neglect. They voted to wait until after the November deadline the owner must meet to finish remaining repairs.

News 3 Now reached out to the property owner for comment, but he did not return our request.

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