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Langdon Local Historic District

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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby SlayerDave » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:10 am

So I noticed this opinion piece in the Badger Herald today.

I honestly don't know enough about the issues to speak to some of the broader ideas, but these lines jumped out:

The petition, hosted on change.org, currently states, “We the undersigned strongly support the designation of the Langdon Street Neighborhood as a historic district under the Madison Landmarks Ordinance.”

I say currently because the petition’s creator has routinely changed the wording listed online, which of course raises all sorts of ethical issues. It means that the current 1,126 supporters actually supported various ideas.


If that's true, yeeesh. Can anyone speak to that?
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby tdogg » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:44 am

The petition mentioned affordable housing last week, and the language on Sunday appears to be different from the language found today. What's up with that??
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 11:55 am

tdogg wrote:The petition mentioned affordable housing last week, and the language on Sunday appears to be different from the language found today. What's up with that??


As much as I support people right to petition, changing the wording after people have signed should make it null and void and they should start over.

I will say that's one of the better written editorials I've seen come out of a student newspaper.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:17 pm

And what's with the new link in the petition talking about historic preservation in Austin. What the fuck does Austin have to do with Madison. We have our own Landmarks Commission here.

Stu Levitan wrote:BTW - no comments on our unanimous approval of the conversion of Holy Redeemer School to apartments?


Could you please take the discussion of the the Holy Redeemer School to another thread, please? This one is about the Iota Court proposal. Thanks.*

Sound Familiar
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby green union terrace chair » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:43 pm

Is there any evidence of a petition on change.org ever bringing about actual change?

Again, I support the basic intent of this petition but online petitions are worth the paper their printed on.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Ducatista » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:07 pm

snoqueen wrote:OK, if that's it then that's it. I guess I was hoping for something specific like "no more than 50% of the buildings in one block may be higher than eight stories" or "buildings on the lakeshore may only block lake views from the lowest three stories of the buildings behind them," but you cite your link as your statement and there we have it.

Ah, that's not what I got from your post. Not that it wouldn't have mattered. Could you make such specific pronouncements without studying the neighborhood? I couldn't. I couldn't even do it for the block I live on without a note-taking tour.

The study could be a fun exercise, if I had the time...

Anyway, you already know I'm not keen on a thicket of absolutes:

I wrote:If our guidelines and deal killers are too rigid they could stifle development and invite decay, too loose and hello shitshow. The uncertain in-between is necessary for the best mix of security and flexibility, but it requires careful attention from all parties or we still end up with crap.


BTW, what's up with that's-it-that's-it-there-we-have-it? Did my failure to produce the hoped-for specifics disqualify me from further discussion? Tough crowd.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Cooltapes » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:30 pm

No mention of the Downtown Plan- something the city spent thousands of dollars on- which has specific recommendations for us to become a local historic district. I'm not sure if it's worth commenting on all the numerous lies and misinformation in this article. As to the "changes" I don't believe the numerous reasons for desiring local historic district status have at any point contradicted one another, while the title "Prevent high rise apartments in the Langdon Neighborhood" and the petition

"To:
City of Madison, Wisconsin
We the undersigned strongly support the designation of the Langdon Street Neighborhood as a historic district under the Madison Landmarks Ordinance.
Sincerely,
[Your name]"

have remain consistent throughout. I think this is one fantasy we can put to bed.

The article was shared on our neighborhood Facebook page presumably by either alders Resnick or Maniaci, (or possibly John Magnino, Langdon neighborhood ass. president who I think is also an admin of that page) all of whom have expressed resistance to the petition. To which I replied:

Sooner or later, our alders are going to have to take a stand on these recommendations which they allowed to pass only a year ago and apparently have been hoping no one would notice, except perhaps developers keen to get their building in as soon as possible before it passes.

Please don't be surprised or angry when people in your neighborhood finally take it upon themselves to do this work for you, if you won't do it.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Stu Levitan » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:40 pm

Figured it was time for people to, you know, actually read the ordinance that governs this process.

33.19(6)(d) Creation of Historic Districts.
1. For preservation purposes, the Landmarks Commission shall select
geographically defined areas within the City of Madison to be designated as
Historic Districts and shall, with the assistance of the City Department of
Planning and Community and Economic Development, prepare an historic
preservation plan in ordinance form for each area. An Historic District may be
designated for any geographic area of particular historic, architectural, or cultural
significance to the City of Madison which:
a. Exemplifies or reflects the broad cultural, political, economic or social
history of the nation, state or community; or
b. Is identified with historic personages or with important events in
national, state or local history; or
c. Embodies the distinguishing characteristics of architectural type
specimens inherently valuable for the study of a period or periods, styles,
methods or construction, indigenous materials or craftsmanship; or
d. Is representative of the notable works of master builders, designers, or
architects who influenced their age.
Each historic preservation plan prepared for or by the Landmarks Commission
shall include a cultural and architectural analysis supporting the historic
significance of the area, the specific guidelines for development and a statement
of preservation objectives.
2. Guideline criteria to be considered in the development of Historic District plans
are as follows:
a. All new structures shall be constructed to a height visually compatible
with the buildings and environment with which they are visually related.
b. The gross volume of any new structure shall be visually compatible with
the buildings and environment with which it is visually related.
c. In the street elevation(s) of a building, the proportion between the width
and height in the facade(s) should be visually compatible with the
buildings and environment with which it is visually related.
d. The proportions and relationships between doors and windows in the
street facade(s) should be visually compatible with the buildings and
environment with which it is visually related.
e. The rhythm of solids to voids, created by openings in the facade, should
be visually compatible with the buildings and environment with which it
is visually related.
f. The existing rhythm created by existing building masses and spaces
between them should be preserved.
g. The materials used in the final facade(s) should be visually compatible
with the buildings and environment with which it is visually related.
h. The texture inherent in the facade should be visually compatible with the
buildings and environment with which it is visually related.
i. Colors and patterns used on the facade (especially trim) should be
visually compatible with the buildings and environment with which it is
visually related.
j. The design of the roof should be visually compatible with the buildings
and environment with which it is visually related.
k. The landscape plan should be sensitive to the individual building, its
occupants and their needs. Further, the landscape treatment should be
visually compatible with the buildings and environment with which it is
visually related.
l. All street facade(s) should blend with other buildings via directional
expression. When adjacent buildings have a dominant horizontal or
vertical expression, this expression should be carried over and reflected.
m. Architectural details should be incorporated as necessary to relate the
new with the old and to preserve and enhance the inherent characteristics
of the area.
=====
Following recommendtion by Landmarks and consideration by Plan Cmsn, goes to Council for vote.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:44 pm

Cooltapes wrote:s to the "changes" I don't believe the numerous reasons for desiring local historic district status have at any point contradicted one another


But people signed a petition with specific wording, and then that wording changed after their signatures were taken.

Also, could you explain to me what Austin has to do with any of this.

Cooltapes wrote:Sooner or later, our alders are going to have to take a stand on these recommendations which they allowed to pass only a year ago and apparently have been hoping no one would notice


Except it is all over the news. Also, aren't they just "recommendations" You act as though they're the fucking 10 commandments.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:59 pm

Ducatista wrote:Could you make such specific pronouncements without studying the neighborhood? I couldn't. I couldn't even do it for the block I live on without a note-taking tour.

The study could be a fun exercise, if I had the time...
I am bothered by this attitude (a sentiment which I recognize means nothing to anyone other than myself). Your "method" seems totally devoid of principle - each decision is made on an ad hoc basis. Or where there are principles at stake, the default position is that they can be re-evaluated and exceptions made based on your interpretation of the circumstances. Your neighborhood note-taking tour sounds to me like you'd be walking around filling out a checklist comprised of two columns, "Acceptable" vs. "Tacky". What do you do when your tastes are fundamentally incompatible with another busybody neighbor, and both opinions conflict with those of the owner of the property in question? I gather that you'll claim that some compromise can be made, but I don't understand why the mere opinion of a neighbor has a seat at the bargaining table to begin with.

Stu - what determines when two or more objects are "visually compatible"? To what degree is this an objective criterion versus one dependent on the subjective tastes of those reviewing each case? Additionally, how do you determine if the "rhythm" of one section of architecture is sufficiently compatible with the next?
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Cooltapes » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:02 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
Cooltapes wrote:s to the "changes" I don't believe the numerous reasons for desiring local historic district status have at any point contradicted one another


But people signed a petition with specific wording, and then that wording changed after their signatures were taken.

Also, could you explain to me what Austin has to do with any of this.

No, they didn't. This is the petition:

"To:
City of Madison, Wisconsin
We the undersigned strongly support the designation of the Langdon Street Neighborhood as a historic district under the Madison Landmarks Ordinance.
Sincerely,
[Your name]"

It has not changed. If you are asserting it has changed, please tell me where and how.

Cooltapes wrote:Sooner or later, our alders are going to have to take a stand on these recommendations which they allowed to pass only a year ago and apparently have been hoping no one would notice


Except it is all over the news. Also, aren't they just "recommendations" You act as though they're the fucking 10 commandments.


I'm acting as though years of time, money and effort were spent on them, and that it appears these ones have been having the opposite of the intended effect lately, as evidenced by the numerous construction proposals, some of which have clearly thrown them under the bus.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby _mp » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:06 pm

Thank you cooltapes for sharing the link. I would like to know who 'Our Historic Campus' is. And why their copy - aside from the actual petition - is misleading and now apparently in flux.

Even though the Langdon area needs some work - it would make a great little Local Historic District. It would surely benefit from at least the idea that such a designation would provide additional protection in the face of those with the financial means to make things happen.

It's a bummer Frank Lloyd Wright's 1893 boathouse is now commemorated by a lonely plaque on the corner of Langdon and Carroll. Not that I'm head-over-heels in love with his work, but hey, it was one of his first commissions as an independent architect! http://content.wisconsinhistory.org/cdm/ref/collection/wmh/id/37015

Anyway, the Landmark Commission's report released November 26 of last year regarding Iota Court was a very well thought out breakdown of the affected space. Also, thank you Stu for sharing the ordinance.

Who knows what'll happen. Maybe with said designation more gentlemen (and gentlewomen) with good taste like Fred Mohs will move in and rehabilitate buildings instead of leaving the neighborhood to those who practice benign neglect RE: Lucy's point.

Or maybe there'll be more commercial spaces, making it an 'off the beaten path' Langdon or something. Tourists would maybe love a multi-dimensional State Street area! Maybe more professors will move in the area, given the fact it's minutes on foot from Science Hall, Humanities, Grainger, Bascom Hill, etc.

To think this is about height is missing the point. All along, it has been illuminating to see misdirection and other Politics 101 tactics in action.

Interesting idea RE: quantifying "neighborhood values" ArturoBandini. Do you want to work as the neighborhood broker? : )

Above all, I'm glad at least one person - jjoyce - is thinking 'objectively'.

Be well.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:16 pm

_mp wrote:Interesting idea RE: quantifying "neighborhood values" ArturoBandini. Do you want to work as the neighborhood broker? : )
I'm a little busy right at this point in my life, but it's an idea that I would be interested to study up on at some point in the future. Something like this has probably already been proposed, maybe attempted. There is nothing new under the sun.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby snoqueen » Wed Mar 13, 2013 5:46 pm

ducatista wrote:BTW, what's up with that's-it-that's-it-there-we-have-it? Did my failure to produce the hoped-for specifics disqualify me from further discussion? Tough crowd.


I didn't mean to be snippy. You're usually reasonable and I try to be reasonable in return.

Evidently the idea you prefer is not to have a lot of rules because they stifle development. (Again, I don't mean to say that wrong and I don't know if I'm even close. I have no reason to misrepresent what you want. I honestly am still not sure what it is, and you're declining to explain how you'd like Langdon to turn out so I've got little to go on. I'm relying on Artie's translation here as much as anything else.)

From what I've seen, no rules makes it harder, not easier, for development. If the rules are clear, then the developer can either go with them or knowingly work outside them with the knowledge a clear set of procedures exists for negotiation and persuasion. Without rules, people making proposals have no idea at all what to expect and no way to budget for the process. In addition, the more sophisticated developers know neighborhood input frequently results in a better project that encounters fewer snags once it's built, and having rules gives an outline of neighborhood expectations at the get-go.

Maybe the right word isn't rules but guidelines, since they're always being reinterpreted and bent.

I know it's dry and pedantic but it's better than anything else we've got.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby gargantua » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:20 pm

I see a lot of naivete in some of the previous posts. The most egregious is the belief that thousands of dollars spent in studies actually matter when there is money to be made. I worked in government for nearly 40 years. If the people who had to pay for all the studies I was involved in saw how little they mattered, they would tar and feather me. Which is a shame because the first couple of decades I actually thought those studies mattered. But the way the real world works, someone with money, connections, and an idea overrules any planning that may have occurred beforehand. That is not a value judgement on this issue.I like most of Sno's ideas about how development would ideally occur. This represents the cold, hard facts on how the world really works. If you want to resist, by all means start petitions. If you want to win, get financial backing and lawyer up, or you will lose every time.

Look at how most levels of government are working now and tell me I'm wrong.
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