On Tuesday night, the Common Council agreed to exempt city-designated landmarks from encroachment fees for marquees and decorative cornices in city rights-of-way.
The issue was raised earlier this year by the owners of the Majestic Theatre on King Street, who balked at having to pay an annual fee for their marquee at the historic theater they renovated ("City of Madison Goes After Majestic Theatre on Marquee Fees," 2/20/09).
Ald. Verveer says that there are 178 designated city landmarks, and that only a couple dozen have had to pay an annual encroachment fee. They'll get refunds for what they paid. The city collected only about $10,000 from these buildings, so it won't lose much money.
"We should be doing everything we can to encourage people to landmark their properties, if they're eligible," Verveer says.
The city will continue to collect encroachment fees for underground vaults. But property owners can also have the vaults removed, with the city footing half the bill.