City News

Landmark Commission attempts to regulate neighbor disputes

Madison’s landmark commission approved legislation today that would help mediate disputes between neighbors on directly adjacent historical properties.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger

In a Madison Landmark Commission approved legislation that would help them mediate disputes between neighbors on directly adjacent historical properties at a meeting Wednesday.

The legislation aims to resolve situations in which residents who can only access portions of their historical property via their neighbor’s property are denied access to the decaying section.

Some buildings and neighborhoods in Madison are protected by the city with a “landmark” title, protecting them from demolition, but also requiring additional upkeep. Buildings are routinely inspected and serviced by owners. If owners do not keep the building in good condition, they are cited for a violation of the upkeep code.

In the crowded downtown district of Madison, not every section of a building is accessible from from the owners plot of land, especially in areas, like Capitol Square, where buildings are directly adjacent to each other.

While most disputes between neighbors who need to access their own buildings via other plots of land are handled on an individual basis, the legislation aims to regulate the small amount that require mediation.

“We don’t see a lot of these cases” the commission’s legal counsel acknowledged at the meeting.

Though the council does not possess the power to force a resident to allow a neighbor onto their property, they do possess the ability to give the unwilling resident a citation.

While many buildings in the Langdon neighborhood are protected by this landmark status, Alder Marsha Rummel, District 6, a sponsor of the bill, said students living in the neighborhood would “not need to worry at all.”

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