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Langdon Local Historic District

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Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Cooltapes » Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:49 pm

City of Madison: Prevent high rise apartments in the Langdon Neighborhood


Petition by
Our Historic Campus

To preserve the historic look, feel, and character of the Langdon Street Neighborhood, and to prevent the demolition of contributing structures for the construction of high-rise apartment complexes.



https://www.change.org/petitions/city-o ... ighborhood
Last edited by Cooltapes on Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby green union terrace chair » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:02 pm

I support your cause, but you ARE engaging in hyperbole from the very first line. Tone it down and stay on message (what does homelessness have to do with this? If anything, new development creates more apartment supply and lowers prices).

Also, no need to vilify all developers just because of one bad project.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Stebben84 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:37 pm

Cooltapes wrote:to prevent the demolition of contributing structures for the construction of high-rise apartment complexes.


I may be mistaken, but I thought their newest proposal is for 5 and 6 story buildings. The current ones are 5 correct? I'm sorry, but this is hardly a "high-rise." I appreciate your conviction, but you have to take your emotions out of this statement and deal with the facts.

Also, your link has a photo from the early 1900's. Uh, that area is totally run down and does not look like that anymore and never will. Maybe this is your point, but you should probably have photos of the current situation. The one you posted is misleading.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Cooltapes » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:32 pm

Sorry- I edited it without that quote, guess it was a bit provacative.

Anyway, sign if you like! There will be a Landmarks meeting on Monday to consider the viability of Langdon Neighborhood becoming a local historic district, as recommended by the Downtown Plan. The co-ops, fraternities and sororities which are the heart of this neighborhood could never exist in these high-rise apartments; we're not just preserving buildings here, but communities!
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Stebben84 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:43 pm

Cooltapes wrote:could never exist in these high-rise apartments


I'm sorry to keep harping on this, but do you really think a 6 story building is a high rise?

Cooltapes wrote:fraternities and sororities


Also, I could really give a crap about fraternities and sororities. That's just my opinion on them.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Cooltapes » Sat Mar 09, 2013 6:47 pm

You might want to look at some of the comments before leveling accusations. I think people who live here have a pretty good idea what's at stake, here, as do the folks who came up with the recommendations in their downtown plan: one of which, is to do this.

I just picked a recent comment. How about Amy Heunisch:

"This neighborhood is notable for its plethora of historic housing and beautiful Classical revival housing. This neighborhood is memorable for many because of its chapter facilities for many Greek organizations but also for the beautiful, historic housing that is available. Students opt to live in this neighborhood because of the way it is and the atmosphere the neighborhood has - if they wanted to live in anew high rise apartment, they would choose to do so in one of the many that currently exist on campus. This neighborhood thrives on the historic buildings of the area, but updates of these buildings are inevitable, otherwise they would become impossible to live in. Renovate the current buildings, modernizing the interiors and adding new safety features for the residents. Maintain the historic exteriors, characterized by their beautiful various Revival styles. Maintain a consistent height and style of buildings in the area to maintain the character and identity of the neighborhood. This neighborhood is just as significant as the University Heights neighborhood or the Fourth Ward - its history is what makes it special to residents, alumni, and visitors."

Or Abigail Bitter:

"Langdon is beautiful and charming because of the historical buildings that currently stand in the area. I have chosen to live on Langdon the past two years because of its neighborhood feel and the tradition tied to the street and the buildings. To be able to look out of my apartment and see Lake Mendota is something I cherish and love most about this street, and that view would be obstructed with high rises built along the shore. University Ave. and Johnson Ave. are great areas for high rise complexes, but Langdon is a beautiful contrast."
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Stebben84 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:36 pm

Cooltapes wrote:You might want to look at some of the comments before leveling accusations.


Jeebus, I'm not accusing you of anything. I'm asking if a 6 story building is a high rise when the existing one's are 5. Calm down.

Your case can be helped if you don't use language that's not relevant. Talk about historic preservation and not lies that a high rise is being put up. It's NOT a high-rise.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby snoqueen » Sat Mar 09, 2013 7:57 pm

You can question his wording, but I think the meaning is clear: people living there now (I liked the quoted messages) want the scale of the neighborhood to remain small. The older buildings that give the area its charm and atmosphere are around three stories.

If he said "buildings more than four stories" instead of "high rises" would you be more likely to agree?

Obviously the picture he posted is an old-time photo. (Look at the car.) I was thinking it showed a building that's gone now, but was cool and is a loss. For curiosity, where was it located?

If you want to see a campus that is 95% without any charm at all, go look at Whitewater. It's got sensible, usable newer buildings and dorms, but any neat old houses are along the main and side streets and are "town," not part of the campus or of student life. Whitewater is perfectly OK for what it is, but its plainness is exactly what makes Madison unique. and that uniqueness is what the petitioners are seeking to preserve.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Stebben84 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:42 pm

snoqueen wrote:You can question his wording, but I think the meaning is clear: people living there now (I liked the quoted messages) want the scale of the neighborhood to remain small. The older buildings that give the area its charm and atmosphere are around three stories.


No. He said HIGH RISE. That means something. And when you talk about 3 stories, how about you look at this.

http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

Yes some are some aren't.

snoqueen wrote:If he said "buildings more than four stories" instead of "high rises" would you be more likely to agree?


Agree with what? He said high rise. I'm questioning his wording not his intentions.

snoqueen wrote:If you want to see a campus that is 95% without any charm at all


I take issue with this because I've seen places built here that are quite nice. I take issue with old school(and I don't mean old age) folks not wanting to see development in Madison. They want it to be the same old place they've grown up in. Well, that ain't happening. This isn't Whitewater and that was a silly example because we are nothing like Whitewater. It's a growing city and a growing community and changes are going to happen. People may not like that and if that's the case they can move to one of our our outer communities like Cambridge or Stoughton or Sun Prairie.

I'm all for historic preservation when merited. In this case I don't think it is. I'm just tired of the "if it's new then it's bad" mentality.

For what it's worth, new architecture will become historic architecture one day.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby green union terrace chair » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:47 pm

Stebben84 wrote:For what it's worth, new architecture will become historic architecture one day.

Tell that to the poor Humanities building!
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Cooltapes » Sat Mar 09, 2013 8:57 pm

Stebben84, I think you are misunderstanding the petition. The building you keep referring to, originally twice as tall and 10 times as large as each of the surrounding homes in our little area (actually what they wanted to do back in 2006 was apparently much larger than that) was reduced to a seven story building only 8 times as large as the surrounding homes, and passed last month. It's a done deal. This is a petition to create a local historic district, as per the Downtown Plan. There are like 3 recommendations in the Plan having to do with creating a local historic district here. The Downtown Plan was passed a year ago, yet we keep getting Edgewaterfronted since this thing was passed with completely opposite goals. A lot of the city council meeting was about the city basically sweeping their plan, which they spent thousands and thousands of dollars on, under the rug. By the way if the Isthmus ever wanted to cover this obvious story instead of completely ignoring it, people like Stebben84 might have a clue what's going on here. (There's this old crazy cat lady who likes to take stacks of Isthmuses from my workplace for god knows what, maybe she has a hamster in which case they're being put to good use.) The neighboring district's alder just wrote me trying to talk me out of this online petition- he was there a year ago when the downtown plan passed! And it's not my petition, anyway. A month from now, we just might finally elect an alder who won't simply disregard the Downtown Plan, and won't be a rubberstamp for deep pocket developers.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby Stebben84 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:11 pm

green union terrace chair wrote:
Stebben84 wrote:For what it's worth, new architecture will become historic architecture one day.

Tell that to the poor Humanities building!


That's for another debate. I've had my issues with that building, but I've grown to recognize it's architectural significance. I am still on the fence with its removal, but that would force me to digress farther than I need to go.

After walking around the Iota court area when this debate started, I can't say I feel the same way about that area.

How many of you have actually walked around that area recently?

Cooltapes wrote:as reduced to a seven story building only 8 times as large as the surrounding homes


From what I read it was multiple buildings and not just one. So to say a "building" is 8 times as large is disingenuous.

Cooltapes wrote: By the way if the Isthmus ever wanted to cover this obvious story instead of completely ignoring it, people like Stebben84 might have a clue what's going on here.


http://www.thedailypage.com/daily/artic ... icle=38772

And I have been keeping up with it. I'm actually quite interested with what happens to our city. You have every right to fight for what you believe in with respect to your neighborhood. I happen to disagree. This is not to say you shouldn't keep fighting for those beliefs, I'm just expressing my opinion on the matter.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby rabble » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:38 pm

I'm a little confused about your stand, Stebben. Are you saying you're okay with tearing down some buildings and building new ones because the new ones will be only five or six stories and that's not a high rise, but high rise would be bad?

How many stories in a high rise?

I walked around the the Iota court area maybe a couple months ago. I remember it being sorta run down but far from blighted. Could use some fixin up. I guess I should go take another look but I don't remember seeing anything that couldn't be fixed.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby green union terrace chair » Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:04 am

There were two separate issues to that project: 1) should those buildings be removed and 2) what should they be replaced with. Some people were okay with #1 and just objected to the massive building that was approved to take their place. Others were against #1 which negated the second question.

It seemed like their were some on the Plan Commission who didn't feel great about #2, but because they were for #1 and felt the option the developers proposed had no alternative they just had to go along with it. Same reaction at Common Council.
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Re: Langdon Local Historic District

Postby snoqueen » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:35 pm

The way I look at the drawings for the new building, it's ONE building tricked out to look like four but joined in the middle.

You can think of this two ways: it's a sneaky developers' habit, or it's a way of accommodating the desire to keep the streetscape looking small while actually building big.

I agreed with the letter-writer (in cooltapes message above) who says true high-rises (like, really tall buildings) are just fine over by University Ave, and keeping the Langdon Area smaller is a way the city can have its cake (density, newer and more efficient housing) and eat it too (by preserving the best of the old). That's my wording not hers.

In my opinion, the Common Council approves things like this because of exhaustion. These aren't the best possible designs or the best possible solutions, but the Council has many other matters on its plate and insufficient time and energy (remember Edgewater) to do the best by each one. So they tend to do the least-objectionable, or let things slide because they sorta-kinda conform to the letter if not the spirit of particular documents or prior decisions, thus giving them cover.

The best work is done at UDC and other dedicated committees and by city staff, but the Council gets to override and expediency, along with patience and persistence on the part of the developer's team, wears them down and wins out more often than not.
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