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Alder Scott J. Resnick

Alder Scott J. Resnick

Home Address:
661 Mendota Ct # 1404
Madison , WI 53703

Phone: 608-807-7962
Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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What is a Local Historic District?

March 14, 2013 12:14 AM

Langdon Street is currently in a national historic district and recently there has been discussion of creating an additional local historic district. This week, I requested that City Staff prepare a memo on the subject. Here was their response: 

What is a local historic district?

A local historic district is a geographically defined area of particular historic, architectural or cultural significance which contains a collection of improvements that convey at least one of the following:

  1. Exemplifies or reflects the broad cultural, political, economic or social history of the nation, state or community;
  2. Is identified with historic personages or with important events in national, state or local history;
  3. Embodies the distinguishing characteristics of architectural type specimens inherently valuable for the study of a period or periods, styles, methods of construction, indigenous materials or craftsmanship;
  4. Is representative of the notable works of master builders, designers, or architects who influence their age.

Why does the City of Madison create local historic districts?

The City has determined that the protection, enhancement and perpetuation of special character or historical value is a public necessity and historic districts are created to guide the retention of historic, architectural or cultural significance in geographically defined areas. This determination is in keeping with the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.

Where are the local historic districts in the City?
The City of Madison currently has five local historic districts – Mansion Hill, Third Lake Ridge, University Heights, Marquette Bungalows and First Settlement. 

What regulations are placed on properties in a local historic district?

In order to maintain the significance of the historic district, guideline criteria are established for each historic district in the Landmarks Ordinance. Before a building permit can be issued for alterations or new construction in an historic district, the Landmarks Commission must approve the project and issue a Certificate of Appropriateness that certifies that the work will be compatible with the historic character of the neighborhood. In many cases, the Preservation Planner is able to administratively approve the Certificate of Appropriateness for the exterior alterations. In other cases, the exterior alteration would be significant enough to require review by the Landmarks Commission. Exterior alterations include any work that will result in a change of exterior appearance, construction of additions, construction of new buildings, and demolition requests.

How is a local historic district different than a national historic district?

Both types of historic districts celebrate and enhance the historic, architectural or cultural significance of the area, but otherwise, they are quite different.

A local historic district is designated by the Madison Common Council and is administered by the City's Landmarks Commission through the criteria in the Landmarks Ordinance. The Landmarks Ordinance offers protection, enhancement and perpetuation of the resources within the historic district.

A National Register Historic District is administered by the State Historic Preservation Office through the criteria established by the National Park Service. A property owner that owns a building that is determined to be "contributing" in the National Historic District may be eligible to participate in the Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program as an incentive for maintaining the historic appearance of the building. Inclusion in a National Register Historic District does not offer protection to the resources within the boundary of the historic district.


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