Madison City Council on Tuesday rejected an attempt to preserve the narrow view of Lake Mendota from a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed house in the downtown area by limiting the height of properties near the historic house.
The council voted 14-4 against changing the city’s downtown height map to reduce the height allowed on properties adjacent to the Lamp House – a three-story house barely visible to the public that was built in 1903 for a friend of the famous architect.
The Lamp House sits in the middle of the block bounded by North Butler, East Mifflin and North Webster Streets and East Washington Avenue. Passers-by can only see the house through narrow alleys and between the other structures that surround it.
Ald. Patrick Heck, 2nd Arrondissement, sponsored the proposed changes, which were based on recommendations from a 2014 special committee exploring development on and around the Lamp House block. The changes would have raised the permitted height on adjacent properties on East Mifflin and North Butler streets from six or eight stories to three stories.
Apex Property Management, which has owned Lamp House since 2005 and rents it out for student accommodation, opposed the changes. Bruce Bosben, chairman of Apex, said the company is in talks with the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy over the fate of the Lamp House, including the possibility of moving it.