We are asking you to register in support of the appeal to oppose a proposed 4,200 sf house on the historic Old Spring Tavern property at 3701 Council Crest

The proposal to build a new 4,200 square foot house on the west yard of the landmark Old Spring Tavern property at 3701 Council Crest in the Nakoma neighborhood will be considered at the Common Council meeting on Tuesday, January 9 at 6:30 p.m.



Agenda Item #  80871 


80871 Appeal of Madison Landmarks Commission decision granting a Certificate of
Appropriateness for new construction on the site of a designated city landmark
at 3701 Council Crest.
file 79099
Appeal received 11/14/23
80871 – 3701 Council Crest Appeal City Attorneys Office Memo to Council
80871 – 3701 Council Crest Preservation Planner STAFF REPORT 1-9-24

Legislative History
11/16/23 Clerk’s Office Referred for Introduction
Common Council Public Hearing (1/9/24)


Thanks to the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation for the analysis.

MTHP Background Points
MTHP Spring Tavern Council Brief
MTHP Spring Tavern Council Detail

  • The Old Spring Tavern, built in 1854, is one of Madison’s oldest and most significant historic sites. The Tavern was originally a stagecoach inn on the road to southwest Wisconsin. It later served as a farmhouse and tavern, and for more than 100 years has been a private residence.
  • We respectfully ask the Common Council to vote against the proposal for a large new house because the applicable standards for approval have not been met. The proposed house is incompatible with the Tavern and makes unacceptably large changes to the landmark west yard.
  • The proposal was approved by the Landmarks Commission on a 3-1 vote with three members absent or not voting and with Alder Amani Latimer Burris voting no. There are ample legal grounds for reversing the decision. If the decision is reversed, the owners can return with a proposal for a smaller house that is compatible with the Old Spring Tavern.
  • The City’s Preservation Planner has emphasized that under the Madison Ordinances the project needs to be evaluated using the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. The project does not meet the standards in several ways.

The proposed house violates Standard 1 because it clearly makes far more than a minimal change to the defining characteristics of the site and environment.

It violates Standard 2 because it does not retain and preserve the historic character of the property.

It violates Standard 9, which requires it to be compatible with the massing, size and scale of the Tavern and the proposal is much larger than the Tavern. Its 4,200 square foot size, much larger overall mass, taller height, and location on a slope looming above the Tavern, all make it dramatically incompatible.

It violates Standard 10, because its environment would be significantly impaired and the construction would damage or kill the yard’s historic 234-year-old black walnut tree, a defining feature of the site.