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By Richard Weizel
NEWTOWN, Conn., Jan 21 (Reuters) - The town council of Newtown, Connecticut, voted unanimously on Wednesday to demolish the home of a 20-year-old man who killed 26 children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.
By a vote of 12-0, the council agreed that the white colonial-style house of the gunman, Adam Lanza, be razed under a plan that would preserve the lot as open space, at least for the short term.
Lanza shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, on Dec. 14, 2012, at their home shortly before driving to the school to continue his shooting spree, killing 20 first-graders and six adult staffers before taking his own life.
“We sought considerable input from the (victims’) families, and the overwhelming sentiment was to tear down the house and leave it as open space. Under my tenure, I can’t see doing anything else with that property,” Patricia Llodra, Newtown’s highest elected official, told the council before the vote.
The vote accepting the unanimous recommendation of the Newtown Board of Selectmen, the administrative body led by Llodra, was taken quickly at the start of Wednesday night’s town council meeting with little debate or discussion.
“Everybody on the council agreed this was the right thing to do and is in the best interests of the community. There was nothing else to say,” Council Chairman Mary Ann Jacob said.
Llodra said she expects the home to be demolished by the spring.
The house, appraised at $523,000, was given to the town at no cost by Hudson City Savings Bank in December, which acquired it a few months earlier after Nancy Lanza’s other son and only heir, Ryan Lanza, sold it.
Llodra said she would urge the town to place a limitation on the deed so that any economic benefit from a future sale or development of the 2.1-acre property would benefit the families of the victims.
Llodra said she realized that town leaders may decide decades from now to permit development of the property.
Town officials put the estimated cost of razing the house at$29,000, which they expect would be covered by the municipal insurance policy.
The town demolished Sandy Hook Elementary School last year and is building a new school on the site. (Reporting by Richard Weizel from Newtown, Conn.; Editing by Steve Gorman and Ken Wills)