The property at 36 Yogananda St. was part of the Lanza estate to which surviving son Ryan Lanza is the sole heir.
Officials in Newtown voted Wednesday night to tear down the home where Adam Lanza lived before he carried out the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The vote by the Newtown Legislative Council approved a proposal by the board of selectmen to raze the 3,100-square-foot home and keep the land as open space.
Lanza’s attorney, Kenneth Gruder, arranged for the transfer through a series of transactions so that probate records would not show the city acquiring the property from the Lanza family.
Attorney Gruder said the notoriety of the home had made it essentially unsellable.
Although several families of the victims have called for the house to be demolished because it is a constant reminder of the massacre, there was no announcement of plans for the property.
In an article in the Newtown Bee, First Selectman Patricia Llodra said that she had reached out to victims’ families for suggestions.
Ian and Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son, Dylan, died in the shooting, have said they moved out of the neighbourhood because seeing that house across the way was too painful for them.
Neighbour Dave Ackart wrote, “Not only is the property a constant reminder of the evil that resided there — those of us who walk, run, drive, ride or otherwise must pass it multiple times a day, are having a hard time moving on.”
Llodra was unsure how much demolition would cost, but estimated it could be around $27,000.
Legislative Council member Phillip Carroll said a Sandy Hook fundraiser that brought in $1.2 million still has about $260,000 left. “The money for the demolition can come from this fund,” he said.
Llodra has asked town attorneys to write something into the deed that will prohibit the town from profiting from any future sale or development of the land.
“Any proceeds, should the property ever be developed, would be for the benefit of the victims,” she said.
Household items incinerated
The Lanza family moved from southern New Hampshire and bought the new house in 1998. It has been sitting vacant since the shooting.
Everything inside, including rugs and lighting fixtures, has been removed and incinerated so nothing could become memorabilia.
But neighbours say it has become a destination for macabre tourists “who still drive by and pause and take photos on a regular basis,” Ackart wrote.
Llodra said she polled the victims’ families and neighbours, and most support the plan to tear the house down. But not everyone likes the idea of leaving the space open.
DeLoughy said she would rather the property be sold and a new home built on the property.
“Leaving the property to nature would mean there is still a sense of darkness in our neighbourhood,” she said. “Love and light that a new family would bring would help heal some of the very deep wounds we are still tending to.”