To the editor:

I have owned a house in downtown Madison for the past eight years and enjoy the historic nature of the community. I have also completed an Ivy Tech historic preservation workshop and have come to understand the importance of preserving in the Historic District.

My neighbor on East Street recently started to restore his side porch and replace missing windows. I was surprised to learn that the building inspector and two policemen showed up at his residence with a stop work order citing the fact that he had not presented the Madison Historic District with his plans.

He is not changing the exterior appearance yet he is issued a stop work order. No one ask him about his intention but have just ordered him to stop.

I read the local ordinance to say that what he was doing is allowed under a couple of difference clauses: "Ordinary maintenance or repair is defined in the ordinance as "Any work whose purpose and effect is to correct any deterioration or decay or damage to a structure or any part thereof, and to restore the same as nearly as may be practicable, to its original condition.."

My neighbor has taken great care to find the right materials, siding, windows and style to make this a worthwhile restoration. We have houses in the neighborhood that are in a serious state of disrepair yet it is my neighbor who is pursued. I'm not sure this action serves our community very well. The unfinished project certainly will be a distraction in our neighborhood and will have a negative impact on our community.

Jack Sandlin