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.
First Selectwoman Pat Llodra said she expects the Lanza house will be razed once winter is over. The property was given to the town in December by a bank that acquired it from the Lanza family.
Neighbours had been pleading with town officials to tear down the house of the mass murderer, with one resident saying it's "a constant reminder of the evil that resided there."
Inside the large yellow house with green shutters on Yogananda Street is where Lanza shot his mother to death Dec. 14, 2012, before killing 20 first-graders and six educators at nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School. He then committed suicide.
Amy DeLoughy, whose house sits across the street, wrote to the council that her children's bus stop had to be moved because it was too scary for the kids to wait near the house.
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.
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, have 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."