Commentary

Help save Chapel Hill’s ‘Endangered Places’

November 5, 2013 

Historic districts are threatened with demolition of historic properties as more and more historic homes are sold in these areas.

PRESERVATION CHAPEL HILL

One of Preservation Chapel Hill’s primary advocacy efforts each year is to publish a list of Chapel Hill’s endangered places to raise awareness about the threats that face our most important historic treasures. The list is released each May during Preservation Month and becomes the focus of the group’s preservation efforts for the coming year.

This year’s list includes Chapel Hill’s three local historic districts, Franklin-Rosemary, Cameron-McCauley, and Gimghoul. These areas are threatened by inadequate protection from demolition, especially as more and more historic homes are being sold to new owners.

The town’s current process for demolition in a local historic district is to apply for a demolition permit from the Historic District Commission. If approved, demolition can begin immediately. If denied, the applicant must wait only one year to start demolition. Our neighbors in Apex have had great success with a longer delay before demolition – a strategy that may have saved properties such as the Dey House, demolished in 2006 and still an empty lot, the St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Gimghoul, and a number of additional properties scheduled to hit the chopping block later this year.

You can help save historic places in our community by volunteering your time with Preservation Chapel Hill or by making a tax-deductible donation to help fund preservation initiatives. Call Cheri Szcodronski, executive director, at 919-942-7818 for more information. Or, visit preservationchapelhill.org to view the complete list of 2013 Endangered Places, learn more about our volunteer program or to make a donation.

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