Commentary

Endangered places

November 13, 2013 

Northside, one of Chapel Hill’s eight Neighborhood Conservation Districts, is characterized by modest, single-family homes as seen here on North Graham Street. This neighborhood character is threatened by new apartment buildings, subdivision of homes into duplexes, and downtown development, according to Preservation Chapel Hill.

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 eight Neighborhood Conservation Districts: Northside, Greenwood, Pine Knolls, Kings Mill-Morgan Creek, Mason Farm-Whitehead Circle, Coker Hills, Highland Woods and Glen Lennox.

Our Neighborhood Conservation Districts are a zoning overlay that many residents of Chapel Hill aren’t aware protect significant historic neighborhoods. Used effectively across the country to complement local historic districts, conservation districts use locally-enforced regulations to protect the visual continuity and architectural integrity of historic neighborhoods. House Bill 150/Senate Bill 139 has been introduced to remove local authority to regulate building design outside of local historic districts. The legislation will almost certainly pass, and the result will be the removal of the only protection from demolition and incongruent infill that these neighborhoods currently have.

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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