Durham Historic Preservation Commission to discuss possible Watts-Hillandale tear-down | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Durham Historic Preservation Commission to discuss possible Watts-Hillandale tear-down

Posted by on Tue, May 5, 2015 at 7:25 AM

Few events rile the residents of a historic district like a new home—especially when it requires the demolition of a well-maintained, 90-year-old Craftsman bungalow.

Today's Durham Historic Preservation Commission meeting (8:30 a.m., Durham City Hall) is likely to be an impassioned one as the the HPC has the unenviable task of weighing in on the fate of the Williams-Muse House at 2308 W. Club Blvd. Built in the 1920s, with two chimneys, sash windows, a gabled roof and French entrance door, it is considered a contributing structure to the historic Watts-Hillandale neighborhood.

click to enlarge The Williams-Muse House, 2308 W. Club Blvd. - DURHAM PLANNING DEPARTMENT
  • Durham Planning Department
  • The Williams-Muse House, 2308 W. Club Blvd.


But Trevor and Jordan Smith, the home's new owners, are asking the HPC for permission to tear down the 1,400-square-foot house and its garage, which they purchased for upward of $375,000, and to build a new home on the lot.


click to enlarge A drawing of the proposed new house that would replace the 1920s bungalow - DURHAM PLANNING DEPARTMENT
  • Durham Planning Department
  • A drawing of the proposed new house that would replace the 1920s bungalow


The couple grew up in South Carolina—reinforcing in Durham terms, their outsider status. After stints in the Northeastern U.S. and South Africa, the couple came to Durham with their three children. (They do have local connections: Trevor's brother coaches the Duke men's tennis team; Jordan graduated from UNC Chapel Hill.)

The Smiths originally planned to subdivide the 3/4-acre lot with "close friends" according to the staff report, preserve the current home and build a new one. But the lot was too narrow to be subdivided, so the Smiths' Plan B was to add on to the home. Although the city lists it in "sound condition," an engineering report states that it has foundation issues—as do many homes in Durham of a certain age—and can't handle the addition of a second story.

That brings us to the tear down, which many residents in the very active, very powerful, very vocal, don't-mess-with-them Watts-Hillandale neighborhood oppose. 

The demolition conflicts the neighborhood's preservation goals, according to city planning staff, which will make a recommendation to the HPC after today's public testimony.

A city ordinance allows historic homes to be demolished but only after a year-long waiting period. During that time, the HPC can negotiate with the property owner to find a way to preserve the home, such as moving it to a different lot.

There are occasions when the HPC can reduce the waiting time: if the property owner would "suffer extreme financial hardship," if the owner would be "permanently deprived of all beneficial use from the structure" or if the building has little historical value.

None of these exceptions applies to the Smiths, according to the city planning staff report.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Comments

"Since late November, Henderson County in Western North Carolina has seen 20 cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, and has …

by Liza Coutu on The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law (News)

What part of illegal don't they understand. Congress is considering the DACAs plus all other illegal aliens in a bill …

by john1050 on Durham Church Offers Immigrant Sanctuary from Deportation (News)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

"Since late November, Henderson County in Western North Carolina has seen 20 cases of pertussis, or whooping cough, and has …

by Liza Coutu on The Problem with N.C.’s Religious Exemption Law (News)

What part of illegal don't they understand. Congress is considering the DACAs plus all other illegal aliens in a bill …

by john1050 on Durham Church Offers Immigrant Sanctuary from Deportation (News)

From the WRAL story:
http://www.wral.com/former-wake-register-o…
"John Stephenson, the county's internal auditor, said an average of $1,100 to …

by Mojo on Indictments in Wake Register of Deeds Scandal Charge Laura Riddick with Embezzling $926,615 (News)

Hopefully Indyweek will remember all this the next time they endorse a Republican (over and over again).

by Robert Larson on Indictments in Wake Register of Deeds Scandal Charge Laura Riddick with Embezzling $926,615 (News)

Sessions has already strip mined the Civil Rights Division of the DoJ. Thankfully U.S. Senator Cory Booker, D-New Jersey is …

by growlybear on Senator Cory Booker Asks for the Release of a Department of Justice Memo on Thomas Farr’s Involvement in a Voter-Intimidation Scheme (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation