Wesley Heights neighbors try to save historic home from demolition

Wesley Heights neighbors try to save historic home from demolition

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Across the city, Charlotte continues its clash of old versus new.

“There’s a charm about old with new,” Shannon Hughes says. “And we don’t have a lot of old.”

Hughes, who is president of the neighborhood association, and other Wesley Heights neighbors are fighting to save that – the old.

“We had never had a demolition on purpose,” he says. “Nothing that was purchased with the intention of redeveloping the lot.”

Not until now, with a home on Summit Avenue.

Hughes says it’s sat on its lot for 94 years. A new owner wants to tear it down.

“This little house adds to the big puzzle,” he says.

‘The big puzzle,’ that is, of development throughout the city. Some worry that progress is edging out history.

“It’s kind of the west side story now,” Hughes says. “It’s kind of the story of Charlotte. Is history valued, or is new development more important?”

He and other neighbors have signed a petition to save the home.

“It sets a precedent that the history of our changing city is not worth saving,” Jason Clark says. “But it is.”

“The erosion of potential of what could happen with other homes, other lots, other places in our neighborhood,” Lauren Brown says.

The homeowner asked for the Historic District Commission’s permission to demo the home in February. The commission delayed it 365 days – the most they could do, Hughes says.

“There are very few remaining historic areas in Charlotte,” he says. “And Wesley Heights is one of the most intact historic districts.”

Hughes says only five or six historic homes have been torn down in 20 years, and he wants to keep it that way.

“Once it’s gone, it’s not coming back,” he says.

The historic district can delay a project like this, and make it lengthy and expensive in an attempt to keep owners from tearing down, Hughes says. But as he put it, here, they really don’t have ‘teeth’ to stop something like that, not when he compares it to places like Savannah, or Charleston.

WBTV reached out to the property owner for this home Tuesday, but did not hear back.

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