Wesley Heights community seeks to find balance between development, history

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Preservation brings pride to Charlotte's Wesley Heights neighborhood, and in this west Charlotte community, battle lines are being drawn between historic charm and a future driven by ongoing development.

Historic protections are perhaps being threatened, and Kevin Jones and his neighbor Meredith Wailes are leading the charge against the new condo complex that's on the drawing board for Wesley Heights.

"A big reason why I bought in this neighborhood was because I thought this was a protected community," Jones said. "It's time to respect our historic community."

Developer Bobby Drakeford is asking that a little more than a half-acre be rezoned on Walnut Avenue to allow the building of a new condo development.

"When the city asked could we retain the structures out front and develop behind it. I thought it was a great idea. I was on the historic landmarks commission eight years. I'm a big proponent of historic property," Drakeford said.

The developer is quick to point out that what's suggested for this area was once endorsed by the neighbors. A question now remains can both sides co-exist.

"Growth in the era is inevitable," Drakeford said.

Meredith Wailes sees it another way, "We also think it's important to keep our single-family homes with integrity.

City Council could approve the project by mid-February.

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