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Posted: 12:55 p.m. Friday, Jan. 31, 2014
By Allison Latos
CHARLOTTE, N.C. —
Residents in Charlotte's Dilworth neighborhood claim the history of Charlotte's first suburb is being destroyed. "It's being eroded one house at a time," said John Phares, of the Preserve Historic Dilworth group. PHD claims Charlotte's Historic District Commission doesn't follow guidelines and allows construction on historic properties that damage their unique character. "They need to revamp the process. They need to train the commissioners and train the inspectors," said Phares. Phares said when he and other neighbors witnessed construction of a home on Lyndhurst Avenue, it was the final straw. "The molding, the trim and roof forms are gone," said Phares. "It is important that homeowners respect the character of this environment. Otherwise, why did they move here?" said neighbor Jack Fenlon. The homeowner defended the project to Channel 9 in an email. "Investigators came to the project site and found no violations nor required us to stop any work" said owner Timothy Sheriff. Property owners receive 30 percent tax credits on rehabbing historic homes. In fact, according to state officials, over the past 15 years, Mecklenburg County homeowners were eligible to recoup more than $11 million. "It saved me and my family over $30,000," said Phares. Those neighbors worry if Dilworth loses its historic status, their wallets will take a hit. They sent a letter to Charlotte City Manager Ron Carlee, asking him to step in so Charlotte can keep growing while keeping its history alive. The state and city officials are halfway through a survey of Charlotte's six historic districts which will be complete in the fall of 2014. Channel 9 spoke with a city official at the Historic District Commission who said the commission members are appointed to the job. Channel 9 requested a response to the neighbor’s claims through several e-mails and phone calls, but so far has not gotten one back.
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