CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte's historic Cherry Neighborhood just outside of uptown is changing as builders bring in high-end housing, replacing affordable homes that have been around for decades.
City leaders are holding discussions on how to move forward as more Charlotte neighborhoods become gentrified.
"We are having real conversations about gentrification that I don't think we've ever had before," District 3 Representative LaWana Mayfield said.
Mayfield hopes conversations like the one the Housing and Neighborhood Development Committee had Wednesday will eventually lead to new ordinances to strengthen communities with diverse housing.
The historic Cherry Neighborhood, like many others in Charlotte, is growing and changing along with the city, and people like Billie Long don't like it.
"It's like they're trying to take down all the historics and revitalize it with all these new, big houses," Long, a Cherry Neighborhood resident, said.
Long lives down the street from her sister, who lives in an older Cherry duplex, now surrounded by newer and more expensive homes.
She said they're tearing down the old affordable homes to build new expensive homes and apartments, out of many people's price range.
"We want to encourage development, we want mechanisms for property values to increase, but we also want to be able to keep people in their homes," District 5 Representative John Autry said.
Councilmembers continued discussions Wednesday about how to develop economically strong neighborhoods while also being sensitive to residents.
They'll be looking at the demands of the real estate market and identifying areas most vulnerable to housing displacement.
Mayfield said she doesn't want to "bleach" communities along the way.
"We tend to go in and as you clean, you remove everything that once was in order to create something new," Mayfield said.
City leaders are looking at how other cities are dealing with gentrification. They're specifically studying Washington, D.C., and Portland, Oregon, as well as San Francisco and Oakland.
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