North Carolina. Division of Community Planning.

Wilmington, North Carolina : historic area, a part of the future land-use plan online

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torical district preserve their properties. Local his-
torical societies will have to assume the responsibility
for proper development of the area and take the initia-
tive in sponsoring the many organizational and legal
steps necessary to properly preserve the area.

Part of the problem of preserving older houses is making
them revenue producing units within the community. This
most often means that different ways must be found for
making each building earn sufficient income for its
proper maintenance and repair. The MacRae-Dix House and
Wessel - Harr i s-Boney House are being used as offices for
professional people. Most of the other houses are being
used for residential purposes. At one time St. John's
Lodge was used as a restaurant, but this was discon-
tinued. Whenever a contemporary use can be found which
will help preserve these significant buildings it should
be encouraged.


There are three different methods of organizing histor-
ical districts for public view: the museum village, his-
toric trails, and open house tours. Old Salem in Winston-
Salem has been set up as a museum village and naturally
one of the most famous of all is Williamsburg. It is
necessary that historic buildings be grouped closely to-
gether for museum villages to be successful. New Bern in
recent years has made many renovations of their old
houses and have set up a historic trail which individuals
can follow. Houses are identified by plaques outside.
Open house tours of historical places have been tried in
Wilmington. On specified days some historic houses are
open to the public and visitors are urged to gather in
groups to make the tour. Wilmington's historical build-
ings are much too scattered for a museum village, but
either the historic trail or open house tours would be
appl icable.

There are several different ways in which municipal
government can help preserve historic areas. The power to
provide certain tax exemptions has been used in New
Orleans as well as the power to purchase or acquire his-
torical property in danger of being demolished. At the
present time North Carolina does not have sufficient
state legislation empowering cities to do either of these


The most common method of regulating historical buildings
and districts is through zoning. This is the method which
Winston-Salem has used in protecting Old Salem. Although
at the present time there is no specific state legisla-
tion providing for historic area zoning or architectural
control it may be assumed that these are permissive
under existing state statutes on zoning. The general pro-
cedure is to make regulations for the preservation of a
historic district an amendment to or a part of an exist-
ing zoning ordinance. This creates a new zone within
which a special board approves or rejects plans for
building, altering, repairing, or demolishing any struc-
ture. The powers of the board are limited to a review of
exterior design and construction, thereby assuring de-
velopment in character with neighboring buildings and
with the general spirit of the entire historical dis-

This is one of the things which the City of Wilmington
might easily do to help the preservation of historic
buildings. A proposal for such a zoning amendment is pro-
v ided i n the Append i x.


^^^_/"~ •*"— ^Js



A survey and evaluation of old buildings in Wilmington
indicated 35 structures worthy of preservation because
of their historical and architectural importance. These
are scattered throughout the area from Church Street at
the River to Market Street at Eighth. This area not only
contains historical buildings, but many community facil-
ities and other homes constructed after 1900 which lend
themselves to the character of the area. The entire area
is homogeneous in its character and organizing it as the
"Wilmington Historical District" will help preserve its
identity and character.

It is recommended that an amendment be made to Wilming-
ton's existing zoning ordinance as proposed in the Ap-
pendix. Such amendment would regulate future, construc-
tion within the historical district. Construction plans
for building, altering or demolishing any structure
would be reviewed by a Board of Architectural Review.
Such review would be limited to exterior design consid-
erations in order to protect the character of the his-
torical district. This would not mean that all new con-
struction had to be designed in a proposed style, but
that the design would respect the general scale, ma-
terials, and siting of other buildings in the area.

It is recommended that the Lower Cape Fear Historical
Society assume responsibility for organizing public par-
ticipation in the preservation of the "Wilmington His-
torical District."

It is recommended, that plans for historic trails, open
house tours, and general public appreciation of the his-
torical area be developed. And that additional methods
be investigated to protect historic buildings, such as
the feasibility of governmental tax concessions and the
formation of private trusts to purchase historical build-
ings in danger of being demolished.

It is recommended that the City recognize the value of
the Wilmington Historical District in its Planning and
Redevelopment functions. That future land-use plans and
proposals for major changes in the structure of the area
take into consideration the preservation of the character
of the area; and that the Planning Board with the advice
of members of the New Hanover Council of Architects and
the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society recommend the pro-
posed zoning amendment to the City Council for action.



l >*iiW : °'-




BE IT ORDAINED AND ENACTED by the City Council of Wilmington, State
of North Carolina, that the zoning ordinance of the City of Wilming-
ton be amended to include the following regulations:

Section I. Purpose

The purpose of this amendment is to promote the educa-
tional, cultural, and general welfare of the public through the pres-
ervation and protection of historic buildings, places and areas, and
to maintain such districts as landmarks in the history of Wilmington,
as examples of past architectural styles, and as a reminder of Wil-
mington as it existed in the past.

Section 2. Special Building Permit Required

All applications for permits to build, alter, or demol-
ish buildings or structures, located in any Historic Buildings Dis-
trict, shall be subject to review and approval by the Board of Archi-
tectural Review. Evidence of such required approval shall be a cer-
tificate of approx i mateness issued by such Board. Such certificate
shall be a statement signed by the chairman of the Board of Archi-
tectural Review stating that the exterior architectural features of
the proposed construction, reconstruction, alteration, or restoration
for which application has been made are approved by the Board of
Architectural Review.

Section 3. Creation of Board of Architectural Review

A Board of Architectural Review is hereby created, con-
sisting of four members to be appointed by the City Council, two of
whom shall be members of the American Institute of Architects, one a
member of the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society, and one member who
shall be a resident of the City and the V ice-Chai rman of the Planning
Commission who shall serve as an ex-officio member with full voting
rights. Each member shall be appointed from a list of nominees sub-
mitted to the City Council by the Wilmington chapters or members of
the respective organizations. In case any of the organizations shall
fail to make the same within thirty days after a written request
therefor, the City Council, on its own nomination shall appoint the
member. The terms of office of the members shall be four years. Two
of the initial appointive members shall be appointed for four years,
and two for two years, and subsequently, members shall be appointed
for terms of four years as successive vacancies occur.


Section 4. Powers and Duties of the Board

It shall be the function of the Board of Architectural
Review to pass upon the appropriateness of altering or demolishing
any building or structure within any Historic Buildings District. The
Board may require interior and exterior photographs, architectural
drawings, or other notations of architectural features to be used for
historical documentation as a condition of any permission to demolish
a building or structure.

It shall be the function of the Board of Architectural
Review to pass upon the appropriateness of exterior architectual fea-
tures including signs and other exterior fixtures of any new build-
ings and structures to be constructed within Historic Buildings Dis-

It shall be the function of the Board of Architectural
Review to pass upon the appropriateness of any new use of any build-
ing or structures within any Historic Buildings District.

It shall be the function of the Board of Architectural
Review to pass upon the appropriateness of front yards, side yards,
rear yards, off-street parking spaces, location of entrance drives
into the property, sidewalks along the public right-of-way, and any
trees or plantings which might effect the character of any building
or structure within any Historic Buildings District.

The Board of Architectural Review in passing upon appli-
cations, shall consider, among other things, the general design,
arrangement, texture, material, and color of the building or other
structure in question and the relation of such factors to similar
features of buildings in the immediate surroundings. The Board shall
not consider interior arrangement, nor shall it make any requirements
except for the purpose of preventing developments obviously incon-
gruous to the old historic aspects of the surroundings.

All plans, elevations, and other information necessary
to determine the appropriateness of the features to be passed upon,
together with a copy of the application for a building or zoning per-
mit, shall be made available to the Board of Architectural Review by
the Zoning Officer.

The Board of Architectural Review shall meet within ten
days after notification by the zoning officer of the filing of an
application for a building permit for any structure located in any
Historic Buildings District, and at such other times as the Board may
determine or upon call of the Chairman.


Section 5- Approval by the Board

Upon approval of any application, the Board of Archi-
tectural Review shall forthwith transmit a report to the Zoning Of-
ficer stating the basis upon which such approval was made, and cause
a certificate of appropriateness to be issued to the applicant. Upon
failure of the Board to the final action upon an application within
forty-five days after the application for a permit, the case shall be
deemed to be approved, except when mutual agreement has been made for
an extension of the time limit.

When a certificate of appropriateness has been issued, a
copy thereof shall be transmitted to the Zoning Officer, who shall
from time to time inspect the construction or alteration approved by
such certificate, and report to the Board any work not in accordance
with such certificate.

Section 6. Disapproval by the Board

In case of disapproval of any application, the Board of
Architectural Review shall state the reasons therefor in written
statement to the applicant, in terms of design, arrangements, tex-
ture, material, color, and the like of the property involved.

Notice of such disapproval and a copy of the written
statement of reasons therefor shall also be transmitted to the Zoning
Officer. In the event of refusal of the Board of Architectural Review
to issue a certificate of appropriateness, appeals from such action
may be taken to the New Hanover County Superior Court.



College Hill - A Demonstration Study of Historic Area Renewal - Con-
ducted by Providence City Plan Commission in cooperation with Provi-
dence Preservation Society and the Housing and Home Finance Agency -

Tales and Traditions of the Lower Cape Fear, 1661-1896 - by James
Sprunt, LeGwin Brothers, Printers, Wilmington, North Carolina - 1896.

The Book of Wilmington, 1730-1930 - Andrew Howel 1 , Wi 1m ing ton Morn-
ing Star -1927-

The Early Architecture of North Carolina - Frances Benjamin Johnston,
with an architectural history by Thomas Tilestown Waterman, Univer-
sity of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, North Carolina - 1947.

The North Carol ina Guide - Edited by Blackwell P. Robinson, Univer-
sity of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, North Carolina - 1955-

Wilmington, North Carolina, Do You Remember When? - Henry B. McKoy,
Greenville, South Carolina - 1957.



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Online LibraryNorth Carolina. Division of Community PlanningWilmington, North Carolina : historic area, a part of the future land-use plan → online text (page 2 of 2)