Waxhaw hopes to preserve past with creation of historic district

Waxhaw hopes to preserve past with creation of historic district

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by NewsChannel 36 Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on April 7, 2010 at 6:36 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 7 at 6:39 PM

WAXHAW, N.C. -- The town of Waxhaw's historic district is on the National Register of Historic Places, but that gives the town virtually no authority to preserve its history.

That could soon change with the creation of a local historic district, which will allow Waxhaw to preserve its past.

"The town needs to protect me and my investment," said Judy Wiles, who owns a historic home in the town.

Many Waxhaw residents say the town's future is all about its past.

"I think the town has a responsibility to preserve the heritage that we have here," Wiles said.

More than 700 acres and 93 buildings were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1991, but that hasn't stopped historic homes from being demolished to make way for new development.

"It breaks my home to see any historic home taken down," said one Waxhaw resident.

The Dare Steele home in Waxhaw was built in 1901.

"It's one of the best examples of this architectural era in the Waxhaw area," said Mayor Daune Gardner.

But without a local historic district in place to establish the do's and don'ts of historic preservation, the home could be history.

"When you get something like that local, that implements guidelines and restrictions so that only certainly types of restoration or even new construction can occur," said Katie Ross, a Waxhaw town planner.

That's exactly what Wiles wants to hear after putting a lot of time, sweat and money into restoring her house.

"I would be heartbroken if someone would be allowed to tear down a historic home next door," Wiles said.

Waxhaw planners do say any new historic district guidelines cannot and will not strip away owner's rights. They'll be allowed to implement structural and development changes within reason.

The Waxhaw Town Council will discuss the creation of a local historic district at a meeting Thursday night.

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