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Can a structurally sound house in the historic district be demolished to build a new one?

Ken Little

“In short, the answer is yes,” said Kaye Graybeal, director of development services for the city of Wilmington.

“In the case of any demolition citywide, a permit is needed from the (New Hanover) County Building Inspections Office after obtaining the city’s sign-off,” Graybeal said.

Within the city’s local historic districts, a permit must also be obtained from the Wilmington Historic Preservation Commission, Graybeal added.

The commission may delay the city’s sign-off for a demolition permit for up to 365 days, “with variances from that time frame being granted depending on the historic and structural integrity of the building.”

“If the building has both historic and structural integrity, it is likely that the stay of demolition would be required for the entire 365 days, so that options other than demolition can be explored,” Graybeal said. “If the building is structurally sound, but has no historic significance, then the entire stay of demolition would be waived.”

If a historic building is within the National Register Historic District and not in any of the city’s local historic districts, then a 90-day notice to the Historic Preservation Commission is required. After that period, the building may be demolished after obtaining the permit, Graybeal said.

Anyone planning to demolish a building within historic areas of the city should call the Planning Division at (910) 254-0900 to learn what the requirements are, Graybeal said.

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