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Why doesn’t the city crack down on dilapidated housing as it enforces preservation rules?

Shelby Sebens
StarNews

A home in the 1100 block of Wooster Street. StarNews photo.

Q. There is a story in the community about the restoration of an historical home on Fifth Street in downtown Wilmington and the difficulty the person encountered from the historical society. My question is does (or why doesn’t) the historical society create the same level of difficulty for property owners that allow unrepaired, run-down or dilapidated houses to stand for years.

A. From Malissa Talbert, city spokeswoman:

It is the city’s goal to preserve our diverse housing stock and to enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Wilmington by providing safe, clean, and welcoming neighborhoods. City staff welcome the opportunity to provide information and assistance to property owners who seek to restore properties as those efforts will benefit the market value of the property in question, as well as surrounding properties. The neighborhood fabric is maintained, thereby adding value to the entire area.

If needed, the city utilizes Code Enforcement and Historic Preservation Commission regulations, as well as Historic Wilmington Foundation and affordable housing non-profit initiatives, to help preserve and rehabilitate deteriorated and dilapidated structures.

The city’s primary goal is to preserve historic buildings and affordable housing, but owners of properties in significant disrepair can be fined if those properties are not brought up to code within a specified time frame. In most cases, staff are able to work with property owners and provide flexibility on timelines to get the required work done, if the property owner has an action plan to bring the building up to code.

The city has home minor repair and rehabilitation loans available to qualifying applicants that may help owners bring their properties into compliance, and staff are available to provide information about dealing with historic structures. Anyone with questions can find information on the city’s website at http://www.wilmingtonnc.gov/ or call:

Code Enforcement regulations: 341-3266

Historic Preservation regulations: 341-3251

Home repair and rehabilitation loans: 341-7836

RELATED LINKS:

How are local parks and historic sites marked?

How can I take a tour of historic spots in Wilmington?

User-contributed question by:
bradley dunnbar

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