Local News

Court: Modern home OK to stay in Raleigh's historic Oakwood neighborhood

Posted February 16, 2016 10:23 a.m. EST
Updated February 16, 2016 6:40 p.m. EST

— A modern home built in Raleigh's historic Oakwood neighborhood won't go anywhere after the North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday settled a dispute by ruling in favor of the homeowners.

Marsha Gordon and Louis Cherry were granted necessary permits to build the contemporary house at 516 Euclid St., including a certificate of appropriateness from the Raleigh Historic Development Commission.

Despite that, construction of the home irked neighbors, who argued that the house didn't fit with the character of Oakwood and would bring down property values. Neighbor Gail Wiesner filed a complaint over the home, leading the city's Board of Adjustment to reverse its certificate and suspend construction of the home.

A Superior Court judge reversed that decision in September 2014, and the Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld it.

The court said allegations that the home would bring down property values on the street were not sufficient reason to reverse the decision.

"The use of the property for a single-family residence is clearly lawful," the court said in its ruling.

Cherry and Gordon expressed relief at the court's unanimous ruling.

"One positive outcome of this has been there's been a lot of discussion about what the preservation guidelines are, which is to protect the old but not to freeze a neighborhood in time," Gordon said. "That would be an amazing thing to come out of this, that no one else has to go through what we went through because people understand the preservation principles better than before."

The couple, who have been living in the house for more than a year, said they look forward to being part of "the eclectic Oakwood neighborhood" for years to come.

Wiesner declined to comment on the court's decision, saying she hadn't yet read the ruling. Her attorney said they are reviewing their options, including asking the state Supreme Court to hear an appeal.

Other neighbors, meanwhile, said that scars from the dispute remain but that Oakwood is like a family and most people have already moved past the fight.