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Raleigh mayor hopes controversial modern house stays put

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Neighbors have complained a home under construction in the 500 block of Euclid Street is too contemporary. Neighbors have complained a home under construction in the 500 block of Euclid Street is too contemporary.
Louis Cherry is the architect and homeowner. Louis Cherry is the architect and homeowner.

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane hopes a modern home under construction in Historic Oakwood is not torn down, despite orders from a city board for just that to happen.

In a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, Raleigh city councilors considered appealing a Board of Adjustment ruling that a home under construction in the 500 block of Euclid Street be torn down because it's too contemporary.

"This is the first time we've ever had this outcome, so we're really taking a close look at all of those processes to determine why we ended up here when we haven't had that before," McFarlane said.  "Clearly, this is a difficult situation.  We want to make sure it doesn't happen again."

The mayor would not discuss the legal details that were considered in closed session, but hinted the controversial house could stay put.

"I would certainly hope they would not have to tear down the house," McFarlane said.

Last September, the Raleigh Historic Development Commission awarded married couple Louis Cherry and Marsha Gordon a certificate of appropriateness, so construction on their new home could begin.

In November, Gail Weisner, who lives directly across the street from the construction, asked the city's Board of Adjustment to review that finding, arguing the home did not fit in with the turn of the century architecture surrounding it.  Earlier this month, the board voted three to two to repeal that certificate, though Louis Cherry, the architect and homeowner, says he has not heard any official word that construction must stop.

Today, Cherry was encouraged by McFarlane's comments.

"Yeah, that's good news," he said.  "It is very hard for me to imagine a world in which the house would really be torn down.  I mean, that just seems so absurd and crazy."

The Weisner's declined WNCN's on camera interview request, as did their next door neighbor, who also wants the home gone, but Heather Scott, who serves as a spokesperson for some of the neighbors that have complained about the home, said via email, "The historic preservation of Oakwood is important to the City of Raleigh.  There is a process in place to protect the integrity of the neighborhood and we are confident that this process is fair."

Other neighbors said they were fine with the home.

"This has made me real sad that folks haven't been a little more open-minded," Sue Rudkin said.

"We actually moved here knowing the house was going to be built and it was actually a reason that we purchased the house," Lou Pascucci said.

Raleigh city attorney Thomas McCormick declined to say if the city has decided to appeal the Board of Adjustment's ruling.  If the city does decide to appeal, the dispute would head to superior court for a final decision.

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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