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Quaint Wilmington neighborhood joins historic district

READ MORE: Quaint Wilmington neighborhood joins historic district
The Westbrook-Ardmore neighborhood is Wilmington's eighth historic district. The quaint neighborhood near Wrightsville Avenue and 17th Street was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. Neighbors, city officials, and preservationists gathered for the announcement Wednesday evening. "It establishes great credibility and significance to an area and I think what it does is help instill in people that my place is special," said George Edwards of the Historic Wilmington Foundation. The Westbrook-Ardmore homes are 80 to 90 years old; many of them turn of the century bungalows. "This neighborhood was built by developers, one of the first historic neighborhoods in Wilmington to be built by developers, so you have nice uniformity, but you still see wonderful diversity," Edwards said. But what's a historic neighborhood without friendly neighbors to live in the cherished homes? Westbrook-Ardmore resident Jill Blackman said, "We all chat with one another, we know one another, we hail each other from front porches, our kids are playing on the sidewalk." There is more to living in a historic neighborhood than just the title. Greg Wessel, also a Westbrook-Ardmore resident, said, "It's good to know we'll have the advantage of tax credits and recognition that this neighborhood has long deserved." Many hope the historic designation will help slow the process of the Alcohol Beverage Commission expanding its 17th Street facility. That has already resulted in the demolition of some homes in the Westbrook-Ardmore neighborhood.

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Historic Preservation Committee, no thanks.

You just signed up for outside control of what you can do with your property. The Historic Preservation Committee now controls what color you may paint, what remodeling you may do, what trees you may cut down. Enjoy.

The other comment is all

The other comment is all wrong. The HPC has no control over this Westbrook district. It's a National Register district and has a federal guideline that only means a 90 day stay of demolition is in place, instead of a zero day delay, and residents can take a federal tax break. That's it. Meanwhile, the Historic Preservation Commission has jurisdiction in the much smaller Local Historic Districts downtown. In those local districts HPC has design review power through hearings - powers that extend, at their most stringent, to a 365 day stay of demolition and input in development and extensive external changes to a historic property. This oversight is bought into by people living in local districts, it gives owners a bigger tax break and means inappropriate development is difficult in a local historic district. That's good for heritage tourism (people want to see Wilmington's beautiful houses and districts), quality of life for residents, and it keeps their property prices good and high as no-one can stick a Wal-Mart at 4th and Dock.