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Council Rejects Protection for Historic Buildings

By Marina Giovannelli

Wilmington, NC – At last night's meeting, the Wilmington City Council rejected protections for historic buildings in downtown.

A motion by Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo keeps laws in place that allow historic buildings to be demolished and replaced with taller ones.

Building guidelines for downtown were discussed for over an hour last night, with architects, developers and preservationists weighing in. Mayor Saffo says he thinks it's important to preserve historic structures, but he's gotten a lot of input from developers who'd be constrained by building restrictions.

"They look at trying to preserve these buildings, but in the event that they can't preserve them, and that they are functionally obsolete, they ought to be able to take them down," says Saffo.

The City's planning staff will rewrite the building guidelines, and City Council will vote again in two weeks.

Changes to billboards were approved during the five-hour meeting, so now advertisers can move old billboards and replace them with new digital ones, but the number of signs will stay the same or decrease.

Next time there's a vacant seat on City Council, existing members will select a candidate over the course of two public meetings.

And sex offenders are now prohibited from entering public parks, although council members acknowledged this law will be difficult to enforce.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@whqr.org.