Raleigh weighs controversial Oakwood house decision

Raleigh's Board of Adjustment voted to reverse a homeowner's building permit last week. (Photo Credit: Tommy Harris, WTVD)
March 18, 2014 1:50:36 PM PDT
Raleigh's City Council met behind closed doors with the city attorney about what to do with a modern home in the historic Oakwood neighborhood.

Raleigh's Board of Adjustment voted to reverse a homeowner's building permit last week and a "stop work" order could be issued any time, but now the city could join the homeowners to appeal that decision in court.

"Why did they let us keep our building permit and get as far as we did and risk our entire life savings," asked the home's owner Marsha Gordon.

Gordon and Louis Cherry have spent months building their dream house in Oakwood.

Tuesday, city council met with its attorney after the board of adjustment last week threw out the couple's permits.

"You hope that when you pay as much as you do for a building permit in the City of Raleigh that it really means something and I think the city needs to make it clear that they are willing to stand behind their building permits," said Gordon.

Now, a "stop work order" could come any moment and force the couple to halt construction.

"We need to get a roof on our house," said Cherry. "Right now, this rain is threatening the construction that we've done."

"We're going to end up with mold. We're going to end up with mildew," said Gordon.

Cherry and Gordon needed and received special permits to build in the historic neighborhood.

"As an architect, I thought it was a really interesting design challenge to design a home that is appropriate and fits in a neighborhood and expresses 2014 in a way that the older homes express for their eras," said Cherry.

Once the modern walls went up, a neighbor appealed the permit, and the city reversed its original approval.

"This is our property, how can we not be allowed to protect it," said Gordon.

The city department that will issue that "stop work order" is waiting on the Board of Adjustment's final written decision. The city is waiting for that before determining what course of action it will take, if any.

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