Neighbors upset Raleigh home was torn down

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Standing in the pouring rain, umbrella in hand, David Anderson nodded Friday to an empty, expansive lot where just last week the house his grandfather built nearly 90 years ago stood.

"My grandfather, Vance Anderson Sr., built this house in 1927," he said, surrounded by friends and neighbors who looked just as disappointed it's now gone.

"When the people on the demolition crew are telling you that it's a well-built house and it's a shame to be tearing it down, that tells you something," Anderson said.

The house, which was not on Raleigh's historic register, had only belonged to one other family before its newest owners closed on the property last fall and decided to tear it down. The owner's designer, David Kenoyer told ABC11 it was a difficult decision for the family after learning renovations would have exceeded the finished home's market value.


"There's the matter of individual property rights, but there is also the issue of stewardship," said Anderson.

Some neighbors agree with him, saying buyers moving into Raleigh's older neighborhoods should work to preserve the history and character, if not by renovating the home then at least by leaving the mature trees in their place like the pecan tree Anderson's grandfather planted that's now gone.

"You can drive down Anderson now and see where there used to be a full canopy. There is no canopy any longer," said Tracy Traer of the toll development has taken on the old trees in their neighborhood.

"One sad thing about it is it doesn't have to happen this way," said Terry Snyder, who lives nearby. "There's other people in my neighborhood that are renovating and building on."

Anderson said it's time for Raleigh residents to band together and contact their respective city council members.

"Every day, we are losing huge chunks of the historical character and the natural landscape of the city," said Anderson. "And at a certain point, we have a right to decide what kind of city we live in."

Edie Jeffreys, who's running for Bonner Gaylord's seat in Raleigh's District E, was with Anderson and others on White Oak Rd. Friday morning. She said she's been talking with neighbors for years about the need to protect old homes and trees. She's now running on the promise to strengthen the city's Unified Development Ordinance to minimize the unpredictable nature of development.

"As soon as the house is sold next to you, you don't know what's going to happen to you," she said.

Gaylord tells Eyewitness News, he understands the concerns; however, he said has not heard directly from anyone who lives on White Oak Rd. or in the surrounding neighborhood over issues of home demolition or tree removal.

"Redevelopment is natural," he said. "If a neighborhood wants to protect the character of their neighborhood, then they should pursue an historic overlay district or neighborhood conservation overlay district. And I'm happy to help with that," he said.

As far as salvaging important pieces from the home on White Oak Rd., Kenoyer said the homeowner reclaimed several doors, mantels, the stair banister, and many glass door knobs.

Still, in Anderson's eyes, the house - built with premium quality lumber, oak floors, and exterior sheathing made of cypress - was a priceless piece of history and more should have been done to salvage the materials and trees, including the pecan tree his grandfather planted.

"The cutting down of the trees, I think, it's unforgiveable," he said.

The homeowner, H.H. Hancock, sent the following statement to ABC11:

"We respect the neighborhood and will honor it with our new home. My family is happy to be here and promise to be good neighbors." - H.H. Hancock

Raleigh residents concerned about preserving the history and character of their neighborhoods, can contact their designated city council member on the city's website:

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