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Chapel Hill's historic neighborhoods evolving

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Preservation Chapel Hill is concerned too many homes are losing their historic qualities when homeowners start expanding and renovating. Preservation Chapel Hill is concerned too many homes are losing their historic qualities when homeowners start expanding and renovating.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -

The Triangle is booming in almost every single way, and it's no different in the real estate market. But in historic parts of Chapel Hill, there's a growing concern that all of the new homeowners might be changing history in the process.

Cheri Szcodronski is the executive director of Preservation Chapel Hill and gave WNCN a tour of most of the historic neighborhoods. She explained, "We just want people to think about development before it happens."

She's worried that too many of the homes are losing their historic qualities when homeowners start expanding and renovating to a more modern style.

"Some of them blend in beautifully with the original buildings and the original character, but others are significantly changing those buildings and that character," Szcodronski said.

One of the historic neighborhoods that has seen a big change over the last two decades is Gimghoul. Jim White has lived in the neighborhood since the 1970s.

"People's attitude is: "It's my property, I can do whatever I want to with it.' And the answer is, no you can't," White said.

White said he's served on the Historic District Commission for about 10 years and said for the most part, Gimghoul has remained intact, save a few changes.

"A few of the additions that people have put on are too big for my taste," White said. "There are some that you drive through the neighborhood and think, 'That's a little bit weird.' But not too many."

Preservation Chapel Hill believes historic districts like Gimghoul and Franklin Rosemary are becoming endangered. The contrast between the modern and the historic is too stark, taking away from the charm and history of the neighborhoods.

To learn more go to preservationchapelhill.org

Eileen Park

Eileen joined WNCN after years of working as a foreign correspondent. During her time off, she enjoys relaxing with her dogs, reading, and exploring the Triangle. More>>

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