William E. Brewer Jr.: Oakwood’s evolution

March 14, 2014 

As a 30-year resident of Oakwood, I have followed The N&O’s coverage of the Euclid Street controversy and read Myrick Howard’s March 12 Point of View on historic districts.

With respect to the standards for new construction in historic districts, I am educated by and endorse Howard’s point that historic districts are not museums in which architectural history is frozen in time but are evolving architecturally with chapters yet to be written. What limits should we place on this evolution? During the first 100 years of Oakwood’s history, the only limits, if any, placed on construction were those imposed by zoning and building codes. Should they be the sole standards for new construction? Surely, the standards must be more strenuous than these. Otherwise, preservation is overrun by evolution.

Whatever the standards, has the process for applying them been followed in this case? If not, then justice demands remedy as the case proceeds to the next level. But if the proper procedures have been followed, it seems improper to criticize those who have used them to protect their interests as they see them.

William E. Brewer Jr., Raleigh

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