History schmistory: John Grisham gets permission to remove Chapel Hill cottages

Apparently some houses don't deserve to be painted:

The cottages are located on four separate lots behind the home at 704 E. Franklin St. that Grisham and his wife Renee bought last year. The four lots were purchased earlier this year, county records show. The Grishams want to replace the cottages with landscaping where their property backs up to the Battle Park forest.

The commission approved Grisham’s plan Tuesday after two hours of debate but also voted to delay demolition by 365 days, the maximum time allowed under state law. Grisham, the commission and Preservation Chapel Hill are looking for someone to move the cottages to a new location.

At least one of the "morals" of this story: If a community really wants to preserve historical areas and structures, that community needs to take them off the market. And keep them off the market. That requires not only an investment up front, but the commitment to maintain them. I've seen what can happen if you don't (as I'm sure many of you have). In my town, about half of the "points of interest" in our historic walking tour are places that no longer exist, that have been replaced by newer (commercial mostly) structures. As far as Grisham's "right" to develop his own property, it should be noted this is not his primary residence:

The Grishams bought the historic Pratt-Wells House last year and continue to make improvements. More than a dozen work trucks spilled out of the property and onto the street Wednesday as crews worked to repair and replace windows, roofing and other architectural elements.

While the Grishams’ primary home is in Charlottesville, Virginia, Grisham said, “Chapel Hill is a lovely getaway.”

How special is that? That was a rhetorical question.

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