Preservation Chapel Hill
Episcopal Church Cottages
The three cottages located at 408, 410, and 412 North Street (408 pictured above) have a history reaching back to the mid-1800s. The Episcopal church at that time owned a parcel of land that stretched from Rosemary Street to North Street. On Rosemary Street, they built their original rectory. In the early 1900s, the congregation dismantled the rectory and saved the building materials. They ordered an Aladdin kit house to replace the building, which was completed c.1915 and remains on Rosemary Street today, although no longer owned by the church.
Using the building materials from the original rectory, three cottages were built on North Street c.1915-1920 to serve as rental housing. All three are approximately 600 square feet, and all have the same basic architectural style, although 408 is certainly the most distinctive. The cottages have remained rental properties, primarily housing UNC graduate students, for nearly 100 years.
The cottages are including in the Franklin-Rosemary local historic district. This was the first local historic district designated in Chapel Hill, established in 1976. The "Design Guidelines for the Chapel Hill Historic Districts" describes this district as "single family homes, multi-family and fraternal residences, and institutional buildings in the neighborhood represent a broad complement of arhictectural styles spanning more than two centuries." Upon designation of this district, the cottage at 408 North Street was identified as the most significiant of the three cottages.
The Chapel Hill National Register Historic District, one of the earliest National Register districts in the country, is currently being expanded to include North Street. Based on survey work completed in 2013-2014, all three cottages are contributing buildings within the expansion boundaries.
A potential new owner of the three cottages contacted PCH to conduct research about their historic and architectural significance in the PCH Archives.
The potential new owner, now under contract on the property, made a presentation for courtesy review at the May Historic District Commission meeting.
The new owner sought a subdivision of the property to allow changes to be made to the existing structures, which were located on a non-conforming lot. The Historic District Commission made a recommendation at their August meeting.
October 2013-November 2013
PCH facilitated discussions with the owner and the Town of Chapel Hill Planning Department staff to explore options for adding onto the existing cottage. A PCH volunteer offered pro bono architectural design work to assist the owner with planning an appropriate addition.
The owner made a presentation for courtesy review at the November Historic District Commission meeting that included making an addition to the cottage at 408 North Street.
The owner presented a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish the cottage at 408 North Street and build a new home on the site at the December Historic District Commission meeting. The HDC invoked the 365-day delay of demolition and voted to deny the Certificate of Appropriateness for reconstruction. (Note: state and local laws prohibit the denial of a demolition permit.)
The owner indicated to PCH that he would be willing to allow the building to be relocated and gave permission for PCH to seek a buyer. PCH recommended a reputable building mover and appraiser to assist the owner in obtaining those figures. The cottage appraised at $24,000 and the estimated moving costs are $30,000.
The owner appealed the denial of the recontruction Certificate of Appropriateness to the Board of Adjustment. The Board of Adjustment reversed the Historic District Commission's decision and issued the Certificate of Appropriateness for reconstruction after demolition.
Preservation Chapel Hill continued to work with the owner to have the cottage relocated, including offering to cover the costs of advertising. The owner declined.
Demolition of the cottage began.
Construction of a new house and garage