Preservation Voters 2015


Welcome to the Preservation Voters candidate questionnaire.  The survey addresses local preservation issues and challenges. The intent of the survey is to gauge candidate’s knowledge of and opinions on preservation issues, as well as to provide information for voters. Candidate’s answers are published verbatim. Preservation Durham does not endorse any candidate for office.

2015 Durham City Council

Bill Bell
Philip Azar
Jillian Johnson
Charlie Reece
Steve Schewel
Michael Shiflett

 

Bill Bell

Office Sought: Mayor, Durham, NC
Website: Not operational
Emails: billbell@udicdc.org WBell51126@aol.com Bill.Bell@Durhamnc.gov
Phone: 919-964-7026 Direct Office Phone
919-475-3368 Cell
919-560-4333 “Office of the Mayor

1. What is your favorite historic property, landmark, or site in Durham, and why?

Hayti Heritage Center (804 Old Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27701) is my favorite historic property/landmark in Durham because it represents an iconic part of the African American Community’s heritage and its presence and location is in a commanding and central location that is very accessible in the city. It has a welcoming presence and is open for use by the entire community for various cultural and quality entertaining events. Its performance Hall (the sanctuary for the former St. Joseph’s AME Church, a National Historic Landmark) has a rich acoustical setting for musical performances while maintaining the decorum of the former church.

 

2. Do you think that preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of downtown development? If so, how? If not, why?

The City Council (at least during my tenure as Mayor) has recognized the importance of preserving as well as supporting the adaptive reuse, of many of the historic buildings in downtown, where it has proven to be economically feasible both for the property owner as well as for the city (i.e. when the city has been requested to participate financially). It is my opinion that each property has to be looked at individually as to its reuse and how it fits into the overall re-development of downtown.

 

3. What role do you think the HPC should play in guiding future growth? Do you think local historic districts provide value? Do you support additional local historic districts?

I think that the HPC is one of but several organizations that can provide a valuable role in helping guide the city council as it makes determinations and decisions regarding the future growth of the city. The question as to whether historic districts provide value depends, to a large extent, on who is being impacted by the districts. In general, I think that where there can be a meeting of the minds of the property owners of the proposed historic districts and the body that has to make the determination as to the designation of the property as a historic district, provides the best scenario for determining if the district will provide value. Yes I could support additional local historic districts. It has been my practice that I reserve the right as an elected official to make that determination of whether to support or not support a historic designation, only after I have heard the comments of the public hearing on the issue.

 

4. Do you support the Local Landmark program? Do you view it as an incentive for development? Do you view it as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties?

Yes I support the local landmark program, but I am also open to discussions on how it might be improved. I also can see examples of where it can and has been an incentive for development. I am not so sure that I view the local landmark program as much as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties, as I view it as an incentive for allowing those property owners to preserve or enhance those properties, without which it might not be economically feasible for the property owners to do so. The landmark designation in and of itself will not necessarily protect a property if the property owner cannot or does not have the financial capacity to make the necessary improvement to protect the property.

 

5. What role do you think preservation should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods?

I am not sure if you meant what role do I think preservation or what role do I think the Historic Preservation Committee should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods? In any event I think that if property owners or the public in general can be educated as to the positive environmental, livability and tax credit opportunities that the historic preservation of a site can create for neighborhoods in particular and the city in general, it can be helpful in moving forward to creating a historic property site and the revitalization of historic neighborhoods.

Thanks for the opportunity to share my responses to your questionnaire. I should ad that my views on your questionnaire have not changed from 2013.

 

 

Philip Azar

Office Sought: City Council (At-Large Seat)
Website: www.philipazar.com
Email: philip@philipazar.com

1. What is your favorite historic property, landmark, or site in Durham, and why?

The O’Briant Store at 613 Holloway. Open Durham, of course, has a great write up of its history.  Facts that interest and please me:  It’s undergoing renovation and early owners lived across Railroad Street, immediately adjoining, from the store.

What fascinates me about the store and its history has less to do with its past than what it tells us about possibilities for Durham’s future.  We have an extensive inventory of buildings to renovate and repurpose.  We want pockets of urbanism in our neighborhoods.  We want to leverage our grit, like railroads, tracks and bridges that may have been viewed as nuisances in our near past, but are more likely to be viewed as amenities in our soon to be present.  Whether or not the building comes back as a store, it may become live/work space supportive of distributed jobs.  The high-speed networks of Google and its competitors will echo and rhyme the railroad tracks on Railroad Street.

 

2. Do you think that preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of downtown development? If so, how? If not, why?

Yes.  Preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenant of downtown development.

Preservation and adaptive reuse ensure that at least some of our development is, by definition, pedestrian scale, architecturally appropriate, and rooted in our history.  I am particularly interested in exploring links between the Fix The Loop movement and returning downtown to a more pedestrian friendly environment, separate from structure-specific impacts. Historic buildings and structures downtown teach us is the need for interesting architecture that adds to the downtown experience, especially with regard to public spaces.  As we go forward, when the city is involved in development through major governmental activities such as incentives, land transfers and the like, we need to look at trying to ensure that new construction adds to the downtown experience, especially with regard to public spaces.

We need to preserve and reuse our downtown historic structures downtown.  We also need to apply architectural and urban planning lessons of the past to our future downtown.

 

3. What role do you think the HPC should play in guiding future growth? Do you think local historic districts provide value? Do you support additional local historic districts?

HPC’s role in future growth, including moderating it, is well-defined with regard to Certificates of Appropriateness, demolition delay, and Demolition by Neglect.  Less well understood (including by me) are the standards and process for reviewing new construction in local historic districts.  My understanding is that the statutory authority is there, but that the HPC doesn’t have an extensive record or written guidance for how those statutory standards will be interpreted especially with regard to commercial and multi-family.  Higher levels of certainty are probably required so that there is more and better infill in local historic districts.

Local historic districts provide value.  An important portion of that value is economic.  There is also value in making sure that we preserve what we can of our architectural past, in concentrated areas, in a meaningful manner so that people can see and experience our past.  The demolition delay process also helps provide a cooling off and negotiation period before historic structures are lost.

I support some additional historic districts.  The most challenging decision that I am aware of is the proposed Golden Belt historic district. This should be studied, delineated and debated by elected officials, not avoided by continually stopping short of funding staff or de-prioritizing work needed as to delineation and expansion of the district.

As we look forward, there will be limits to how much of our urban neighborhoods can be designated as historic districts.  These neighborhoods were some of our areas of density in the past.  We should not let an over-delineation of neighborhoods into historic districts stifle the ability for Durham to develop the densities it needs to have vibrant thriving neighborhoods, an expanding economy, and more residents of varying income levels living in and around downtown and attending our schools.

The amenities around downtown will continue to attract higher-income residents.  Unless we can add density in and around downtown, a zero-sum game of residency emerges, where displacement drives neighborhood change instead of inclusion of new residents.  Enlightened preservationists can help find a balance between preservation and quality new growth.

 

4. Do you support the Local Landmark program? Do you view it as an incentive for development? Do you view it as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties?

The Local Landmark program was overused for a period and city council moved off of its continued use.  There may be times when it would be appropriate to use it in the future.  However, the concerns about undermining our tax base are valid and highlight the need to be extremely cautious in this regard.

There is also a great need for consistency in designating a structure as a landmark structure and de-designating a structure.   De-designation can have enormous value and that that value should be leveraged either with specific, enforceable preservation requirements or by ensuring that the any project requiring a de-designation is a great project.  Covenants and/or site plans may help there.  Council should also be very clear that while HPC must follow the statutory guidelines, council can act in a legislative capacity with much more discretion.  Even when exercising discretion, council should leverage the value of de-designation.

 

5. What role do you think preservation should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods?

Preservation plays at least three roles in what is described as revitalization:  Signaling that the city is focusing on a specific area, economic incentives, and attracting people who can take advantage of tax credits.

Preservationists now agree that we need to ensure that preservation is joined with community preservation, collaboration, and economic development.  We need to acknowledge existing residents and, to the maximum extent possible, include them in the benefits of preservation.

Even more is needed going forward.  Preservation stakeholders must avoid becoming status quo advocates with regard to residential density, especially in and around downtown.  Ideally, we would couple advocacy for preservation of single family homes and small multifamily with advocacy for increased residential density – probably new construction, mostly outside of historic districts.  If we advocate for residential preservation without also finding ways to advocate for (or at least not support opponents of) increased density, we end up advocating for higher income residents, more likely to take advantage of preservation incentives, displacing existing residents to areas of lesser density, further from downtown.

 

 

Jillian Johnson

Office Sought: City Council – at large
Website: DurhamForAll.com
Email: jillian@durhamforall.com

1. What is your favorite historic property, landmark, or site in Durham, and why?

As a resident of the West End neighborhood, my favorite landmark is the Pauli Murray house. I love how the Durham community has lifted up the history and legacy of Pauli Murray, who was such an influential leader in the civil rights movement, but whose legacy has been overlooked in many of the national conversations around civil rights. I’m hopeful that the Pauli Murray house will soon be able to fulfil its intended use as a museum and home for social justice-oriented programming for youth.

 

2. Do you think that preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of downtown development? If so, how? If not, why?

Yes, preservation and adaptive reuse have been, and should continue to be, a central tenet of downtown development. Unlike many other major cities, downtown Durham does not have unique natural features, a state capitol, or a large corporate presence to spur economic development, so our beautiful historic structures are our key asset. Durham’s historic buildings contribute to a totally unique and visually interesting downtown and are an important way to establish a sense of place for a community and connect us to a shared history. Renovating historic buildings is also a more environmentally responsible way to develop and grow. Developers can show that they support these values in our community by preserving historic properties. I support the use of the local historic landmark status, historic tax credits, and locally developed design guidelines to help ensure there are the financial resources and local planning tools to make historic preservation is economically feasible and contextually appropriate in our community. In addition to downtown, I also believe it is important to promote preservation of other historic commercial corridors such as Old Five Points, the Angier-Driver corridor, West Chapel Hill St, and Ninth Street.

 

3. What role do you think the HPC should play in guiding future growth? Do you think local historic districts provide value? Do you support additional local historic districts?

When they have a clear set of criteria to evaluate proposals, I believe that the HPC is effective in guiding development in designated historic areas in ways that contribute to the livability and character of our neighborhoods. The HPC can also provide city and county leaders with advice and expertise when dealing with issues related to preservation. Yes, I believe that local historic districts provide value, and that this is demonstrated in many neighborhoods in central Durham. Yes, I would support the creation of new local historic districts, however, I would want the people who live in the proposed district to be central to the process and have final say in whether the district was created, as they will be the people primarily be impacted by it.

 

4. Do you support the Local Landmark program? Do you view it as an incentive for development? Do you view it as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties?

I do support the local landmark program, but I am not sure that in and of itself, it is always an adequate incentive for preservation. One example that illustrates this point is the case of the Liberty Warehouse, which was designated a historic landmark in 2010 and then un-designated in 2013 in order for it to be torn down for redevelopment. However, since it provides a significant financial incentive in the form of a permanent 50% tax abatement and some additional leverage for local preservationists, I do think local landmark status can be an important tool to protect endangered properties. While historic preservation brings clear economic benefits, it is largely a community value. As such, we need sustained community advocacy and elected leaders who share that value, in addition to incentives such as the local landmark program.

 

5. What role do you think preservation should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods?
Preservation helps link us to our collective history and protects our city for future generations. I believe that preservation, and the continued promotion of tools such as historic tax credits and local design criteria, should play a key role in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods. While Durham, like most cities, does not have a stellar record of historic preservation, my understanding is that over the past several years the number of vacant and boarded up houses has gone down, renovations have increased, and there is a tremendous value being created in our historic neighborhoods. As tastes and preferences for urban living and historic homes grow, my hope is that the preservation community will begin to work within a broader equity framework and find ways to help connect preservation tools to long-time residents so they are able to renovate their homes, benefit from the increased value created, and stay in their historic communities. I am excited for the opportunity to be a part of this effort.

 

 

Charlie Reece

Office Sought:          Durham City Council (at large)
Website:                   www.charliefordurham.com
Email:                       charlie@charliefordurham.com

1. What is your favorite historic property, landmark, or site in Durham, and why?

I have always loved the Historic Durham Athletic Park. The distinctive turret at the entrance, the great feel of the tiny stands (by today’s standards), and the palpable sense of decades baseball history. And of course it was a location in Bull Durham, which is one of my favorite movies.

 

2. Do you think that preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of downtown development? If so, how? If not, why?

Yes, preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of downtown development. The two most exciting projects in recent downtown development – the Durham Hotel and the 21C Museum Hotel – are spectacular examples of how adaptive reuse can preserve what is so special about our architectural and design heritage in downtown Durham while meeting the underlying goals of whatever the “use” part of “adaptive reuse” entails. The success of these two developments also demonstrates that there is a market for these sorts of adaptive reuse projects.

 

3. What role do you think the HPC should play in guiding future growth? Do you think local historic districts provide value? Do you support additional local historic districts?

The primary goal of the Historic Preservation Commission is to ensure that proposed projects in local historic districts are consistent not only with the historic character and qualities of the historic district but also with relevant local review criteria. The firmness with which the HPC enforces that consistency requirement can help guide future growth away from local historic districts and into areas of the city where we want growth to happen. Local historic districts certainly provide value to the neighborhoods which receive that designation – value in protecting the architectural and design legacy present in historic structures contained within the district, and value in encouraging historic rehabilitation of those historic structures (with the accompanying economic benefits). The creation of new local historic districts would need to arise organically from the neighborhoods in question, and any new district would need to be an area of special historical and architectural significance with a particular integrity of design, setting and association. But where an area meets these qualifications and is supported by the residents, I would support the creation of additional local historic districts.

 

4. Do you support the Local Landmark program? Do you view it as an incentive for development? Do you view it as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties?

I support the Local Historic Landmark program, and I view it both as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties but also as an incentive for development. For an occupied building that qualifies for the designation, an owner dedicated to preservation would view landmark designation as a way to preserve the architectural distinctiveness of the building. For an unoccupied building that can be repurposed via an acceptable development plan into an income producing structure, local historic landmark designation would certainly be a powerful incentive for development.

 

5. What role do you think preservation should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods?

As discussed above, the use of local historic districts and local historic landmarks can play a powerful role in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods. More broadly, preservation is essential to guaranteeing that we retain the architectural identity and distinctiveness of our historic neighborhoods. For individual buildings, this means rehabilitating structures in need of repair and restoration as well as preserving structures currently in good repair. For neighborhoods, this means not only ensuring that historic neighborhoods preserve the architectural and design legacy which makes them so special but also that the people who live in these neighborhoods become engaged together in the work of preservation itself.

 

 

Steve Schewel

Office Sought: Durham City Council, at-large
Website: steveschewel.com
Email: steveschewel@gmail.com

1. What is your favorite historic property, landmark, or site in Durham, and why?

I have several favorites, but I’ll mention three. I love beautiful little Massey Chapel because it reminds me of a bygone rural past. The John O’Daniel Exchange is one of my favorites because of its location and the way its preservation and re-activation have helped revitalize a neighborhood. But my favorite has got to be the Hill Building, now 21c. It’s such a Durham icon. The architecture is so interesting. It represents the prosperity of Durham’s gilded age in much the same way as the tobacco factories do. And the current renovation is splendid.

 

2. Do you think that preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of downtown development? If so, how? If not, why?

Yes. One of the main reasons Durham has re-ignited our downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods is the preservation and adaptive re-use of our historic buildings. In fact, Durham’s downtown comeback would never have occurred without the adaptive re-use of Brightleaf, West Village, American Tobacco, and all that followed from the Kress Building to the Parish St. renovations to 21c and the new Durham Hotel. People want to be in those buildings. They want to walk by them and enjoy their architectural uniqueness and beauty. So we need to continue this tradition by identifying and protecting landmark buildings and keeping the standards for historic preservation strong within downtown.

 

3. What role do you think the HPC should play in guiding future growth? Do you think local historic districts provide value? Do you support additional local historic districts?

I think the HPC has an important role to play, and I think it plays that role well. HPC’s vetting of the appropriate projects with the guidance of City staff is working well, and I am not in favor of weakening HPC’s mandate. By providing protection for our historic resources, the HPC is keeping downtown Durham attractive to the people who want to live, work and play here. Historic preservation is driving growth in Durham, not hindering it, and the HPC is a key element of this work.

Yes, I think historic districts add value. I live in one–Watts-Hillandale–so I know the additional work this designation can require of homeowners who want to make repairs or renovations or additions to their homes. I have applied for and received permission when we rebuilt a stone foundation for our house. But this extra hassle, and sometimes extra money, is worth it to both our family and to the community. I feel certain that the historic district designation has raised the value of homes in Watts-Hillandale. And I know the community benefits from the preservation of older homes.

I can’t answer in the abstract about whether or not I would support other historic districts. I will have to answer this on a case-by-case basis. I do support the historic district now being prepared for the Golden Belt neighborhood, and I voted for funds to support that work. We now have seven historic districts, and that will go to eight with Golden Belt. There are other potential historic district designations among Durham neighborhoods from Trinity Park to Old East Durham, but I would have to make judgments about these designations if they are ever brought to us on a case-by-case basis, listening to both preservationists and neighborhood residents to make my decision.

 

4. Do you support the Local Landmark program? Do you view it as an incentive for development? Do you view it as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties?

Yes, I support the Local Landmark program and I think it has been very valuable for protecting key properties. We have about 70 designated landmarks in Durham now, and many of them are critically important properties in both the history and present life of Durham. I do view the program as an incentive for development, as I have described in questions above. That is, these landmarks are important drivers of Durham’s downtown development, as I have described in more detail above. And yes, I do regard the Local Landmark program as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties.

State law requires a 50% tax abatement for landmark properties, so we need to weigh carefully any decision to make such a landmark designation both in terms of appropriateness and fairness. But if we are facing a decision on a genuine landmark property, I will be in favor of its designation so that the abated taxes can be used for the preservation into the distant future of the landmark properties.

 

5. What role do you think preservation should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods?

I think preservation is critically important in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods. I am glad to see the preservation work that is being done on older homes from Cleveland-Holloway to Driver St. by homeowners who recognize the value of this historic construction and architecture. I know that conflicts sometimes arise between preservationists and neighborhood advocates who want old, abandoned or boarded up houses torn down. But I am glad to say that there is much less of this in Durham than there was 10 years ago as neighborhoods have embraced the value of their historic properties.

Unfortunately, historic preservation and redevelopment often go hand-in-hand with the ills of gentrification. We need to decouple this relationship insofar as we can. We need to recognize the need for reinvestment in communities that have been deinvested, but we–the City and the community–need to support affordable housing initiatives that will mitigate the negative effects of gentrification on established neighborhoods. This can occur alongside historic preservation if we have the civic will to make affordable housing a priority.

The prosperity of downtown, spurred by the adaptive reuse of historic buildings, shows the way for our neighborhoods. We want beautiful and functional new architecture in Durham. But we also need to preserve the old buildings that give our City its unique and lovely character and help us make an emotional connection to our City and its past.

 

 

Michael ‘mike’ Shiflett

Office Sought: City Council at Large
Website: www.MikeShiflett.com
Email: welikemike2015@gmail.com

1. What is your favorite historic property, landmark, or site in Durham, and why?

Duke Homestead is my favorite. Back when I first came to Durham to visit in 1983 we visited it and fell in love with the history and character it represented.

 

2. Do you think that preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of downtown development? Yes If so, how?

It’s a shame that a number of truly historic buildings were not saved in the 60’s and 70’s, not to mention the old Woolworths in more recent times. They defined the uniqueness of our downtown. So while we need to protect and preserve as much as possible the character that remains…….. If not, why? There are some old and dilapidated buildings that are just too financially unable to be restored after being neglected and ‘remuddled’ over the years that destroyed the character that I mention above.

 

3. What role do you think the HPC should play in guiding future growth?

If and when in question for those structures ‘in-between those in #2, I believe it’s imperative that HPC be involved

Do you think local historic districts provide value?

Absolutely

Do you support additional local historic districts?

I have and will continue to do so

 

4. Do you support the Local Landmark program?

Yes,  I actually would have liked to have both our home at 1111 Oakland Ave and my former business location at 1308 Broad Street as part of that program.

Do you view it as an incentive for development?

It can be,  yes

Do you view it as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties?

Yes

 

5. What role do you think preservation should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods?

I know that there is a queue of neighborhoods who have sought this designation as both a member of the INC and having been involved with it (as a board member) back when the WHHNA was being considered.   I believe it was a huge set back when Steve Cruz (Cruse) left the Planning Department that helped shepherded them thru the long and arduous process.

 

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 2013 Durham City Council

[tabs] [tab title=”Mayor”]

Bill Bell
Michael Valentine
Sylvester Williams

Bill Bell

Office sought: Mayor
Email: bill.bell@durhamnc.gov
Phone: 919-560-4333

1.  What is your favorite historic property, landmark, or site in Durham, and why?

Hayti Heritage Center (804 Old Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC 27701) is my favorite historic property/landmark in Durham because it represents an iconic part of the African American Community’s heritage and its presence and location is in a commanding and central location that is very accessible in the city. It has a welcoming presence and is open for use by the entire community for various cultural and quality entertaining events. Its performance Hall (the sanctuary for the former St. Joseph’s AME Church, a National Historic Landmark) has a rich acoustical setting for musical performances while maintaining the decorum of the former church.

2. Do you think that preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of downtown development? If so, how? If not, why?

The City Council (at least during my tenure as Mayor) has recognized the importance of preserving as well as supporting the adaptive reuse, of many of the historic buildings in downtown, where it has proven to be economically feasible both for the property owner as well as for the city (i.e. when the city has been requested to participate financially). It is my opinion that each property has to be looked at individually as to its reuse and how it fits into the overall re-development of downtown.

3. What role do you think the Historic Preservation Commission should play in guiding future growth? Do you think local historic districts provide value? Do you support additional local historic districts?

I think that the HPC is one of but several organizations that can provide a valuable role in helping guide the city council as it makes determinations and decisions regarding the future growth of the city. The question as to whether historic districts provide value depends, to a large extent, on who is being impacted by the districts. In general, I think that where there can be a meeting of the minds of the property owners of the proposed historic districts and the body that has to make the determination as to the designation of the property as a historic district, provides the best scenario for determining if the district will provide value. Yes I could support additional local historic districts. It has been my practice that I reserve the right as an elected official to make that determination of whether to support or not support a historic designation, only after I have heard the comments of the public hearing on the issue.

4. Do you support the Local Landmark program? Do you view it as an incentive for development? Do you view it as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties?

Yes I support the local landmark program, but I am also open to discussions on how it might be improved. I also can see examples of where it can and has been an incentive for development. I am not so sure that I view the local landmark program as much as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties, as I view it as an incentive for allowing those property owners to preserve or enhance those properties, without which it might not be economically feasible for the property owners to do so. The landmark designation in and of itself will not necessarily protect a property if the property owner cannot or does not have the financial capacity to make the necessary improvement to protect the property.

5. What role do you think preservation should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods? 

I am not sure if you meant what role do I think preservation or what role do I think the Historic Preservation Committee should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods? In any event I think that if property owners or the public in general can be educated as to the positive environmental, livability and tax credit opportunities that the historic preservation of a site can create for neighborhoods in particular and the city in general, it can be helpful in moving forward to creating a historic property site and the revitalization of historic neighborhoods.


Michael Valentine

Office Sought: Mayor
Website: Valentine for Durham
Email: michael@valentinefordurham.com

1. What is your favorite historic property, landmark, or site in Durham, and why?

My favorite historic area in Durham is Parish Street and also the legacy of Hayti. W. E. B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington (one of my favs in history) both concluded that Durham was a great model for black prosperity after seeing what blacks were able to achieve here. Despite turbulent race relations in our country, a black middle class was thriving in Durham, North Carolina. This is important.

2. Do you think that preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of downtown development? If so, how? If not, why?

Durham has one of the most intriguing histories of any city in the U.S. I am honored to be in a position to potentially lead our future. To best tell Durham’s story to future generations, it is critical that we preserve as much as we can which reflects our rich past. Knowing and preserving our past, is like a key to unlock a potentially bright future.

3. What role do you think the HPC should play in guiding future growth? Do you think local historic districts provide value? Do you support additional local historic districts?

I do believe that the Historic Preservation Commission should be the project lead on identifying and improving historic districts. Durham itself is like a beautiful history filled home. It is up to those of us in positions of leadership to maintain this home we all share. We must keep Durham beautiful at its core for future generations to enjoy.

4. Do you support the Local Landmark program? Do you view it as an incentive for development? Do you view it as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties?

I do support the Local Landmark program. It is a win for all stakeholders. Developers can become increasingly profitable as well with a reduction in property taxes as I currently understand.

5. What role do you think preservation should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods? 

I think that preservation should be our number one priority in discussions surrounding the revitalization of our historic neighborhoods. Maintaining a Durham aesthetic that mirrors our past but also gives us a glimpse into our future should be a strategy we should adopt.


Sylvester Williams

Office Sought: Mayor

1. What is your favorite historic property, landmark, or site in Durham, and why?

Hayti Heritage Center because of its significance to contributions of African Americans to the cultural fabric of Durham.   From what was formerly named St Joseph’s church, the businesses and entrepreneurial spirit that emanated from this location led to the Black Wall Street, National Religious Training School and Chautauqua for the Colored Race which eventually became North Carolina College and is now North Carolina Central University.

2. Do you think that preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of downtown development? If so, how? If not, why?

Proverbs 22:28 states, “ Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”   With each building is history attached that teaches better than the educational system.   Not only do these buildings show the struggles of the past but also the achievements of today.  The use of tax credits and donations from people and businesses interested in the preservation of historic landmarks should continue to be used.

3. What role do you think the HPC should play in guiding future growth? Do you think local historic districts provide value? Do you support additional local historic districts?

I think HPC should partner with local communities to better determine which historical landmarks should be preserved.    By involving the community at a greater level HPC will also serve as a tool of education for those who may not be acquainted with the contributions by different groups in the city of Durham.

4. Do you support the Local Landmark program? Do you view it as an incentive for development? Do you view it as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties?

It is an incentive for development when used properly.  Landmarks should not be limited to one part of Durham and it should also be representative of the rich historical contributions of all Durham citizens.  When used properly it will spur development.

5. What role do you think preservation should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods? 

I think we should be more aggressive in restoring historic neighborhoods.
[/tab] [tab title=”Ward 1″]

Cora Cole-McFadden

No response
[/tab] [tab title=”Ward 2″]

Omar Beasley
Eddie Davis
Franklin Hanes
Del Mattioli


Omar Beasley

No response


Eddie Davis

Office Sought: Ward 2
Website: Eddie Davis
Email: eddiedavis.citycouncil@gmail.com

1. What is your favorite historic property, landmark, or site in Durham, and why?

I have many sites that are special to me and to my appreciation of the history of Durham.

Horton Grove at Stagville, Bennett Place, the Hayti Heritage Center, the Pauli Murray murals, the R. Kelly Bryant Bridge, and the Downtown Bull are important and significant to the history of Durham. However, if I have to select one single site, I would offer the historic highway marker that symbolizes the Royal Ice Cream Sit-In of 1957. I must confess that I played a role in the community lobbying effort to obtain this marker.

2. Do you think that preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of downtown development? If so, how? If not, why?

As is the case with Brightleaf Square, Greenbelt, and other buildings, it is wonderful to see adaptive utilization of buildings for commercial venues. Yes, this should be a central tenet for downtown development … as far as possible. However, as was the case of the Liberty Warehouse, I believe that a balanced compromise can be achieved in order to retain some of the historic nature of the proposed site, while allowing for the development of a property that might not be otherwise developed.

3. What role do you think the HPC should play in guiding future growth? Do you think local historic districts provide value? Do you support additional local historic districts?

As is the case with other “advisory” commissions, the Historic Preservation Commission should be valued and respected for its deliberations, its conclusions, and its recommendations. However, according to the protocol of city and county government, the final decisions about development and growth are made by the City Council and/or the County Commission. Yes, I believe that historic districts provide value to their individual neighborhoods and to the City of Durham. The citizens of the neighborhood are vital for the application and for the continuation of the designation. Yes, I believe that there should be additional local historic districts. In fact, I believe that Masondale Avenue, which was spotlighted by Ebony Magazine in the 1950s, should be a historic district.

4. Do you support the Local Landmark program? Do you view it as an incentive for development? Do you view it as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties?

Yes, I support the Local Landmark program, but, I am not certain if the program is always an incentive for development. The Liberty Warehouse is a prime example of a site that probably would not have been a target for development if the local landmark label had been retained. I believe that the city council should be flexible when it comes to properties whose physical condition offers risks to future development. However, the landmark is still worth protecting.

5. What role do you think preservation should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods?

Preservation can play an important role in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods. As stated earlier, Masondale Avenue might be able to undergo a metamorphosis if the historic district designation were to be applied. Hopefully, this type of revitalization can be achieved at multiple locations in Durham before the 2019 sesquicentennial of Durham.


Franklin Hanes

No response


Del Mattioli

1. What is your favorite historic property, landmark, or site in Durham, and why?

My favorite historic property is Bull Durham Tobacco Factory @ 201 W. Pettigrew Street Durham, NC . It brings back my childhood of working in tobacco with family and the community in Wallace NC.  “Putting in tobacco” was a great experience for getting monies during the summer  for the next school year.  Socially, economically and strong family and community ties were  good for both races of people to work together for the  tobacco  harvest. The laughter, conversations, having a coke and peanuts during a break impacted my childhood experience in a positive way.  The harmony, telling stories to each other, sharing your dreams kept  our communities  connected.  Every family  knew everyone else’s family  and was willing to help each other.  The tobacco culture is the backbone of many families that have moved away and become successful in life based upon community love!  Some of the old tobacco barns are so sentimental when I visit my hometown and aging adults both black and white that help raise me.

2. Do you think that preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of downtown development? If so, how? If not, why?

Yes I do think that preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of our downtown development because preservation helps our environment by not tearing down and building new.   Usually the structure is sound but may need upgraded energy efficient restoration and cosmetic work for admiration purposes.  The beauty cannot be duplicated in today’s society without wasting funds and the architecture cannot be duplicated.  Builders took their time in construction and the quality was superb.    Preservation adds value to the community and favors the opportunity of tourism and the opportunity for our families and children to admire where they live and something nice to talk about pertaining to the history of the site.

3. What role do you think the HPC should play in guiding future growth? Do you think local historic districts provide value? Do you support additional local historic districts?

The HPC plays a great role in guiding future growth and does provide value and I do support additional local historic districts in Durham.   The organizational planning adds value to the carefully thought out projects that are to be considered.   Prior studies, evaluations, feasibility, and funding needed should be a well thought out process and great leadership doing it benefits the residents of Durham and continues to make our city Durham the BESTEST of the BEST!  I find that the HPC is doing a fantastic job.

4. Do you support the Local Landmark program? Do you view it as an incentive for development? Do you view it as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties?

I do support the Local Landmark program and I do view it as an incentive for development.   The downtown Durham program here has been successful and the communication going on is available for anyone to  seeks to preserve Durham .   The program is successful because of the measurement, public input and cooperation at large benefits and motivates those involved to re-claim Durham for all of us to appreciate.  The COA serves  a valuable purpose for historic preservation for longevity.

5. What role do you think preservation should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods? 

Preservation should play positive tax credits,  encourages  residents awareness of a historic neighborhood, added culture value,  a positive consciousness of the essential contribution to the history of America’s landmark areas.   I am so proud to live in the historic home of the Chancellor’s home of North Carolina Central University.   The quality of our home is awesome—we are preserving the original structure of the land space and home.
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Don Moffitt
Pam Karriker


Don Moffitt

No response


Pam Karriker

Office Sought: Ward 3
Website: Pam Karriker
Email: pkarriker@mindspring.com

1. What is your favorite historic property, landmark, or site in Durham, and why?

I would have to say it’s a tie between the Maureen Joy/YE Smith building and Angier Avenue Baptist Church. As a former student at Y.E. Smith I was able to attend the Maureen Joy grand opening and it was amazing to see how faithful they had been to the original design. Even the bannisters were still there. Growing up in East Durham my family attended Angier Avenue Baptist. It’s looking a little run down but it’s a
beautiful building and a centerpiece for the Angier/Driver district. I am hopeful that it’s restoration will be a central feature of the revitalization of NECD

2. Do you think that preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings should be a central tenet of downtown development? If so, how? If not, why?

It should certainly be one of the central tenets of
downtown development. I think there also are and will be other factors to consider as downtown continues to grow and build and each will have to be considered. We do not want to hold back progress but we must keep an eye on the historic features that make Durham unique. I think the preservation and adaptive reuse of historic buildings must continue in the direction that we’ve been headed, and the style and character of
these building should be considered in new construction that takes place. For example, I am very excited about both of the hotels going into historic bank buildings downtown. I think these are excellent examples of adaptive reuse.

3. What role do you think the HPC should play in guiding future growth? Do you think local historic districts provide value? Do you support additional local historic districts?

I think the HPC should continue to provide the expertise that City government requires in guiding future growth. I also think local historic districts provide value and character to our community. I have no problem with the addition of more local historic districts according to the current guidelines, but cannot say I would support an
application unequivocally without additional information and consideration of each on its individual merits.

4. Do you support the Local Landmark program? Do you view it as an incentive for development? Do you view it as a public policy tool to protect landmark properties?

Yes, I do support it. I believe it can be an incentive for development in terms of added value for the right project. Yes, I think it is a valuable public policy tool to protect landmark properties.

5. What role do you think preservation should play in the revitalization of historic neighborhoods? 

I think this is a decision for individual neighborhoods to make. I think it’s important for neighborhood residents to feel pride and ownership of their community and that they be informed and made fully aware of the benefits, responsibilities, and requirements of a designation of local historic district.

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