Demolition of stone retaining wall at 110 South Mendenhall St. to be considered Oct. 29 by Historic Preservation Commission

Retaining wall leaning toward sidewalk at 110 S. Mendenhall

View of the leaning granite wall along the front of 110 South Mendenhall Street

This month’s agenda for the Historic Preservation Commission includes a request to demolish the granite retaining wall along the sidewalk at 110 South Mendenhall Street. The wall has been leaning noticeably toward the street for years.

Property owner Bill Burkley excavated the dirt from behind the wall perhaps two or three years ago, leaving a trench behind the wall running more than 50 feet. Complaints from neighbors led to two zoning inspections this year. The first found no problem. At the request of neighbors, a second inspector visited the property and, according to the city’s Code Compliance Database (Case No. 201407576)  found:

“The stone retaining wall by the sidewalk is leaning over toward the sidewalk. Repair work was stared long ago and a large amount of dirt was removed from behind the wall. Then work stopped. In its current condition, the wall is a violation of 30-9-4 Fences and Walls 30-9-4.8 Maintenance Fences and walls must be maintained in a safe manner, plumb (vertical) to the ground. Fences or walls no longer maintained in a safe manner through neglect, lack of repair, manner of construction, method of placement, or otherwise must be repaired, replaced, or demolished. Failure to maintain a fence or wall in accordance with this section constitutes a violation of this ordinance. I have requested a title search and a NOV [Notice of Violation] has been sent. The remedy will require the property owner to complete the repairs to the retaining wall and comply with the historic district guidelines, or civil penalties can be assessed.”

Berkley’s response is to seek a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish the wall. Retaining walls are covered in the City of Greensboro Historic District Program Manual in a section beginning on Page 24.

The application will be discussed at the College Hill Neighborhood Association’s monthly meeting on Monday at 7 p.m., at the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 501 South Mendenhall Street, in the Fellowship Hall. The HPC meeting will be held Wednesday at 4 p.m. in the Melvin Municipal Office Building, Plaza Level Conference Room.

Other College Hill items on the HPC agenda this month include three after-the-fact applications for exterior work done without a Certificate of Appropriateness:

  • 916 Walker Avenue – Matching fiber cement siding used to replace deteriorated wood siding
  • 921 Carr Street – Satellite dish installed on roof of house
  • 709 Walker Avenue – Construction of wheelchair ramp

Also on the agenda is an application for landscaping and site improvements at 817 Rankin Place.

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