The Mordecai Historic Preservation Committee
With strong support from neighbors, the MHPC has worked with Raleigh Historic Development Commission (RHDC) to secure an updated architectural survey of Mordecai place. The survey was completed in spring 2023 and provides information on the community's architecture and current home inventory, including historic and new builds. The report will be given to the RHDC to determine if Mordecai Place is eligible to pursue an Historic Overlay District (HOD). To learn more about HODs and their impacts on neighborhoods, see the link to the July 20th, 2021 meeting below or visit the RHDC webpage on HODs.
According to the RHDC, "Designation of historic neighborhoods or communities as local historic districts is a successful tool for maintaining a quality of life and providing economic security. Preservation has been proven to stabilize property values and stimulate new investment in older neighborhoods."
We are looking for members of the community to help with these efforts. Please reach out to Maggie Fyfe or Shane Trahan to learn more about this initiative at email@example.com.
July 20, 2022 Special Meeting video for important information about HODs and NCODs, presented by the RHDC.
March 16, 2023 MCAC Meeting Video: https://fb.watch/kqvWFi_7PP/
FAQ (Version Dated 5/21/2023). Limited paper copies available upon request.
View the Mordecai Place Architectural Survey, spring 2023
Email us: MHPC@mordecaicac.org
Join our email group: MordecaiHPC@googlegroups.com
MCAC Slack Workspace https://join.slack.com/t/mcacworld/shared_invite/zt-wlny442p-ZRh3eIgCCtbGiL55Cj~Ukw
Committee Mission Statement:
Based on concerns expressed by neighbors, MHPC is exploring city tools for making redevelopment in Mordecai more balanced and predictable. MHPC will channel neighborhood feedback about options to preserve the interests of property owners and maintain shared aspects of the community’s natural and built environment.
April 2023 Update:
MHPC Streetside HOD Process Update
The MHPC would like to offer an update on a possible Historic Overlay District-Streetside (HOD-S) for Mordecai Place. The city defines this process, summarized in the image below:
Because Mordecai needed an updated architectural survey to evaluate changes in inventory (here), we are still at the checkbox labeled "Demonstrate Neighborhood Support."
The committee's next step will be to reach out to neighbors with an FAQ document we have drafted based on feedback from neighbors on Slack and email. We will post this list of questions and answers and receive comment.
Once this informational and educational process has concluded, each homeowner will be asked to vote (one vote per address) to authorize the Raleigh Historic Development Commission (which is part of city government) to draw up a character description of Mordecai Place and an HOD-S proposal. Voting to authorize the plan does not make any changes to the neighborhood's zoning status. The city invests financially in this planning process and they want to know it has broad support before moving forward.
Only after a plan has been developed and reviewed by neighbors would there be an official vote for or against the HOD-S (indicated on the process list as "Citizen Polling"). Both rounds of voting (first, for or against drawing up a plan; then, later, for or against the HOD-S plan itself) will require at least a simple majority of homeowners (roughly 120 votes) and will likely be conducted by post-card or door-to-door canvassing. This will be a transparent and careful process. If you'd like to be involved, or get more informed on the benefits and trade-offs of an HOD-S, please join us on Slack (link), join our email list (firstname.lastname@example.org ), and follow this website.
February 2022 Update:
The survey of Mordecai Place architecture approved by the neighborhood and conducted by the Raleigh Historic Development Commission has been completed by an architectural historian and approved by RHDC. The report is available to the public: Link. It lists all properties in the neighborhood, designating them as contributing (built before 1947) or not contributing and offering a brief summary of the structure. Please contact [mhpc address] to be emailed a copy. Since the last architectural survey in 1998, the Mordecai Place neighborhood has gone from 167 contributing (historic) structures to 154.This approval clears the way for the neighborhood to more seriously consider historic overlay and preservation options for Mordecai Place.
We will be holding an informational meeting with Tania Tully of the RHDC and members of the Mordecai Historic Preservation Committee to answer questions and concerns and to share next steps. The meeting will be held via Zoom on March 16.
Mordecai Place Neighborhood Plan:
In the early 1990’s, the Mordecai Neighborhood decided it wanted to participate in a city supported neighborhood planning process. In early 1994, the Raleigh City Council appointed 12 residents to a Mordecai Neighborhood Planning Task Force. Input was gathered from CAC residents at monthly CAC meetings as well as from “special” community meetings. From start to finish, the planning process took approximately nine months, culminating with approval of the Neighborhood Plan by City Council in September 1994.
The Mordecai Neighborhood Plan established the framework for the CAC seeking and obtaining two Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Districts (NCOD), a rezoning of part of the CAC from R-10 to Special R-6, and a listing of part of the CAC in the National Register of Historic Places. Considerable work has been done on a variety of other issues identified in the Neighborhood Plan, including pedestrian and vehicular traffic concerns. View the PDF document and maps here.
Mordecai Place Historic District
Mordecai Place, like Raleigh's other early twentieth-century suburbs, occupies land that had been part of an antebellum plantation. The original plantation house, built in the eighteenth century and heavily altered in the Greek Revival style around 1824, survives and is open to the public as a house museum at Mordecai Historic Park. The early suburb that developed on sold and subdivided plantation land features a rich variety of the architectural styles popular in the first decades of the twentieth century, including the prolific Colonial Revival houses and Craftsman bungalows as well as the romantic revival styles like Tudor Revival, Dutch Colonial Revival, Spanish Mission Revival, and Italian Renaissance Revival. There are also a few examples of a more typically rural vernacular style, the two-story, side-gabled dwelling known as an I-house. Towards the middle of the twentieth century, smaller Cape Cods and Minimal Traditional houses were built.
The neighborhood's most impressive houses, naturally, stand on large parcels nearest the grand Mordecai House. These are large Colonial Revival and Georgian houses with brick exteriors and were likely architect-designed. Bungalows are the most common house type in the neighborhood, and many feature the Craftsman detailing so strongly associated with the house type.
In 1997, the Mordecai Place was designated as a National Register of Historic Places neighborhood.
National Historic Registry documents and maps: https://www.rhdc.org/mordecai-place-historic-district-3
Neighborhood Conservation Overlay Districts (NCODs) are generally limited to lot size, front setback and heights. This is the NCOD for Mordecai according to the UDO:
b.Conservation District 2 (east of Wake Forest Road, south of Cedar Street and portions of Courtland Drive - see Mordecai Plan boundaries)
Raleigh Historic Districts
Designation of historic neighborhoods or communities as local historic districts is a successful tool for maintaining a quality of life and providing economic security. Preservation has been proven to stabilize property values and stimulate new investment in older neighborhoods.
A Raleigh Historic District is a distinctive area, a place of singular historical flavor characterized by its streets and squares, buildings and trees, architectural design and landscape features. It may be monumental or simple, residential or commercial. There are currently eight local historic districts in Raleigh: Blount Street, Boylan Heights, Capitol Square, Moore Square, Oakwood, Prince Hall, Glenwood-Brooklyn, and Oberlin Village.
Mordecai Place is not currently a Raleigh Historic District. To learn more about the different types of local historic districts and HODs visit this page: https://www.rhdc.org/preservation-services/local-historic-landmark-and-district-designation