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Realtor Sues Because Neighbor’s House is Ugly. World Says WTF?

There’s this woman, a realtor named Gail Wiesner, who sued her across the street neighbor-to-be, architect Louis Cherry, and filed a number of appeals with the city of Raleigh, North Carolina to halt construction on his modernist house because – get this – she didn’t like the way it looked.


Through a series of protracted appeals, the neighbor has been successful in getting the city to reverse its approval of Mr. Cherry’s permit. The house passed its building inspections and is 85 percent complete, yet sits empty, its future dependent on who finally wins a legal battle that never should have been allowed to happen. – Don’t Like Your Neighbor’s House? Sue Them – New York Times

I encourage you to click this link to read the article.

And here is a video of Ms. Wiesner expressing her deep concerns at a city council meeting:

It strikes me that there must be better things for Ms. Wiesner to focus on in her community besides a house she may find visually unappealing. Since Ms. Wiesner is a realtor, here are a few that might be right up her alley:

  • Helping homeless families
  • Volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity store
  • Organizing a block party to introduce her new neighbor to the community (if his house ever gets completed, of course)
  • Creating a task force to patrol her neighborhood for criminal activity
  • Forming a community garden in a local park to grow healthy fruits and vegetables for all to enjoy

Wouldn’t you think that, living in an eclectic and historic community like she does, Ms. Wiesner would be excited about the addition of something new and, well, modern on her street? Wouldn’t it make sense that a realtor, someone who’s very livelihood depends on good will and positive relationships within her community, might be cautious about suing a new neighbor because she thinks his house is ugly? As the head of Preservation North Carolina, Myrick Howard said about Ms Wiesner’s concerns about a modernist house ruining not only the aesthetics but the home values in her neighborhood:

Ms. Wiesner, who works in real estate, has also argued that having a modern house on the block will adversely affect the resale value of her own home. Here, too, Mr. Howard begs to differ: “The Cherry house doesn’t bring her property value down; in fact, it probably has a more positive affect on the neighborhood than Wiesner’s. Her house is two-thirds bungalow and one-third Victorian cottage. This is like putting strawberries and broccoli in the blender together. I love strawberries and I love broccoli, but not together.”

Here is a photo of Ms. Wiesner’s home courtesy


Here is Mr. Cherry’s home (unfinished) courtesy



Mr Cherry’s house looks quite nice to me.  But who knows, maybe I have bad taste?

Sharon Greenthal

Sharon's blog, Empty House Full Mind, focuses on observations of the world from the midlife empty nest. Sharon is the Young Adults Expert on Sharon writes for the Huffington Post and Purple Clover. Sharon is the mother of two grown children - a daughter, 26 and a son, 24. She lives in Long Beach, CA with her husband and their perfect dog, Lambeau. Instagram: sharongreenthal

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Thursday 16th of April 2015

Cherry's home is an architectural abomination. There is absolutely no beauty in something so cold and austere. Where's the charm and warmth in that style? There is none. It has an almost sickening Eichler-esque feel to the style. The architectural elements of mid-century modern tastelessness infused with 21st century tweaking is as bad as it gets. Some people have absolutely no eye for esthetics. I see these eyesores being cobbled together all the time. Architecture like that won't age well. Going over the top trendy with anything usually doesn't look good when new, and will look ghastly in due time.


Monday 14th of July 2014

His house is cuter than hers. I feel frustrated for him, thinking of all the legal fees he's had to pay.

Lisha Fink

Monday 14th of July 2014

I hope she's been saving for retirement. Because her reputation is about to get ugly.

Doreen McGettigan

Monday 14th of July 2014

I really thought his house was going to look like a tin can or something. His is nicer than hers. She should take your advice and pay it forward instead of backwards.


Monday 14th of July 2014

If you are wondering what is missing hereā€¦it's the other side of the story. I love modern homes but the neighbor has her right to an appeal just like everyone else. The owner chose to build his house through the appeal and put himself at great risk. He was told by the City that he was building at his own risk (before even his foundation was finished). But he built as quickly as he could (or so it seemed). All Gail and Dave Weisner did was file an intent to appeal 8 days after they got COA approval (that's happened many, many times in our historic district and the builders waited to build) UNC School of Government wrote a post that will fill in the massive gaps in the NYTimes op ed.

Sharon Greenthal

Monday 14th of July 2014

And my question to you is would you consider the home that Gail Weisner lives in to be of historic value?

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