WEST ASHLEY, S.C. (WCBD) – The future of historic preservation in West Ashley is up for discussion.

The topic was addressed during the City of Charleston’s West Ashley Revitalization Commission, or WARC, meeting on Wednesday.

“There’s been a number of demolition requests in the West Ashley area. Some of which have gone before the Design Review Board for board review of the demolition, others that are not within board purview,” explained Robert Summerfield, Charleston’s Director of Planning, Preservation and Sustainability.

According to Summerfield, these recent requests sparked Wednesday’s discussion. He said buildings 50 years or older are protected in West Ashley if they are located within a commercial corridor. All others run the risk of being torn down unless they are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“There are buildings now that have reached an age that they are considered historic buildings and they are important to the fiber and the character of our neighborhoods,” said Charlie Smith.

Smith is a member of the WARC. He told News 2 he planned to propose a temporary, city-wide moratorium on the demolition of buildings 50+ years of age during the meeting. He wants to see permanent protections in place.

“Because if it takes another few years for those protections to be put in place then what are we going to lose between now and then?” questioned Smith.

Meanwhile, News 2 also spoke with Dr. Jay Wisner. He owns Peninsula Cosmetic & Family Dentistry on Savannah Highway, and the property adjacent to it. He’s been trying to get approval to tear down the neighboring home for years, but its age and location have protected it.

“It’s not safe, it’s been condemned by the fire marshal. It is a building that I’m afraid to walk into and I am not going to allow anybody to walk into it because I’ve been told, if there is an earthquake or any kind of seismic event, it would essentially be turned into a pile of bricks,” said Dr. Wisner.

Wisner said structural engineers told him the house was not able to be rehabbed unless it was demolished first. If given permission, he said he plans to salvage the brick and reconstruct the same building. Until then, it will remain unused.