What Local Historic District DOES NOT do: · Does not regulate paint colors · Does not require repairs or renovations to be made · Does not increase taxes beyond normal increases for the City or County · Does not prevent additions · Does not prevent non-contributing homes from being demolished · Does not require use of historic materials or historic building methods · Does not require that you open you home to the public · Does not restrict routine maintenance of properties
What Local Historic District DOES do: · Recognizes that Oakhurst has a distinctive historic character important to the overall character of the City of Decatur · Encourages creative and compatible development with historic areas · Requires that a Certificate of Appropriateness be obtained for exterior changes to contributing properties, demolition of buildings, and new construction. · Applies only to major renovations to the exterior of your home. Interior renovations are not restricted.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Local Historic District Documents available on website

A neighbor was kind enough to set up a website for documents related to the local historic district to be stored. As documents are updated and meeting notes made available they will be posted on the website. Here is the address -

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Is there a reason why only a portion of Oakhurst is included within the Local Historic District application? It seems like the application recognizes

Is there a reason why only a portion of Oakhurst is included within the Local Historic District application? It seems like the application recognizes that only a portion of the original city of Oakhurst is included in the application, but I don't understand why Feld Avenue is anymore historically significant than Benson or Jefferson or Fayetteville? Thanks!

While there are broad boundaries of the community we now call Oakhurst many of the areas vary greatly in their history. According to the Decatur Historic Preservation Resource Manual Benson, Jefferson and Fayetteville were annexed into the City of Decatur at a different time. The City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey conducted in the 1990s indicates that the streets you mention were not part of the original City of Oakhurst. Not all of the original City of Oakhurst was included. The section on the north side of the tracks asked not to be included because they feel they are no longer connected to Oakhurst and have developed their own neighborhood character and association with surrounding neighborhoods. Additionally, they felt that the manner in which their homes are connected to the street are vastly different from the proposed district. A portion of East Lake was excluded because it was obvious it was not developed until a much later period. Another street was excluded because it has a large amount of in-fill housing making the majority of the street non-contributing. The streets and homes chosen where part of the development by a few developers in the period of the construction of the Meade's rail station and South Decatur Trolley line. There could be a case made for the entire area of Oakhurst to be a local historic district, but many residents rejected the notion of seeking such protection. The proposed district has a high percentage of residents that would like to seek protection under the historic preservation ordinances.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Refering to the Decatur HPC website, there are 5 steps listed in the application process. At what step in the process is the Oakhurst Application?

We are in step C.

The steps are:
A. Members of the Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) or residents complete a nomination package.
B. The HPC accepts the nomination for further study or rejects the nomination.
C. Once the HPC accepts a nomination, city staff, the commission, and residents work together to create ordinances and design guidelines for the proposed district. Additional work includes showing the local district on the city's zoning map, adding to the history section, and determining contributing and non-contributing properties.
D. After all the work under "C" is complete, the Historic Preservation Commission holds a public hearing to consider the creation of the local historic district. This is when the public has an opportunity to comment in favor of or in opposition to the creation of the local district.BEFORE EVERY PUBLIC HEARING THERE IS AN AD IN THE LOCAL PAPER AND CERTIFIED LETTERS ARE MAILED TO EVERY PROPERTY OWNER AND RESIDENT.
E. If the HPC does not recommend creation of the district, then the process ends. If the HPC recommends creating the district, then the recommendation moves forward for consideration by the City Commission. Once the HPC recommends creating a district, a 90 day moratorium on building permits and demolitions goes into effect.
F. The final decision on creating a local historic district rests with the City Commission. When the City Commission considers creating the district there will be an opportunity for public comment.

The way of delivering information regarding the application process seems to be convoluted. The blog by your own admission is difficult to read. I lea

The way of delivering information regarding the application process seems to be convoluted. The blog by your own admission is difficult to read. I learned more in 5 minutes reading the Decatur HPC website than I got by pouring over the blog. It is important to make the information readily available to more people, perhaps an actual website would be more appropriate.

We appreciate your comments regarding the information and the blog. The blog was created to enhance what was available on the City of Decatur site. We thought that having a place to post questions would be good for the process. We have also provided printed documents provided by GAPC, HPC, and National Trust at meetings to help educate all residents. We are not historic professionals and all time is voluntary. We spend a considerable amount of money on copies and research and simply do not have the resources for a professional website.

With all the work that is being put into the process, it appears that many of the questions do not have answers. That's fine, as this is not an exact

With all the work that is being put into the process, it appears that many of the questions do not have answers. That's fine, as this is not an exact science. However, some questions that do have answers are answered in a fashion that to me appears to lack straighforwardness. The one that comes to mind initially is the question about added cost for permits if in a historic district. My interpretation to the posted answer is yes, it does add a cost to the process. There are other examples as well.

We regret that you believe the answers are not straight forward. We believe that some of the answers are not a straight yes or no. For instance, in your example of the additional cost of permitting we received different input from different individuals. We interviewed 12 residents in other local historic districts in Decatur. Ten of those residents reported that the process did not add cost to their renovation project. They had one meeting with the HPC, everything was approved and they moved on to construction. Two stated it did add cost. In general, you would assume that it could depending on the level of professional help you may have in the design of your project. We presented the answer as we did so that you could draw your own conclusion. We do not know your other examples, but our intentions were good on all of the questions.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Meeting 4/25/2007 6:30p-8:00p at the Solarium

There is a meeting on 4/25/2007 from 6:30p-8:00p at the Solarium. All residents of Oakhurst are welcome. The topic of the meeting is the proposed residential guidelines. There is a copy of the guidelines on this blog, but it is difficult to read. If you would like a Word document with the guidelines or a hard copy of the guidelines contact preserveoakhurst@gmail.com.

We are trying to schedule a general information meeting regarding the local historic district in May. Check back later for the exact date.

As a resident within the proposed local historic district, I am seriously concerned about the lack of notice. The nomination, according to the ONA new

As a resident within the proposed local historic district, I am seriously concerned about the lack of notice. The nomination, according to the ONA newsletter was apparently accepted by the HPC in January. Surely residents within the district proposed could have been notified within the intervening three months. More effort to meaningfully communicate needs to be made if you really want to have democratic input on this important issue.

We regret that you did not receive notice. We used fliers and a door-to-door campaign to notify residents in the proposed district of the intent to make a nomination and to ask for input. Your address was not included in the original nomination made in January. HPC asked us to reconsider our proposed boundaries because of the historic tie some areas had to the proposed streets. We resubmitted the boundaries in March. Between January and March we did try to visit with all residents that would be impacted. There is no perfect system of communicating, but we will continue to make every effort. Thank you for your input.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I am still confused about why the pursuit of listing on the National Register was abandoned. I know someone said it was an arduous process, but I woul

I am still confused about why the pursuit of listing on the National Register was abandoned. I know someone said it was an arduous process, but I would like to do a historic renovation of my home and would like the tax benefit.

The process would need to follow the guidelines set by the Georiga Department of Historic Resources located at http://hpd.dnr.state.ga.us/. One person's arduous process is another person's easy process. We have been told that the application is only lacking some photographs. The Georgia Department of Historic Resources was contacted last year and they stated they were familiar with Oakhurst and thought it was an excellent candidate. There are articles on the website as well. This designation is simply recognition and possible tax incentives. Anyone interested in pursuing the process again can contact Amanda Thompson for information.

Resolution R-07-HPC-01 Defeated

The City Commissioners declined to consider Resolution R-07-HPC-01 on April 16, 2007. We undestand that while there was a legal review and approval of the resolution prior to it being presented by HPC to the City Commissioners, it was later determined that there was no precedent for the HPC resolution. That being the case, the Resolution should not have been considered and the City Commissioners took the correct action.

The HPC made the recommendation for the resolution based on the documented number of demolished properties in the Oakhurst area and due to the concern voiced by the committee making the nomination. We appreciate that the HPC is concerned about the historic resources of our City.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Question of Why?

There was a posting on the Oakhurst list serve that asked why we want a local historic district. We are trying to make this more of an information sharing area than opinion sharing area, but this type of answer requires some opinion.

It is difficult to say when and how the answer to why all came together because it started as a conversation. Eventually there were many neighbors talking about the value in the architectural history of their street. That did not mean that an indiviual home was greatly historically significant, although it is historic, but that as a group of homes and group of streets it represents something of a larger historic value. Neighbors talked, then folks went door to door and soon we had a lot of neighbors who agreed they valued the uniquely historic quality of their neighborhood and were interested in local historic district. As a group of citizens this request is being made. The answer to why became to protect the unique historic character that we value.

The local historic district protection is not being pursued in response to in-fill zoning changes. But the recent in-fill recommendations illustrate that there will always be two sides to any property rights restriction. It was not too long ago that a group of citizens got together and told their commissioners that they would like to see changes in the in-fill zoning laws. In their own way they were seeking protection of one of their values. An unelected task-force was formed for this purpose. There was even an informal ONA taskforce created for input. Many neighbors offered their input. There are probably Oakhurst residents that do not feel their input was reflected in the recommendations from the task force. Their only recourse is to voice their opposition with the City Commissioners. All zoning effects property rights including zoning to allow only certain types of businesses near schools, requiring sidewalks for all new construction, etc. Other ordinances protect citizens in other ways that also limited personal and property rights such as noise ordinances.

There will be property owners within the district that do not want the additional overlay. They have every right to voice their opposition. There will be property owners outside of the district that do not want the local historic district and they have the right to voice their opposition.

As a parting thought, the neighbors seeking the local historic district are not looking to be exclusive of the Oakhurst community and we do not want to be excluded. Many of us living within the proposed historic district give our time and sweat to this community and will continue. We want to be a part of the community and many believe that the local historic district designation can enhance to the community as a whole and hope to encourage continued commercial and residential development whether it is historic or non-historic.

Why didn't you inform the neighborhood about the HPC meeting 4/9/2007?!?!?!

There were several questions of this nature via e-mail and at the meeting held 4/11/2007. The lack of notice to the community by the group pursuing local historic district regarding the HPC meeting 4/9/2007 was an oversight. As your neighbor we want you to be informed of such meetings. We have tried to keep the community informed and will continue to keep you informed. We offer the following explanation not as an excuse, but simply to express our apology.

During a meeting of the HPC we mentioned the great number of homes in the Oakhurst area that were being demolished and asked if there was anything we could do to protect the district while the nomination package was being completed. I do not know the correct terminology for their proceedings but we left with the impression that a recommendation would be made to the City Commission. It was my intention to notify the community of the City Commission meeting via the list serve. When we were confirming the date it would go before the City Commission we were told that there was a review of our request (we now know it was because the request was atypical) and it would go through another HPC meeting before it went before the City Commission. Whether through our own ignorance or just from being too busy in our daily lives we were not aware of the exact date it would go before the HPC. We found out it was going before the HPC on 4/9 from a posting on the blog Monday afternoon. We responded to the blog question as soon as we confirmed the information, which was around 4pm. We were so caught off guard only one committee member made the meeting and we were only able to contact a few neighbors to let them now of the meeting.

We do sincerely apologize. We feel that we have demonstrated open communication with the neighborhood through posting, flyer delivery, this blog, and door-to-door visits for over a year now. We assure you we will continue to strive for open communication.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"It is the opinion of the residents within the proposed district..." You should only state your own opinion and not speak for all residents of the pro

"It is the opinion of the residents within the proposed district..." You should only state your own opinion and not speak for all residents of the proposed district. Also, the guidelines posted on this site state that "New residential construction within Oakhurst should reference historic styles and types..." There is a lot of contradicting information and the guidelines leave a lot of decisions up to the descretion of the review board.

We apologize if we offended you with our comment. We will edit the post.

The design guidelines are proposed guidelines at this point and any input you may have is welcome. Do you have a suggestion for removing this contradiction?

The proposed guidelines are taken from 3 other local historic districts in Decatur. We used this as the starting point because there is some precedent and record for how the guidelines are applied. There is a need for some ambiguity because of the nature of this overlay. The basis for pursuit of protection under local historic district is because the steadfast nature of the zoning laws do not allow for such protection.

The Historic Preservation Commission is a resident board made up of architects and contractors. There is also a board member that is a citizen advocate. It is our opinion that this mix makes for a reasonable approach to the guidelines than we have seen in other cities.

We encourage you to attend HPC meetings.

When and where are the required official public hearings scheduled to take place?

We are unable to say when the public hearings will be scheduled. Notice will be given to all residents of Oakhurst. Legal notice is required for property owners within the proposed district.

Where is an easier question. The public hearings will be held at the Old Courthouse in Decatur. Both the Historic Preservation Commission and City Commission meet there on the bottom floor at the rear of the building.

Would you please clarify your assertion "all of Oakhurst is eligible for the National Register"? Was a nomination submitted to the Nat'l Register for

The response given to this question was to the question of tax benefits. It was to illustrate that local historic district does not have a tax incentive, but National Register does. While it was a separate issue that we were not involved it was presented to citizens of Oakhurst that they were eligible for the listing, a meeting was held, and a documentation process was started. It was not our effort so we do not have any details. Amanda Thompson may have additional information. It is my understanding that several residents voiced that they did not want the National Register recognition and it was dropped. The definition of National Register is listed below. It is our understanding that the National Register carries no restriction of personal property, but you may understand differently.

The National Register of Historic Places is the nation's list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. The National Register is a program of the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior.

The National Register is more than a list of resources that have been researched and documented as significant to the nation, state or community. The register is a tool for preserving historic properties. Listed properties are given special consideration when the federal government is planning or giving aid to projects. Listing gives private citizens and public officials credibility when attempting to protect these resources. Listing in the National Register, however, does not prevent a private citizen from altering, managing or disposing of the property.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I heard that non-contributing properteis could not be demolished

Every request for demolition requires appoval of the demolition and post-demolition plan. If there is a home that is non-contributing because it does not meet the age requirment, but is an outstanding example of a particular type of architecture then I could see why the commission could deny demolition. However, the intent of the public hearing is to protect historic homes, not to prevent demolition of non-historic homes.

The preservation ordinance has a specific section on code enforcement to prevent demolition by neglect.

If a historic property is already in a state of extreme disrepair, the HPC can give a variance for economic hardship and approve demolition.

If my home is destroyed 60% by a catastrophic event what guidelines do I use?

This is difficult to answer without knowing the exact situation. Every historic home can return to its original setbacks, lot coverage, etc. if it is destroyed without seeking a variance. As to how the house would have to be re-build, it most likely would need to comply to guidelines for new construction. It depends on what is destroyed.

How does the local historic designation fit in with the work done by the infill task force? Does one trump the other?

Local districts are a zoning overlay that works in combination with the zoning ordinace. The infill task force recommendations do not address demolition, building materials or the design of homes. The infill task force also does not address commercial areas at all. Only a local district requires a public hearing before the demolition of a structure and requires a plan be presented at the same time. The work of the infill task force will control the overall mass of a home and setbacks, but will not comment on design or building materials. The local historic district can also address the relation of homes to each other and to the street - which is part of design.

I heard that historic districts result in property tax benefits. Can you please address this?

There are only tax benefits if you are on the National Register. All of Oakhurst is eligible for the National register. This was presented to Oakhurst last year and it was declined.

The words "should" and "should not" appear frequently through the proposal. Understanding their definition, how ill this type of language be enforced

Should and should not are used in lieu of must or must not because there must be some leeway when desicussing the design guidelines. There is also a procedure for granting variances from the ordinance.

Will these proposed guidelines make it more challenging to attract businesses to our commercial district?

This is difficult to answer. Old Decatur is the first local historic district to include a large amount of commercial property in the local historic district. They have only been approved for a short time, so there is little evidence either way. I can point you to an article written by Athens-Clarke County "Economic Benefits of Historic Preservation in Georgia, A Study of Three Communities: Athens, Rome and Tifton" it can be found at www.athensclarkecounty.com/~planningdept/hpecon1.html. It is my opinion that this article is evidence that historic districts do not slow down commercial development, but you need to decisde for yourself.

Most commercial property owners expect to go through a longer approval process than residential developers. The easiest way to speed up the design process is to have clear, well defined design guidelines. Local districts ensure that the owner will actually use the materials he/she promises to use during the planning review process. This type of conditional approval provides the neighborhood with high quality development.

When do you hope/anticipate the designation to take place?

It is hard to say how long the remaining process will take or predict whether or not the district will be approved along the process. Much depends on continued public support. I estimate 60-90 days.

Where is the proposed district in the time line of the local historic district flow chart?

The Historic Preservation Commission has accepted the nomination. The design guidelines are now being developed through a series of public meetings. Once that is completed a public meeting will be held with the Historic Preservation Commission for approval to submit the district to the City Commissioners. If it is approved the district will go before the City Commissioners in a public meeting.

Is it true that the historic preservation commission is voting on a 90 day moratorium for the proposed district tonight?

Yes, it is true.

Why do I need to follow the historic design guidelines if my home is not contributing?

The proposed design guidelines cover both contributing and non-contributing homes, but they are not the same. The guidelines for non-contributing home renovation or new construction is less restrictive than those for contributing properties. The intent of the guidelines for non-contributing and new construction is to moderate the mass, scale, height, relationship to the street and rhythm of the street so as to not distract from the unique character of the contributing properties. The current zoning and new in-fill zoning do not address these issues. The intent is not to require new construction to mimic the protected housing style, in fact it is discouraged. It is the opinion of the resident committee that pusued the local historic district that homes built to a height of 2 1/2 stories on a street where the majority of the contributing houses are either 1 or 1 1/2 stories distracts from the historic character of the street. However, we recognize that some streets have larger mass and scale within the historic structures and therefore new construction of 2 1/2 stories may not cause such a distraction. Because citywide zoning can not address such detail and protect historic properties/character there is a ordinance allowing for local historic district to meet such demand. The limits to square footage, lot coverage, impervious surface, etc are still governed by the existing zoning laws.

Can I voice my opinion about the inclusion of the Oakhurst Village if I do not live within the proposed district?

All Decatur residents are allowed to comment or ask questions about the proposed district. Your questions can be sent to preserveoakhurst@gmail.com and will be posted on this blog. Your questions/comments can also be directed to Amanda Thomas or your City Commissioner.

The design guidelines for the commercial district have not been published. The guidelines used by Old Decatur Historic District are under consideration. I will be happy to provide anyone with this information upon request.

Why was the name Oakhurst Historic District chosen when the district does not include the entire neighborhood

The name of the local historic district was chosen because the streets included in the proposed district are original to Oakhurst before annexation into Decatur. Oakhurst Subdivision developed around the time of the opening of the South Decatur Trolley line. The main residential streets where Park Place, Viola (now Madison), College Avenue, Mead's Road (now Mead Road), and Winter Avenue. The streets between Winter and Mead developed soon after. When the town was incorporated it included the Lenox Place subdivision across the rail road(Drexel, Melrose, etc.).

The opportunity to be included in the local historic district was open to all residents of the Oakhurst Community. The proposed district developed because of the interest and work of the residents of those areas. We have purposefully used the Oakhurst Historic District to signal that we are open for other streets to annex into the district. Requirements for such annexation can be discussed with Amanda Thompson with the City Manager's office. Annexation will be available if and when the current district is actually approved.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Can I be annexed into the district?

The Historic Preservation Commission will recommend a certain district for approval by the City Commission. If someone wants to be added later, they will have to follow the same public process that we are going through now. If it is a small, contiguous group of property owners that want to be included under the existing ordinances and guidelines, they would just go through the public hearing and notification process.

So, yes you can be, but there is a specific process to follow.

Are the guidelines for the Oakhurst Historic District more or less restrictive than other historic districts in the City?

The MAK district is the most restrictive district and all other districts are pretty similar. Oakhurst initial guidelines indicate it will be similar to the other districts. Generally, the more cohesive the district is (the more the buildings look the same) the "stricter" it will be because you have less choice in your compatible building materials. However, if the neighborhood decides that they want to encourage contemporary construction, then new construction could be made out of a wider variety of building materials.

Do I need a certificate of appropriateness to demolish my non-contributing house?

Every structure (historid and non-historic) has to go through the design review process. Generally, projects like new construction, additions , installing new window locations require a Certificate of Appropriateness. Projects like replacing an existing window, door, or change in driveway materials require a Certificate of Exemption.

To whom do I direct my questions and/or concerns about the proposed guidelines

If you have suggestions, or changes to make to the guidelines, send them to Amanda Thompson. Same with questions.

If you are in support or opposed to a district you can send a letter or e-mail to Amanda Thompson or to your City Commissioner.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

I do not want local historic district because of additional restrictions.

There have been a few comments regarding the additional restrictions imposed on personal property under the local historic district.

First, there are those opposed to any restrictions on personal property. This includes the current zoning restrictions and the new proposed zoning submitted by the infill task force. The proposed local historic district will not change the existing zoning laws - you will still need to comply. The local historic district is an additional overlay to the zoning laws and do represent some additional restrictions. You will need to read the proposed guidelines to determine whether or not you are comfortable with the information.

The second most common negative comment has been "My live in a historic district and it is just awful to work around the restrictions". It is difficult to respond to this comment because the specific district is usually not named. Each state, county, or city can have different ordinances or methods of developing a historic district. There are also different levels of historic district throughout the country. If provided with the name of the historic district I will be happy to compare their design guidelines with those of the proposed district. The local historic district is considered one of the least restrictive of the historic districts (there are less restrictive designations). Again, you will need to read the guidelines and determine your opinion on this matter. If you live within the district you can provide input on the guidelines.

There are comments similar to the one above but with a more positive spin "My live in a historic district and it is wonderful". We have several local historic districts in Decatur and I will be happy to provide you with references from the district if so desired. The Historic Preservation Commission meets twice a month and you can get a real sense of how the guidelines work by attending the meetings. See the City of Decatur website for a schedule.

Please include your name and address for the public record

Please include your name and address when asking questions or making comment regarding the proposed local historic district. This is important so we can keep an accurate public record. If you do not want your name and address published on the blog you can send your question or comment to preserveoakhurst@gmail.com. While your question or comment will be part of public record using the e-mail will keep some discretion. Thanks.

Request to be excluded from the local historic district

There was a question regarding the ability to request to be excluded from the local historic district. Of course the answer is yes, you can make such a request. The appropriate people to contact are your City Commissioners and the Historic Preservation Commission. Your request will also be noted in the public record.

I encourage you to provide the blog with any of your reasons for making such a request. Your opinion is valuable. Some of the comments, versus questions, heard so far are concerns that do not apply to the specifices of the proposed local historic district. Good, bad, or indifferent we want to make sure everyone has a good understand of the full proposal.

Thank you for the question.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Meeting April 11, 2007 6:30pm -8:00pm

There is a meeting scheduled for April 11, 2007 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at the Solarium. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the design guidelines for Oakhurst Historic District. Please post questions or e-mail questions you have on this subject to preserveoakhurst@gmail.com if you are unable to attend.

Oakhurst Historic District Proposed Residential Design Guidelines

Oakhurst Historic District
Proposed Design Guidelines
April 2007


Oakhurst has a unique history as its own town incorporated in 1910. The development of the City of Oakhurst paralleled the early development of the City of Decatur and therefore shares much of the same character as some of the oldest neighborhoods in the City. As modern development began to encroach on the historic character of the neighborhood citizens began to look for opportunities and guidelines for sensitive redevelopment and new residential development within the Oakhurst Community.

The Historic Preservation Commission and residents of Oakhurst developed these design guidelines to assist the city of Decatur in the continued preservation of the Oakhurst Historic District. The following proposed design guidelines will serve as a uniform set of criteria to evaluate any proposed changes within the Oakhurst district. Ultimately, these guidelines serve to protect the visual qualities of the district's historic and cultural resources.

The guidelines are available to aid neighborhood property owners who may be considering alterations, additions or new construction projects within the district. Additionally, they should be used by the Decatur Historic Preservation Commission in evaluating proposed alterations, additions, or demolitions to historic properties and new construction within the Oakhurst district. These guidelines will also assist property owners in understanding the unique historic character of the buildings and environment of the Oakhurst district. The guidelines should act as a guide to owners who are faced with decisions about repair, maintenance, rehabilitation and new construction.

The following design guidelines are not to be viewed as rigid restrictions created to halt all change or to return the district to a prior historical period or style. Rather these guidelines are meant to serve as standards that can guide neighborhood residents in sound design, repair, rehabilitation and preservation practices to reinforce, enhance and protect the existing historic character of the Oakhurst Historic District.
Oakhurst Historic Overview
The development of Oakhurst Historic District was tied to the expansion of the railroad. One of the early stations built was Meade Station, which is thought to have been located at what is now Mead Road. John F. Ridley sold off portions of his property near the station for the development of the town of Oakhurst. Oakhurst was incorporated in 1910. The 1910 residential directory gave addresses in Oakhurst along Park Place, Viola (Madison), College Avenue, Meades Road (Mead Road) and Winter Avenue. Oakhurst was annexed into the City of Decatur in 1915.

Continued development was linked to the addition of trolley lines. The North Decatur line was built in 1892 running north of Candler Park, down to DeKalb Avenue and then following East Lake Drive South. It then crossed the South Decatur line at the intersection of Oakview Road, East Lake Drive and Mead Road in what is now Oakhurst Commercial District.

The development of Oakhurst was tied or closely related to the expansion of Decatur and enjoys some of the same character as the oldest developments in the City. Oakhurst Historic District housing is predominately in the bungalow style with Craftsman details. The majority of the homes are of wood construction, but there are many brick or stone homes. They are further distinguished by the simplicity of detailing and large front porches.

Oakhurst Baptist Church was the first church of any denomination in the City of Oakhurst.

Nestled within the Oakhurst Neighborhood is Oakhurst Elementary School, which recently underwent a nicely crafted and historically sensitive renovation, adding charm to the neighborhood. Having a school within the neighborhood creates a sense of community and enhances the small town feel of the district.

Oakhurst – Residential Guidelines

The proposed Oakhurst Historic District is not one of the city's oldest residential neighborhoods considering it was not annexed until 1915. However, the development of the Town of Oakhurst mirrored that of the expansion of Decatur and therefore much of the housing is of a similar age and character as some of Decatur’s oldest neighborhoods. The residential style is predominantly bungalow with various levels of detailing. There are also good examples of Queen Annes, Pyramidal Cottages, two-story Craftsmans, Gabled Ells, Georgian Revival Bungalows, Temple Forms, Minimal Traditionals, Amercian Foursquare and a few English Vernacular Revivals. The most prevalent building material is wood. There are some brick and stone houses. This large intact residential area from one of the earliest developments of land between Atlanta and Decatur is an excellent example of the bungalow style and reveals a wealth of information about the history of Decatur. The neighborhood also maintains a cohesiveness through the presence of tree-lined sidewalks and houses of similar massing, scale, and setback.

Landscape features such as driveways and sidewalks are present throughout the proposed district. The majority of the homes have driveways on the side of the home leading to a rear parking area. Driveway materials used in the neighborhood are poured concrete and gravel. Fences, while not consistent in the neighborhood, do exist on a couple properties. Fence materials consist of wood. Sidewalks lined with mature trees located on both sides of all district streets combined with rear parking areas and unobtrusive fences help maintain the pedestrian-friendly nature of Oakhurst.

Oakhurst's consistent historic architectural style and the presence of mature landscape features in combination with the consistent setbacks and massing of homes throughout the district creates a neighborhood that is pedestrian friendly and inviting.

Residential Areas of Oakhurst

Residential Preservation and Rehabilitation
Exterior materials and features are important components that help to define the architectural style and period of a house and enhance the historic character of the neighborhood. For this reason, there are a few basic, but essential preservation principles that should be kept in mind when conducting any repair or rehabilitation project involving residential properties in the proposed Oakhurst Historic District.


• When cleaning or repairing historic exterior materials, it is important to always use the
gentlest methods and means possible.

• Preserve, maintain and repair rather than replace historic building materials. Architectural features and details of a historic building should not be removed or altered.

• If replacement of historic materials is necessary, they should be replaced with like
materials and design or with visually similar materials.

• Missing contributing features should be reconstructed based on physical, pictorial or
historical evidence.

• New ornamentation, details and the use of other materials not compatible with the period and
style of historic buildings in the Oakhurst neighborhood is not appropriate.

• Historic materials and features should not be covered with vinyl, aluminum, stucco or
other synthetic materials.

Masonry Material
There are several brick veneer buildings in the proposed Oakhurst Historic District. Brick and stone foundations, porch piers and chimneys are common on almost all of the historic houses in the neighborhood. These masonry features should be retained and preserved. If repair or replacement of historic masonry is necessary, the color, shape, size and visual appearance of the material should match the original as closely as possible.


• Maintain all masonry veneer, piers, chimneys
and architectural features. Repair damaged
masonry to match existing historic materials
in shape, size and color.

• Repointing of mortar should match the historic
mortar in width, depth, color,
Appropriate patch of brick masonry material
composition and texture.
The use of Portland cement without lime or other
hard mortars without lime for repointing of older masonry
is damaging to the historic material and not appropriate.
• Do not paint or waterproof unpainted brick.

• Do not apply stucco, cement or other synthetic
material over existing masonry.

• Do not use artificial materials imitating
stone or brick.

Inappropriate patch of brick wall
• Never clean brick or stone using sandblasting.

On any repointing project, care should be taken to
match the original mortar widths and color
Wood Material
Clapboard wood siding is the most common exterior surface material found on houses in Oakhurst and therefore, a primary element contributing to the visual character of the neighborhood. Wood shingles are also used, primarily as decorative features in the gable wall-surface patterns of the many Craftsman Style houses located throughout the neighborhood.


• Historic wood siding and shingles should be

• If necessary, repair or replace damaged siding
with material that matches the reveal or lap, width,
thickness, profile, texture, placement and design of
the historic material.

• Introduction of new wood features
incompatible in size, scale, or material
is not recommended.

• Historically painted surfaces should not be
stripped to bare wood or have clear finishes
or stains applied to them.

• The removal of synthetic siding such as
aluminum, asbestos and vinyl and restoration
of historic wood siding is highly encouraged,
but not required.

Inappropriate repair – size and placement of patch does not match the existing siding material
Appropriate patching technique for wood siding
Porches and Decks
Porches are important architectural design elements and are often the focal point on historic homes in the proposed Oakhurst Historic District. In addition to providing visual interest to a house, they also influence its perceived scale, protect entrances and provide shade and shelter. Many of the porches on houses of the neighborhood are off-center or side-corner and cover ½ to 2/3 the width of the building. Other examples of full-width, stoops, porticos, side and rear service porch types can be found on many of the historic houses.


• Front and side facade porches should be
maintained in the historic configuration and
with their historic material and detailing.

• Where necessary, replace missing posts,
railings and other decorative features in kind.

• If the historic porch is missing, a new porch
should be accurately reconstructed based on
photographic or physical evidence.

• Avoid using materials not typical to the
neighborhood. Porch columns of aluminum or
wrought iron are not appropriate for
front porches.

• Decks should be located to the rear of the
house and not visible from the
public right of way.

Porch Enclosure

• Do not enclose an historic front porch with
opaque materials.

• Screen material may be acceptable as long as
it maintains transparency. Framing of the
screening material should be set behind the
porch columns and balustrades.

• Rear decks and porches may be enclosed with
screening material when not readily visible
from the street.

Most Oakhurst houses have foundations of continuous brick or brick piers with brick infill, stone or concrete. A few of the houses have granite foundations. Repointing and repair of residential foundations should follow the masonry guidelines.


• Foundations between existing piers should be
filled in as traditional for the type and style of
the house. Infill with concrete block and stucco
may be considered.

• The infill should be recessed behind the
existing piers and should allow for significant
ventilation under the structure.

• Foundations of brick may be painted if the
brick and/or mortar is mismatched or
inappropriately repaired.
Do not cover brick foundation masonry with concrete or stuccoWindows
Traditional window styles and their architectural configuration on historic houses greatly contribute to the building’s appearance. Many windows in Oakhurst are double or single-hung
sash, casement and fixed single pane. There are various Craftsman styled upper sash over a single pane throughout the neighborhood. 2/1, 3/1 and 4/1 are three of the most common light configurations. There are other variations consistent with bungalow details.


• Windows should be preserved in their historic
location, size and design and with their
historic materials, number of lights
and panes and shutters.

• Damaged windows should be repaired rather
than replaced.

• Avoid using shutters of vinyl construction in
the Oakhurst Historic District.

• If necessary, replacement windows should
keep with the architectural style and period of
the house.

• Oddly shaped windows, such as fanlights,
octagons, circles, and diamonds are
not compatible to the residential architectural
styles found in Oakhurst and should not be

• Only simulated (double-sided) or true divided lights
are required in the district.
No snap-in muntins are permitted.
There is a wide variety of historic door types and designs found in the proposed Oakhurst Historic District. In general, the doors and entranceways of most houses are defined by the structure’s architectural style which is predominantly bungalow.


• Historic front and side entry doors and/or their
surrounds, sidelights, transoms and hardware
should be retained and not be altered.

• If a deteriorated door must be replaced, the
new door and surround should be similar to
the original in design and materials.

• New doorways should not be added to the
front or side facades.

• Screen doors and storm doors should be
compatible with existing historic doors in shape, size,
material, and appearance.

Inappropriate door styles for Oakhurst

Hipped, gabled and pyramidal are just a few of the many different roof types found on the residential buildings in Oakhurst. The predominate roofing material is asphalt shingle. Preservation and maintenance of these various roof types of the bungalow style houses are important and contribute to the unique historic character of the proposed Oakhurst district.


• Historic roofs should be preserved in size,
shape and pitch with historic features
(such as brackets, cresting, and chimneys)
and roof material.

• Unique historic roofing materials such as tile,
metal, or slate should be repaired and preserved.
If repair is not practical, replacement in kind
or with asphalt shingles may be acceptable.

• Dormer additions, if necessary, should be located where
they are not visible from the public right of way. Dormers on the
front fa├žade will be considered, but are not encouraged.

• The addition of decks, balconies, skylights
and solar collectors that are visible from the
public right of way are not recommended.

• Historic gutters and downspouts should be
maintained or replaced with visually similar
materials appropriate to the style and period
of the house.

Many of the historic houses in Oakhurst have 1-3 chimneys. For many of the late 19th and early 20th century architectural styles, the location of the chimney is an important contributing architectural element and should not be altered or removed.


• Chimneys should be maintained and preserved
in accordance with the recommendations
outlined in the Masonry Material section.

• If a chimney must be rebuilt due to instability
or deterioration, the proportion, type, design and
material should match in historic design,
location and material composition.

• The application of stucco veneer or other
siding material over existing historic chimney
masonry materials is not appropriate.

Residential Additions and New Construction
New residential construction within Oakhurst should reference historic styles and types, yet still be a product of the time when the new structure was built. New construction should also match existing buildings in scale and mass in order not to overwhelm smaller historic structures.

Design goals:

• Compliment historic structures by matching
scale, proportion, and form.

• Keep historic features of the block face

• Match height, orientation, proportion, and setback of
historic houses on block face.

• Use traditional building materials such as
brick and wood siding.

Additions to Residential Buildings
Additions to residential buildings may be necessary to expand a historic home with a small floor plan. Many buildings within Oakhurst have expanded their buildings As a rule, additions should be placed to the rear of the property and should complement the existing structure.


• New additions should be placed away from
the front facade of the building.

• New additions should be compatible with the
design and scale of the historic building and
should also use similar materials.

• New additions should be created so that a
minimal amount of historic material will be
damaged, destroyed, or obscured.

• Historic materials removed during the construction process
should be re-used to the extent possible.

• Historic additions and/or alterations should
be preserved if they have gained significance
in their own right.

• Full rooftop additions are discouraged.

Many outbuildings located within Oakhurst are detached garages or carports located behind the main house. Outbuildings may be utilized for storage or workspace. If outbuildings are visible from the right of way, they should be compatible with the home in scale and design. Most outbuildings within the proposed district are made of wood construction with wood or vinyl siding.


• Garages, sheds, or other outbuildings that are
original to the property, or have gained
historic significance in their own right should
be preserved.

• Rehabilitation of outbuildings should follow
the residential design guidelines outlined
previously in this section. Materials used for the
the outbuildings should be the same or similar to
existing materials or be similar or complementary
to the house.

• The location of a new outbuilding should be
placed towards the rear of the property and
should be compatible in scale (the outbuilding
should not be larger than the home) and
design with the historic building.

Locate all new outbuildings to the rear of
the property
Building Mass, Scale, and Proportion
It is important that new construction maintain continuity within the Oakhurst district by respecting the size of historic buildings around it. New houses should be constructed in a manner that respects or complements the size, scale and rhythm of the existing houses.


• New buildings should match the proportion, scale,
massing, setback, height and street orientation
of existing buildings in their area. New buildings should
continue to add to the pedestrian-friendly environment
of manystreets within the district.

• The scale of a building should relate to and
respect its lot size and placement.

Foundation/Floor to Ceiling Heights
The flow and rhythm of historic houses within Oakhurst should be preserved, and new
construction should be compatible with the height of existing buildings. The majority of the houses in Oakhurst are single story bungalows of similar height.


• Foundation height for new construction
should be compatible with adjacent structures.

• New construction in residential areas must
have foundation heights of at least 1 foot
above grade on the primary facade.

• Slab on grade house construction is inappropriate
for the Oakhurst neighborhood and
is discouraged.

• Brick construction must have the foundation
level delineated through some type of belt

• New construction should be compatible with
adjacent structures in floor to ceiling heights.
The foundation, window and door heights of the infill house are compatible with other
houses along the residential block face
Building Types and Styles
Oakhurst building type is predominately Bungalow with various levels of Craftsman detailing. New construction should reference the architectural types and styles historically found within the


• New buildings should follow historic
architectural styles and details; however, they
also should be a product of their time and
distinguishable as contemporary construction.

• The form of a new building should be similar
to those traditionally found in the Oakhurst
Historic District.

• One simple form should be the dominant
element in a building design or one prominent
architectural style should be adhered.

• Building forms that step down in scale to the
rear of the lot are encouraged.

• Traditional roof forms should be utilized.
Simple gabled and hipped roofs are appropriate;
exotic roof forms that detract from the visual
continuity from the street are not appropriate.

• The number and size of dormers should be
limited on a roof in order for the primary roof
to remain prominent.
Building Materials
Building materials most commonly found within Oakhurst include clapboard (wood) siding and brick. It is important for new construction to include historic building materials that complement the historic character of the district. New materials such as metal or vinyl siding will detract from the integrity of the district.


• The use of materials that are similar to those
traditionally used on historic houses in the
Oakhurst neighborhood is encouraged for
all new construction. Traditional materials
include clapboard wood siding, wood
shingles, brick and cut stone and granite.

• New buildings may utilize contemporary
materials, such as smooth faced cementitious
siding, as long as they are visually compatible
with surrounding historic buildings within the
district. Vinyl and aluminum siding are

• Metal siding, mirrored windows, polished
metals, stacked stone and river rock are
inappropriate materials for the proposed
Oakhurst Historic District.

• The size, shape and texture of masonry should
appear similar to that used on historic houses
along the block face.
The historic patterns of solids to voids should be replicated in new construction in order to keep the historic integrity of the block face intact. Inappropriate window sizes and types detract from the architectural consistency of the block face. Most windows within the district are double hung sash windows, and the majority of homes within the district have one front door.


• Window size and arrangement should match
existing historic houses within the district.
• The solids (walls) to voids (windows and
doors) ratio should be similar to historic

• New residential construction should have
single pane, double-hung or casement
windows with true divided or simulated lights.
Windows with snap-in grid systems are not appropriate
in the proposed Oakhurst Historic District.
The fenestration pattern on this new construction would be inappropriate for the Oakhurst neighborhood

Snap-in grid system vinyl windows are inappropriate for new residential construction
Demolition and Relocation of Historic Structures
The demolition of historic houses within Oakhurst is discouraged because historic houses that are unique to the district can never be recreated with the same integrity.


• Historic buildings should not be demolished.

• A building or structure should not be relocated
out of the proposed historic district if the
building retains its architectural and historic

• Historic buildings should not be relocated
from one location to another within the
district unless the building would otherwise
be demolished and relocation could save the

• If a building is relocated from one location to
another within the district, the site and setting
of the relocated building should be similar to
the historic site and setting of the building.

• The relocation of historic buildings into the
historic district may be appropriate and will
be subjected to the same guidelines as new

Retaining Walls
In areas where the street grade is considerably lower than the grade of house lots retaining walls provide decorative transitions from the public expanse of the sidewalk to the more
private zones of the front yard and porch. Many of the properties within the Oakhurst neighborhood have some form of retaining wall. These walls are composed of brick, rough granite stone, and concrete slab. Historic retaining walls contribute directly to the character of the block face and the Oakhurst district.


• Preserve historic retaining walls. If historic
retaining walls need repair, they should be
replaced with like materials.

• If deterioration occurs, replace only the portions
that are deteriorating with like materials.

• The use of paint or stucco to cover a historic wall
surface is not appropriate.

• Reduce pressure on retaining walls by
improving drainage behind them. Drains in
the wall should allow moisture to pass freely.

• The construction of new retaining walls
should incorporate historic materials.
Brick and rough granite stone are the most
prevalently used in the proposed district
and are considered appropriate for
new construction.
Fences can define house lots, create private space, add to security, and play a decorative role on a property. Few front yard fences are found in the Oakhurst Historic District. Backyard fences are a more prevalent site feature in properties contributing to the historic character of Oakhurst though most are recent additions. Front yard fences need to be maintained using existing materials, while new fencing should be erected in the backyards of houses and should not impact front facades and sight lines.


• If present, historic fences should be
preserved with historic materials.

• Surfaces should remain painted to protect
against the elements.

• If deterioration occurs, replace only the
portions that are deteriorating with
like materials.

• Fencing may be used to define a rear yard.
New fencing should be constructed behind the
front building line and should not stand flush with
the front facade.

• Fences should be constructed of historically appropriate materials.
Synthetic materials are not recommended.

• Rear fencing should not exceed 6 feet
in height.
Trees and Lawns
The historic pattern of vegetation in yards should be maintained along streets. Front yards should complement one another, creating continuity between yards. The maintenance of the mature tree stock of the neighborhood is one of the most important means of preserving the historic landscape.



• Mature trees measuring 12 inches in diameter
or greater should not be removed unless
they are diseased or hazardous. An exception can
be made regarding the removal of Bradford Pear trees
with proper tree replacement.

• If a tree is removed, the stump shall be ground flush
to grade.


• Grass lawns in the front yards are of importance

• The use of hard surface paving for patios and
terraces in a front yard is not
appropriate and out of character with the
historic landscape.
Walkways have historically been ornamented entrance ways leading visitors from the public spaces of the streets edge to the private space of the front porch or doorway. Walkways within the proposed Oakhurst Historic District feature a greater variety of building materials. The most frequently used materials are concrete slab and brick. Historic orientation in terms of connection of street and front porch or doorway should be maintained.

Residential Parking
Cars were not a factor in the founding of Oakhurst. However, over time they have become an integral part of the urban landscape. Inappropriate placement and design of parking
could have a negative impact on the historic character of the neighborhood. To promote the
established pedestrian-nature of Oakhurst, the visual impact of automobile parking should be
minimized. This is accomplished by maintaining the historic pattern parking placement in the rear
of house lots in detached structures. Driveways should be maintained in the pattern of orientation
and size established by the contributing structures within the area of influence. Most driveways are typically composed of concrete slab and are situated to one side of the house. These driveways lead straight to rear parking areas.


• Parking areas and structures are to be located
to the rear or side of buildings. Incorporation
of a garage or carport into the front facade of
a house is inappropriate.

• Garages, parking pads, and carports should be
situated to the rear of the house.

• Historic driveway alignment, at one side of
the house, should be maintained.

• The driveway should lead straight from the
street to the parking area. The construction of
circular driveways and parking pads in the
front yard is inappropriate.