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.

Friday, April 6, 2007

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.


Mark Haggerty said...

Hi Joy,
It's me Mark H. Keep up the good work. I plan on mentioning this tonight but in case I don't have the opportunity tonight...

I feel that this Local historic district should focus on preserving and protecting the contributing houses and their architecture. I agree with all the guidelines listed for the house it self. I don't feel that landscaping and detached buildings should be included in the guidelines other than protecting trees and the size and height of detached buildings. I could also see making sure that any landscaping would not cause problems for the house i.e. drainage. For non-contributing houses I would like to see very loose guidelines. A very modern, contemporary house in place of a non-contributing, nondescript house I think would be a good addition and add interest to the area. With that being said I don't know how you allow for it while having guidelines in place that would have stopped the really ugly house on East Lake. For me size and scale is a must for both contributing and noncontributing.

Thanks for all that you are doing.