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, June 8, 2007

Is not denial of use of skylights and solar panels anywhere on property a violation of GA law providing solar easements? Global climate change is prob

Is not denial of use of skylights and solar panels anywhere on property a violation of GA law providing solar easements? Global climate change is problem we all will need to address and the sooner the better. Denial of use of skylights and solar panels on any portion of a property, including parts which may be seen from public right of way, is working in direct opposition to evironmental stewarship and prevents citizens of Oakhurst the opportunity to obtain tax credits that they otherwise could. Why not allow solar panels and skylights on all portions of house and expressly permit it in the Guidelines? What means more to nominators protection of block face or protection of environment? Protection of the environment does NOT occur under the proposed guidelines. Too many restrictions to simply preserve the block face of structures which are not truly historical in sense of National Historical Register requirements.

This question has been posed to the City of Decatur and their answer will be posted as soon as it is available.

My understanding is that solar panels are not denied, but that they must be reviewed. I am unable to find in the HPC meeting notes where this issue has been presented from one of the other local historic districts. There was a time when storm windows and energy efficient windows where not allowed in many of Georgia's historic districts. Technology used in such has improved and the use of storm windows, energy efficient windows, hardi-plank siding, skylights, etc. have been approved in many historic districts.

As far as the easement for solar systems in Georgia - here is the wording "Accordingly, under Georgia's Solar Easements Act of 1978, easements may be established to allow owners of solar-energy systems to negotiate for assurance of continued access to sunlight". I do not see how the proposed local historic district is in conflict with this act.

It is true that there may be some solar panels for use on some roof lines that could be determined to alter the historic character of the home and denied. I have a great deal of confidence in the low-cost, thin-film technology available today. There are panels that look like roofing material that conduct more energy from the sun that the bulky materials of the past. Given the past decisions of the HPC and the desire of the City of Decatur to promote environmentally friendly habits, I do not see this issue to be one that will hurt the residents within the proposed local historic district. I believe there are alternatives within the solar energy productions market that would be acceptable for use in the proposed district.


Anonymous said...

Skylights have been approved many times in the MAK district and at least in the last four years have never been denied or conditioned by the HPC. Examples include 129 West Davis, 224 Kings Hwy, 218 West Davis and 423 Adams. 308 West Davis is an example of skylights added prior to LHD designation that would not be subject to the commssion's review.

Anonymous said...

Are you aware that Amanda stated in public "input" meetings that solar panels and skylights not allowed if visible from public right away? Since she has not yet posted minutes from the first two public meetings (and hopefully will do so soon since the meetings are not well attended), I am glad she or another City official will be officially stating for record whether or not solar panels and skylights are allowed if visible from public right of way. However, best approach is to expressly state both are allowed, even if visible from public right of away without need of review if one values environmental protection over block face protection.

Anonymous said...

I have a question. What would be better for energy costs; a tree canopy over my house to help keep the house cool or no tree canopy and solar panels that are only exposed to the sun on average 4 hours a day in GA? I don't understand these solar panel questions. I haven't seen any in the proposed district now. I'm guessing this is because there isn't enough sun light in GA, we are in OAK-hurst (trees) and the cost is too high to make it worth it. If you do the math for here in GA the life expectancy of the solar panel ends before you get your money back. I'm tired of people berating you guys especially for environmental reasons. You guys are some of the biggest environmentalists I know. Why do you entertain these people?

Anonymous said...

Healthy trees are wonderful and much needed. However, what if you live in a home without a tree canopy? If you are an environmentalist and trees absent, why deny right too put solar panels and/or skylights on properties, in any location where they would provide most efficiency? Yes, this is OAKhurst and there are lots of trees, but there are also many homes that receive more than 4 hours of direct sunlight and do not have trees directly over house - why not allow those house holds to have solar panels and/or skylights anywhere on house where most energy efficient? Also, since when did endorsement of destroying green space label someone an environmentalist? Encouraging people to destroy green space and build out instead of up is not a very environmentally friendly approach. Maybe those alleging to be environmentalists who endorse destruction of green space should re-examine where they really stand.

Anonymous said...

"but there are also many homes that receive more than 4 hours of direct sunlight and do not have trees directly over house"

Do the research. Georgia only gets on average 4 to 4.5 hours of direct sunlight per day without trees. This is the kind of sunlight needed for solar power. Add trees and this will lower the sunlight exposure. I have looked into sun power extensively and it doesn't make since unless you live in a much sunnier location. It is not a good idea to loose thousands of dollars for an environmental cause when the money can be spent better elsewhere. You can plant a lot of trees with the 10s of thousands of dollars it takes to put a solar power system in you house. I say, instead, donate the money to Trees Atlanta and watch it grow with the trees they plant.

Anonymous said...

Think about how much direct sunlight time will be lost if someone builds a 35 foot house next to yours.