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.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Smaller Homes Could Lose Value as Out of Scale Homes are Built

Here is an excerpt from CNN’s Open House aired 3/31/2007
As Atlanta City Councilwoman Norwood points out the oversized house can literally cause the smaller house to lose value because it is only worth the land. It becomes a tear-down. Norwood tried to pass new regulations that would limit the size of houses to help maintain the character and look of Atlanta's signature neighborhoods.

Local historic district works in a similar fashion. It protects the unique historic character of an area while still allowing additions, new construction, growth and development. It takes a little more work, but the results can be phenomenal.

The entire transcript can be found at
Here is the entire piece regarding McMansions
WILLIS: McMansions, those oversized homes that seem to be popping up all over the country. Well, they're not always popular. In fact, some neighbors are downright determined to keep those ginormous (ph) houses out of their town. That's what's going on right now in Atlanta.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)WILLIS (voice over): Drive through Atlanta's older neighborhoods, and they're hard to miss -- new houses, most of them big, and some the subject of controversy.

DORIS BETZ, ATLANTA RESIDENT: If you go down the streets and you see these out-of-scale, out-of-proportion homes to the craftsmen bungalows around it, it just looks like it doesn't belong. It's just not keeping with the integrity, the historic integrity.

DAVIS: Atlanta City Councilwoman Mary Norwood is leading the fight against so-called McMansions.

MARY NORWOOD, ATLANTA CITY COUNCILWOMAN: If you are the egregious example and you are three to four times the size of the house next door, that house can literally lose value because it is only worth the land. It becomes a tear-down.

WILLIS: Norwood is trying to pass new regulations that would limit the size of houses, and she hopes would help maintain the character and look of Atlanta's signature neighborhoods. But critics say the regulations won't work.

DAVID GREEN, ATLANTA ARCHITECT: If they make the changes that are proposed, it's going to become an incredibly complicated, complex process, that ultimately really won't have any effect on the way that we see the houses from the street. [zoning laws changes make it more complex]

WILLIS: The proposed regulations are complex, but they boil down to restricting the square footage and height of a new home, based on the size and elevation of the lot.

COOPER PIERCE, ATLANTA ARCHITECT: I think we have come up with recommendations that will limit that bulk, but still allow people, if they want to build a 3,000-square foot home or a 5,000-square foot home in an existing neighborhood. [recommendation are similar to the local historic district design guidelines]

WILLIS: But opponents say the regulations won't allow even modest two-story homes to be built on some lots. And some folks here say in order to bring families into established communities, larger houses are a necessity. [local historic district allow the community to create specific guidelines that protect their specific resources]

CINDY DAVIS, ATLANTA HOMEOWNER: People don't want to live in a small house anymore. People want to have a larger house, especially if it's more than one person living there, you know. This neighborhood traditionally had been a lot of single people, a lot of younger people, and that's changing. And the housing stock is changing with that. [actually the neighborhood is only 15% single, 15% retired, 25% married/committed no kids, rest are families - scare tactic from the neighbor]

WILLIS: Changes that could have a major impact on the look and feel of Atlanta's neighborhoods. (END VIDEOTAPE)

WILLIS: Those proposed regulations are still being debated in Atlanta. The earliest they could go into effect, May of this year.