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.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

How will current proposed changes to in-fill impact smaller homes & environment?

While current zoning laws allow only two story construction, we continue to see homes built to 2 1/2 stories by way of an unfinished attic space with dormers. The new proposed guidelines from the Infill Taskforce Committee recommend increases in height and floor area ratio so that even larger homes can be built, especially on smaller lots, than what is allowed under the current ordinance. How will this impact the smaller homes and the environment?

The in-fill taskforce recommendations can be found on the City of Decatur website. http://www.decaturga.com/cgs_infilltaskforce.aspx It is true that the majority report recommendations greatly expand the size and height of homes allowed in Decatur, especially on smaller lots such as the ones we have in Oakhurst. There are work sessions for the Planning Commission and City Commission on 8/9 and 8/20 to review the recommendations from the taskforce. It is our understanding that these work sessions are not public hearings, although the public is welcome to listen. Once these sessions are complete a recommendation will be made to change or not change the current zoning.

There is nothing in the available zoning laws that can specifically protect the unique historic character of a neighborhood. The zoning law enacted will apply to the entire City of Decatur and is unable to address the concerns of each individual neighborhood.

Given the rise in land values, it is expected that developers will continue to build homes to the maximum height and size allowed under the zoning laws. Therefore, we expect the rapid level of demolition to continue. No one knows for certain how this will impact the property values or the environment. Many communities have seen the loss in value of smaller homes as more and more larger scale homes where built around them. Certainly, if every lot maximized their impervious surface area there would be stress on our infrastructure and therefore the environment.


Anonymous said...

Here is a questions for you. What about handicap ramps in lhds?

I have been disturbed about the disagreements regarding handicapped ramps and whether or not a COA with full Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) review was a requirement. During one of the first rounds of public "input" sessions hosted by Amanda Thompson, the question was asked and she stated that a full COA and review was necessary. Lately there have been numerous disagreements with this statement. I wanted to be certain that I was speaking about this matter accurately and truthfully. Therefore, I did research on the subject and here is how it was explained to me.

Georgia state law re historic preservation districts mandates that homeowners requesting any material change whatsoever to their house situated within a Local Historic District (LHD) must apply for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) and submit to a full HPC review. Because the addition to front or side entry of a handicap ramp is always a material change, the plans must be presented and approved by the HPC. Approval or denial can then be appealed to the City Commissioners by either the applicant or a neighbor. Appeal or denial at the City Commission level can then be appealed in the courts by either the applicant or a neighbor. The city nor the HPC can get around this particular addition because it is mandated by state law.

Hopefully this answers this debated matter sufficiently.

Jamie said...

Can someone provide me with an example of "out of scale" homes? This term is used a lot and I do not know what it means.

Robert said...

An "out of scale" home means different things to different people. Typically it is a home that deviates from the traditional local or architectural style of an area. There is a significant difference in height such as 35' when the average home in the area is 24'. There is a significant difference in mass meaning it looks much larger from the street even if it has similar square footage. Such a home does not look like the neighboring homes and breaks the consistent block face (view from the block or street). Photographs would be helpful. Could the facilitator provide such?