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, August 16, 2007

Under current zoning do we as a community have any right to input regarding the various commercial properties?

There are a number of large tracts of property zoned commercial within the proposed Local Historic District boundaries. It is well known that most are being strongly considered for sale and redevelopment. Clearly the type and quality of the development will impact the majority of the residents in Oakhurst. Under current zoning do we as a community have any right to input regarding the type of development? If we were a Local Historic District would we have more input?

Boys and Girls Club is considering relocating. The zoning for this 5.5 acres+ lot is R60. R60 Zoning uses without public hearing include single-family dwellings, elementary, middle, and secondary schools, public utilities, public buildings, churches, and family personal care homes. There is sufficient room for a planned residential development. Under the proposed new infill guidelines the homes can get progressively taller.

Thankful Baptist Church is zoned institution and comprises 3.82 acres+
Institutional zoning allows for Churches and other places of worship, associated single-family, two-family and multiple-family dwellings, colleges, seminaries, related professional offices, public and private schools, nursery schools, an small business, clinics, medical and dental offices, boarding and rooming houses, and clubs. Maximum building height allowed is 45 feet.

Bell South was purchased by AT&T and they are re-evaluating their real estate holdings. This 7.85 acre+ land area is zoned C-1. Maximum building height is 40 feet and three stories, minimum set back is zero. Set back next to residential is only 10 feet side yard and 30 feet rear line. Uses for C-1 Local include retail shops, appliance sales and service, drugstores, and other sales and service establishments. Food, furniture and hardware stores, clinics, medical office buildings, professional office buildings, and financial institutions are also allowed. None of these uses require a public hearing.

The commercial property located at 636 East Lake Drive in the Oakhurst commercial district is 2.11 acres of C-1 property too. Similarly, the small commercial areas located at Mead Road and West College Avenue (.25 acre) and at Feld Avenue and West College Avenue (.25) are zoned C-1 local. It is also rumored that Marta is considering selling their parking lot between West College Avenue and Park Place for development (.75 acre).

Development of all of these properties could have an immediate and direct impact on your property value and enjoyment of your home. Within a local historic district a public hearing would be required even for the approved uses under the zoning laws. That would give you the opportunity to protect your home and your largest investment. Outside of a local historic district you do not have that luxury. The only time a public hearing is necessary is when a variance is requested or to change the zoning. Even so, you have less consideration than you would under a LHD overlay.

The development of a local historic district provides recognition for an area and attracts visitors from the immediate surrounding communities and from across the country. This improved visibility makes commercial development within a local historic district a lower risk investment. Most communities experience a boom in the development of their commercial areas once a local historic district has been established. The improved development continues to improve the visibility and provides support for new business to stay and thrive. Commercial areas that have struggled because the immediate density of population was not sufficient to support more development find the designation expands development. It improves the overall available services, number of jobs, and tax base for a community.


Anonymous said...

I am a firm believer in property rights and I simply do not want you or anyone to remove any of those property rights. That is why I do not support the local historic district.

Tricia said...

This is an argument that I find very confusing. Your property rights are very much impacted by zoning of all kinds from noise, to construction, to use of your property. I do not know if you live in Oakhurst but our properties generally have less than 20 feet between them. When I first moved in my home I never saw my neighbors but I knew their dog's names because I could hear them calling and yelling at them next door. Everything my neighbor does to their property impacts my property. How do I protect my property rights?

If the houses on either side of me are poorly renovated it deeply affects my investment. When my neighbor decided to build a retaining wall in their back yard it impacted the run-off to my property. When my neighbor purchased a diesel engine truck it impacted my ability to sleep through their 5am work schedule. This sounds like more of a rant against my neighbor that I intend, because I love my neighbors. But it illustrates that we as a community must work together to develop zoning or zoning overlays that protect each others property rights and quit being so selfish to only be concerned about our own property rights.

kindred said...


I invite you to consider what the LHD overlay could mean to Oakhurst. Consider that homes could be larger, but would require a public hearing for major renovations. This would certainly began to be a community that worked together as if they are our property rights as a community. Good post.