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, October 5, 2007

Answer to a previous comment regarding COAs


The following question appeared on the blog we are managing.

Sec. 58-3. Definitions.The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning: Certificate of appropriateness means a document evidencing approval by the historic preservation commission of an application to make a material change in the appearance of a designated historic property or of a property located within a designated historic district. Certificate of exemption means a document evidencing approval by the historic preservation commission or its authorized designee of an application to make a change other than a material change as defined by the design guidelines adopted as part of the ordinance designating the specific local historic property or local historic district. Exterior architectural features means the architectural style, general design and general arrangement of the exterior of a building or other structure including, but not limited to, the kind or texture of the building material and the type and style of all windows, doors, signs and other appurtenant architectural fixtures, features, details or elements relative to the foregoing. Exterior environmental features means all those aspects of the landscape or the development of a site which affect the historical character of the property. Historic district means a geographically definable area designated by city commission as a historic district pursuant to the criteria established in section
58-62. Historic property means an individual building, structure, site, object or work of art, including the adjacent area necessary for the proper appreciation thereof, designated by city commission as a historic property pursuant to the criteria established in section
58-63. Material change in appearance means a change that will affect either the exterior architectural or environmental features of a historic property or any building, structure, site, object, landscape feature or work of art within a historic district, such as: (1) A reconstruction or alteration of the size, shape or facade of a historic property, including any doors or windows or removal or alteration of any architectural features, details or elements;(2) Demolition or relocation of a historic structure; (3) Commencement of excavation for construction purposes;(4) A change in the location of advertising visible from a public right-of-way; or(5) The erection, alteration, restoration or removal of any building or other structure within a historic property or district, including walls, fences, steps and pavements, or other appurtenant features.

Does this mean non-contributing homes do not require a COA?

It would seem to indicate that demolition of non-contributing homes and new construction require a COA, Other alterations would not. Is this correct? Thanks.

All “material changes” to a building, structure, site etc. require design review. The ordinance designates what level of review based on the project (COA/COE), the review jurisdiction (four sides, visible from right of way), and the design guidelines outline what types of changes are compatible with the district.

Amanda Thompson
City of Decatur


Facilitator said...

In another e-mail it was explained that both the Clairmont District and Ponce Court District ordinances and design guidelines require COA for non-contributing structures only for demolition, new construction, and major renovations. So, moving doors, moving windows, screening in a porch, adding a deck to the back, or other more minor projects do not require a COA. This illustrates that there is considerable flexibility in the LHD depending on what resources are being protected.

While it has been reported to neighbors that re-roofing your home would require a COA this is not entirely true. In all of the existing districts a COA for re-roofing is only required if you are changing the roof material type. So, if you have asphalt shingles and are re-roofing with asphalt shingles no COA is required. If you have asphalt shingles and want to change to metal then a COA is required. However, the LHD ordinance and design guidelines have not been written and we do not know exactly what will be required. However, it has been stated that their are no roofs other than asphalt and metal in Oakhurst so there is no expectation that the ordinance and design guidelines regarding roofing would be more strict.