Archive for the ‘Historic Preservation’ Category

Marietta Historic District Moves Forward, Again

In 2005, the Marietta City Council approved a historic preservation ordinance.  In January, the Council created the City’s first historic district along Kennesaw Avenue.  Mayor Steve Tumlin ultimately vetoed the Kennesaw Avenue Historic District because the City’s Historic Preservation Commission did not hold a required public hearing prior to the district’s creation.

Now, the City makes another go at creation of a historic district approving rewrites to the historic preservation ordinance to ensure citizen input.  Critics see an ordinance without teeth.

“It’s so weak now I don’t see how it will do much good,” Becky Paden, a historic preservation commission member, said. “It’s just something to say we have a historic preservation ordinance.”

Decatur Completes Historic Resources Survey

Thanks to DecaturMetro, the Historic Resources Survey commissioned by the City of Decatur is now available on-line.  The survey reviewed all properties within the City and categorizes anything 50 years old or older as “historic”.

DecaturMetro summarizes:

The map above indicates all the districts in the city that – by the strict 50-year rule definition – could be deemed historic at the national or local level in bluish green.  Existing local and national historic districts are in red.  Decatur has so much historic residential, it’s actually easier to summarize the large non-historic areas:  the now urban-renewal showcase that was once “Beacon Hill”, the Decatur Cemetery, East Decatur Station and Decatur Heights. 

The survey can be found here.

Johns Creek Sues Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center

The City of Johns Creek filed suit against the nonprofit Autrey Mill Nature Preserve Association Board that runs Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Centerto take over the 46 acres of recreation and green space located on Autrey Mill Road. The City inherited the lease in January 2007 when it bought the park from Fulton County.  The nonprofit has operated the park for 20 years.

“Our primary concern centers around the Association’s original lease with Fulton County and an amendment executed July 19, 2006, the day after the successful referendum vote on [Johns Creek] incorporation,” city spokesman Bill Doughty typed in an email sent to concerned residents who have contacted the city about the lawsuit.

The City contends the lease is illegal, but there is more to it.

“We own the park, we own the liability, so we should at least have some say about appropriate activities happening at the park,” Mayor Mike Bodker said.

The nonprofit has fired back.

“In these times with money short everywhere, we were shocked that the City is spending taxpayers’ dollars and forcing Autrey Mill’s nonprofit Board to divert our limited resources into a court fight,” [board member Joan] Compton said. “We are ready and able to defend Autrey Mill from a hostile takeover, but we continue to prefer to negotiate with the city and resolve our differences in a principled way.”

Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center posts Q & A’s here going on the offensive against the City and the lawsuit.

Q) Were you expecting to be sued by the City?

A) No, we were totally shocked. . . .

Atlanta Lays Off Executive Director of Urban Design Commission

In the latest round of lay-offs, Atlanta let go its top preservation director and draws protests to the Atlanta City Council.  Karen Huebner, executive director of the city’s Urban Design Commission, was one of the 222 city employees laid off recently as the city sought to offset a $50 million budget shortfall.

For 20 years, Ms. Huebner has led the Urban Design Commission charged with the regulation of 54 officially landmarked buildings and 15 districts.

The most recent brouhaha concerns the Georgia Tech Foundation’s desire to razethe 1927 Renaissance-style Crum & Foster Building in Midtown.

1832 Shiloh United Methodist Church Rezoned, but Cannot Become a Gas Station

In spite of neighborhood opposition, Kennesaw unanimously approved the rezoning of the Shiloh United Methodist Church on Cherokee Street near the intersection of Jiles Road from residential to commercial, but with the condition that the 5.5 acres  will not be developed as a gas station or convenience store.  The church had decided to pack up and sell the property to developer Brandon Ashkouti because it faced losing a portion of the property to the Cobb County Department of Transportation. 

Shiloh UMC was founded in 1832, making it one of the oldest churches in the county. The original church was a log cabin that Union Gen. William T. Sherman used as a hospital during the Civil War.   The current church was built in the 1930s. 

With the successful rezoning, Shiloh UMC can sell the property to the developer for $3 million and  build a new church about five miles north on Woodstock Road.

11th Circuit Strikes Down “Formula Retail” Prohibition as a Violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause

The 11th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals struck down a Islamorada, Florida – a village of six islands in the Florida Keys – local ordinance that essentially prohibited national chain retail stores as a violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause with no legitimate local purpose.

Keep reading for GZB’s summary of Island Silver & Spice, Inc. v. Islamorada, U.S. District Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, Case No. 07-11418, decided on September 8, 2008.

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Crum & Foster Building Recommeded for Landmark Historic Status

Atlanta Urban Design Commission has voted unanimously to recommend landmarking the Crum and Forster building in Midtown.  The recommendation now goes to the zoning committee of the Atlanta City Council.

The Georgia Tech Foundation argues that its demolition permit predates the historic designation nomination and is appealing the denial of a demolition permit for the building, which will be heard by the Board of Zoning Adjustment on November 21.