Monthly Archives: September 2012

Decatur: Ditch historic preservation

I don’t think Decatur needs a new historic preservation planner, despite the fact that it appears the incumbent seems to have been missing in action from Oakhurst since she was first hired by the City. Rather, I believe that Decatur does not need a historic preservation planner at all. Or, for that matter, a historic preservation commission. I think the city should repeal its historic preservation ordinance.

If the City of Decatur is going to hold private property owners to a higher regulatory standard than it has for itself, i.e., City properties are not subject to historic preservation commission review; if the City is going to ignore entire segments of its population and their heritage sites simply to ensure smooth regulatory sailing for high-profile redevelopment projects; and, if Decatur’s only use for historic preservation is as a marketing tool, then the State of Georgia should not be funding “preservation” activities in the city and Decatur should lose its Certified Local Government status.

As my interview with the city’s historic preservation planner shows, there’s a wide gulf between Decatur’s historic preservation rhetoric and its historic preservation policies and practices. But I’m simply a former Decatur resident and that’s just my opinion. Any action or advocacy must come from Decatur taxpayers.

© 2012 D.S. Rotenstein


205-215 Olympic Place

Another property that appears to have been omitted from the 2009 Decatur Historic Resources Survey. The ranch house pictured below in the screen capture from Google was located next to brick apartment buildings at what appears to have been 179 Olympic Place. A builder has demolished all of the 1960s buildings in these parcels and is constructing new homes (Sept. 2012).

West side of Olympic Place, 200 block. Credit: Google Maps.

Olympic Place teardowns captured by Microsoft aerial photography. Credit: Bing Maps.

West side of the 200 block of Olympic Place. September 12, 2012.

To get the full experience, view the HD video in full-screen mode

West side of the 200 block of Olympic Place. September 12, 2012.

West side of the 200 block of Olympic Place. September 12, 2012.

News from the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association

Oakhurst’s neighborhood association hosted builders at its August 2012 meeting. The meeting minutes published in the Leaflet newsletter failed to mention gentrification, teardowns, historic preservation, and the elderly’s high property tax burden. The ONA did, however, provide this report on its esteemed panel:

Oakhurst Neighborhood Association
Continued from Page 2

A panel of neighborhood builders and renovators shared their insights and expertise about home construction and home improvement projects, as well as observations about trends in Oakhurst. The participants were Arlene Dean of Arlene Dean Quality Homes, Ali Herriot of Hammertime Construction, Inc., Peter Michelson of Renewal Design Build, and Eric Rawlings of Rawlings Designs, Inc. Eric is an architect. Hammertime and Renewal focus on renovations and additions. Arlene Dean focuses on entire home renovations (rather than individual rooms) and new construction. The participants answered several questions posed by President Mike Vajda and audience members. Mike thanked the panel participants for their time, as well as for the support that each of them has given to the ONA and Oakhurst over the past several years.

116 East Lake Drive

116 East Lake Drive. Credit: 2009 citywide historic resources survey (West Decatur Survey Area).

116 East Lake Drive. September 8, 2012.


After the Decatur year

Just because we moved away from Decatur, that doesn’t mean this blog will be frozen in time. Small homes continue to be demolished and McMansions continue to rise throughout Oakhurst. Posts appearing in this blog from this point forward will feature new teardowns and new mansionization. Follow along as we document Decatur ruining its most distinctive and arguably most historic neighborhood.

For more historical background on Decatur’s Oakhurst neighborhood, visit my main blog:

1020 Adams Street

1020 Adams Street. July 2012.

1020 Adams Street after teardown. November 7, 2012.

1020 Adams Street. January 13, 2013.

1020 Adams Street. January 13, 2013.