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

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