Category Archives: sustainability

Ruined Decatur

I … believe that some of the new construction has been insensitive to the diversity and historic nature of our neighborhood. In the end, I think we will look back at the period between 2005 – 2015 and point to Oakhurst as a place of poor planning and development — Oakhurst resident, April 9, 2012.

UrbanHomesteadAdThis site began as a place for curated photos of teardowns and mansionization in Decatur, Georgia’s Oakhurst neighborhood. The project began on an autumn day in 2011 when I watched a construction crew deconstruct a small home on East Lake Drive. I subsequently learned that the home had belonged to a former “urban homesteader”: a woman who paid $1 for the home during a bold 1970s experiment in neighborhood revitalization.

Three years and about 100 houses later, this site has run its course. There will be no additional entries but the posts will remain live as evidence for the poor planning and development described in the epigraph.

Oakhurst-collage

And now for some numbers. The average construction year for homes demolished for new construction (teardowns) was calculated along with the average areas of the teardowns and new construction single family residences (including infill). Excluded are multi-family properties (e.g., apartments on Fayetteville Road and Oakview Road) demolished prior to new construction. The data are incomplete; thirty new homes are under construction as of this writing and their areas have not been recorded in DeKalb County or Decatur public records. The results are:

  • Average teardown construction year: 1937
  • Average teardown area (square feet): 1,283
  • Average new home area (square feet): 2,906

Is Decatur is ruined? That question is best answered by the people who live there. This blog is now finished.

2011-10-19-57

The remains of a former urban homesteading house demolished October 2011.

David Rotenstein, November 2014.

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111 Fayetteville Rd.

111 Fayetteville Rd. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

111 Fayetteville Rd. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

111 Fayetteville Road, August 2014.

111 Fayetteville Road, August 2014.

111 Fayetteville Road, November 2014.

111 Fayetteville Road, November 2014.

111 Fayetteville Rd., May 2015.

111 Fayetteville Rd., May 2015.

411 Fayetteville Road

411 Fayetteville Road. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

411 Fayetteville Road. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

411 Fayetteville Road. Property under contract to a builder, slated for teardown, Sept. 2014.

411 Fayetteville Road. Property under contract to a builder, slated for teardown, Sept. 2014.

411 Fayetteville Rd.,

411 Fayetteville Rd., “Coming Soon.” Credit: Spencer-Love Homes LLC.

411 Fayetteville Rd., Google Maps photo dated January 2015. Credit: Google.

411 Fayetteville Rd., Google Maps photo dated January 2015. Credit: Google.

411 Fayetteville Rd. May, 2015.

411 Fayetteville Rd. May, 2015.

947 S. McDonough Street

947 South McDonough Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

947 South McDonough Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

947 South McDonough Street, January 2014.

947 South McDonough Street, January 2014.

947 South McDonough Street. Demolished Aug.-Sept. 2014.

947 South McDonough Street. Demolished Aug.-Sept. 2014.

947 South McDonough, May 2015.

947 South McDonough, May 2015.

346 Second Avenue

346 Second Avenue. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

346 Second Avenue. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

346 Second Avenue, July 2014.

346 Second Avenue, July 2014.

346 Second Avenue. Demolished October 2014.

346 Second Avenue. Demolished October 2014.

346 Second Ave. New home under construction. Credit: Zillow.

346 Second Ave. New home under construction. Credit: Zillow.

346 Second Ave. New home under construction, 2015. Credit: Zillow.

346 Second Ave. New home under construction, 2015. Credit: Zillow.

346 Second Ave., May 2015.

346 Second Ave., May 2015.

308 Madison Ave.

308 Madison Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

308 Madison Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

308 Madison Ave. prepped for teardown, Sept. 29, 2014.

308 Madison Ave. prepped for teardown, Sept. 29, 2014.

308 Madison Avenue, Demolished October 2014.

308 Madison Avenue, Demolished October 2014. Trees being cut down, Oct. 8, 2014.

308 Madison Avenue, Demolished October 2014.

308 Madison Avenue, Demolished October 2014.

303 Madison Ave.

303 Madison Av e. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

303 Madison Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

303 Madison Ave. Demolished September 2014.

303 Madison Ave. Demolished September 2014.

303 Madison Ave. new home rendering. Creit: Zillow.com

303 Madison Ave. new home rendering. Creit: Zillow.com

242 Mead Road

242 Mead Rd. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

242 Mead Rd. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

242 Mead Rd., August 2014.

242 Mead Rd., August 2014.

242 Mead Rd., Sept. 2014.

242 Mead Rd., Sept. 2014.

242 Mead Rd., Sept. 2014.

242 Mead Rd., Sept. 2014.

242 Mead Rd., Sept. 2014.

242 Mead Rd., Sept. 2014.

242 Mead Rd., Sept. 2014.

242 Mead Rd., Sept. 2014.

242 Mead Rd., Sept. 2014.

242 Mead Rd., Sept. 2014.

On October 6, 2014, Mead Road resident Vincent Lewis, one of Decatur’s first historic preservation commissioners in the 1990s, commented about this property before the Decatur City Commission. “One of the things that I did when I was on that commission is I went through the city of Decatur and took pictures of all the historical home types,” he said. Lewis added,

There was a gabled-ell on my street. I think it’s like address 240 [242 Mead Road]. That house has been totally destroyed. There’s no remainder of that gabled-ell and I’m almost positive it was the only one in the city of Decatur.

There’s a difference between renovations, remodeling, and tearing down. The only thing that’s left of that – I think it was about a ’13, ’18 [1913 or 1918] home is the front porch and the first room. It has a garage now that faces the street.

I don’t understand how things like that can slip through. There should be some respect for these great resources that we have in terms of architecture. I talked to a guy on the historical commission, he didn’t even know that the Swanton House was one of the oldest homes in the city. This is not acceptable and having – when you have less than thirty percent of a home still standing, that’s not a remodeling – the house looks nothing like it used to and I don’t think we need to continue doing that.

The comments are archived in the video from the city commission meeting at http://decaturga.swagit.com/play/10062014-866. Lewis appears at 11:05 minutes into the segment.

161 Hood Circle

161 Hood Circle. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

161 Hood Circle. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

161 Hood Circle. Demolished August-Sept. 2014.

161 Hood Circle. Demolished August-Sept. 2014.

161 Hood Circle, new home. Credit: Zillow screen capture, March 2015.

161 Hood Circle, new home. Credit: Zillow screen capture, March 2015.

140 Maxwell St.

140 Maxwell St. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

140 Maxwell St. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

140 Maxwell St. Prepped for teardown, August 2014.

140 Maxwell St. Prepped for teardown, August 2014.

140 Maxwell St. Prepped for teardown, September 2014.

140 Maxwell St. Prepped for teardown, September 2014.

140 Maxwell St. Demolished Sept. 8-9, 2014.

140 Maxwell St. Demolished Sept. 8-9, 2014.

Olympic Place

Infill designed by the architect who reworked 115 North McDonough Street.

Olympic Place, aerial photo pre-clearing, construction. Credit: Bing Maps.

Olympic Place, aerial photo pre-construction. Credit: Bing Maps.

Olympic Place infill under construction, Sept. 2014.

Olympic Place infill under construction, Sept. 2014.

121 Cambridge Ave.

121 Cambridge Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

121 Cambridge Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

121 Cambridge, August, 2014.

121 Cambridge, August, 2014.

134 Cambridge Ave.

134 Cambridge Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

134 Cambridge Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

134 Cambridge Ave. Mansionized 2014.

134 Cambridge Ave. Mansionized 2014.

134 Cambridge

134 Cambridge Ave., August 2014.

334 West Hill St.

334 West Hill St. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

334 West Hill St. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

334 West Hill St. Demolished August 2014.

334 West Hill St. Demolished August 2014.

Lake Dog Poo

Photo of flooded Oakhurst dog park posted to the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association list and forwarded to me by a resident.

Photo of flooded Oakhurst dog park posted to the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association list and forwarded to me by a resident.

Most of Oakhurst’s storm water infrastructure dates to the early-mid 20th century. New McMansions and deforestation throughout Oakhurst have created large areas of new impervious surface that the infrastructure cannot handle.

From: “Avarela66  [OakhurstGA]” <oakhurstga-noreply@yahoogroups.com>
Sent: Aug 9, 2014 1:28 PM
To: “OakhurstGA@yahoogroups.com” <oakhurstga@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: [OakhurstGA] Re: Dog park is flooded

Ted,

I’m glad it’s catching water and preventing flooding to other properties, but if it’s like that, it is indeed a lake FULL of poo. I know most part users pick up after their dogs as well as they can, but it’s impossible to get it all.

I sure wouldn’t want any kids or pets to get sick from playing in that filthy water.


24 hours later:

reeks

Oakhurst resident’s post to my FB page. I went by the Oakhurst dog park the morning of Aug. 11 and the comment author was correct. The intersection of East Lake Dr. and Second Ave. did in fact smell like a giant open sewer.


 From 2012:

Fayetteville Road, January 2012.

Fayetteville Road, January 2012.

Former backyard.

Former backyard, January 2012.

131 Lenore Street

131 Lenore St. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

131 Lenore St. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

131 Lenore St. Prepped for teardown, July 1, 2014.

131 Lenore St. Prepped for teardown, July 1, 2014.

131 Lenore St. Demolished July 2014.

131 Lenore St. Demolished July 2014.

131 Lenore St., May 2015.

131 Lenore St., May 2015.

Teardown city

In early 2014 the Decatur City Commission voted to annex 77 parcels in unincorporated DeKalb County. The Parkwood neighborhood was among the last residential subdivisions developed in historic Druid Hills. A portion of Parkwood had been annexed in 1909 by the Town of Oakhurst. Less than a decade later (1915), the Oakhurst portion of Parkwood became Decatur’s westernmost neighborhood when Decatur annexed Oakhurst.

The portion of Parkwood previously in DeKalb County is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Druid Hills Historic District. Druid Hills also is a locally designated DeKalb County historic district regulated by the DeKalb County Historic Preservation Commission.

Most of Parkwood's homes are brick ranch houses built after World War II. Many folks in Decatur and elsewhere consider these homes disposable. New Urbanist architect Steve Mouzon, writing on the teardown of another Decatur ranch house in late 2013, described it as something that "was apparently built during the 'Dark Ages of Architecture,' which is the half-century between 1930 and 1980."

Most of Parkwood’s homes are brick ranch houses built after World War II. Many folks in Decatur and elsewhere consider these homes disposable. New Urbanist architect Steve Mouzon, writing on the teardown of another Decatur ranch house (in Oakhurst) in late 2013, described it as something that “was apparently built during the ‘Dark Ages of Architecture,’ which is the half-century between 1930 and 1980.”

When Decatur annexed Parkwood’s remaining properties, the neighborhood lost its protection against teardowns. Parkwood residents urged Decatur’s appointed and elected officials to provide protection against the city’s teardown and mansionization plague and in July 2014, the City’s first official legislative and regulatory action involving Parkwood was the creation of a Parkwood local historic district — a limited district that only embraced the newly annexed properties.

Was the rush to designate Parkwood historic necessary? The residents thought so. As soon as local builders and realtors got wind that Parkwood was headed towards annexation, Decatur’s teardown mania spread to the neighborhood:

May 2014 Parkwood neighborhood Facebook posts about teardowns.

May 2014 Parkwood neighborhood Facebook posts about teardowns.

923 East Lake Dr.

Pop-top, July 2014.

923 East Lake Dr. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

923 East Lake Dr. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

923 East Lake Dr. Pop-top under construction, July 2014.

923 East Lake Dr. Pop-top under construction, July 2014.

923 East Lake Dr. Pop-top under construction, July 2014.

923 East Lake Dr. Pop-top under construction, July 2014.

Decatur teardowns: the data

Atlanta alt-weekly Creative Loafing on June 26, 2014 reported on Decatur teardowns. There was a lot missing from the CL article — including some critical thought by its author. Freelancer John Ruch appears to have taken at face value everything Decatur city officials told him about teardowns in the city. One passage really caught my eye:

City officials have learned that infill housing is consuming roughly 50 older houses and an uncertain number of trees a year.

Fifty? Citywide? Scroll through this site to compare the city’s numbers with the teardowns documented in one area — Oakhurst — less than a quarter of the city’s overall footprint. This site does not include all pop-tops and partial teardowns recorded in Oakhurst between October 2011 and June 2014 but this excerpt from my spreadsheet on them does.

OakhurstTeardownsTable

Oakhurst teardowns, Oct. 2011 through June 2014. The one 2010 datapoint reflects a house demolished in 2010 and constructed on the new home completed in 2011.

As for getting into the weeds on what is being built in Decatur, here’s a chart showing the square footages of homes torn down and the new homes that replaced them. The data show that the new homes often are 2-3 larger than the original homes. And, they are larger than the average developer-built home in the Southern U.S. (2,968 sq. ft.), according to census data.

OakhurstTeardownsChart

119 Lenore Street

LenoreStreet

The Bungalows at Oakhurst Village. Photographed July 2014.

In 2003 residents near this Oakhurst property asked the Decatur City Commission to deny a rezoning and subdivision for a nearby lot with an apartment building on South McDonough Street. One reason behind the request was the fear that approval of the South McDonough project would create a precedent for apartment buildings at 119 Lenore Street. One resident testified in 2003,

… in opposition to the application. She presented a statement in opposition (attached). She stated that she also believed that the site should be improved but that rezoning it was a slippery slope for the community. She stated that 119 Lenore Street was a similar multiple-family property and that rezoning 947 South McDonough Street would set a precedent to rezone that property.

Continue reading

29 Spring Street

29 Spring Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

29 Spring Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

According to DeKalb County tax records, this c. 1948 ranch house had an area of 1,714 square feet. In June 2014 it was being substantially enlarged.

29 Spring Street. July 1, 2014.

29 Spring Street. July 1, 2014.

29 Spring Street. Credit: Google Maps.

29 Spring Street c. 2012. Credit: Google Maps.

29 Spring Street. July 1, 2014.

29 Spring Street. July 1, 2014.

29 Spring Street. July 1, 2014.

29 Spring Street. July 1, 2014.

706 South McDonough Street

Infill: A new “historically inspired home” completed in 2013 (by the same builder, at same time as 702 South McDonough St.) comes in at 2,952 square feet. It is 1,400 square feet larger than the one-story 1923 cottage next door.

706 South McDonough St.

706 South McDonough St.

 

702 South McDonough Street

Demolished in 2013.

702 South McDonough Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

702 South McDonough Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

702 South McDonough Street. Credit: Google Maps. Screen capture June 30, 2014.

702 South McDonough Street. Credit: Google Maps. Screen capture June 30, 2014.

702 South McDonough Street, June 2014.

702 South McDonough Street, June 2014.

Recycling

I have visited and photographed more than 100 teardown and construction sites in Decatur’s Oakhurst neighborhood. I have seen only one example of recycling:  the removal of gutters and downspouts at the first teardown I watched in Oct. 2011. I have never seen a sight like this one in Atlanta’s Old Fourth Ward — a bin for recycled construction waste:

Recycling bin, Randolph Street construction site, Atlanta. June 2014.

Recycling bin, Randolph Street construction site, Atlanta. June 2014.

Randolph Street construction site, Atlanta. June 2014.

Randolph Street construction site, Atlanta. June 2014.

This recent post to the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association’s Facebook page likely explains why. Resident Mike Curtice commented on June 21, “Generally from a business point of view (profitability) a builder would prefer to tear down, completely.”

Oakhurst Neighborhood Association Facebook post comments. Screen capture June 25, 2014.

Oakhurst Neighborhood Association Facebook post comments. Screen capture June 25, 2014.

Readers, please send me photos/details if you see recycling at Oakhurst teardown and construction sites.

447 Ansley St.

447 Ansley St. April 11, 2014.

447 Ansley St. April 11, 2014.

447 Ansley St. Prepped for demolition, June 12, 2014.

447 Ansley St. Prepped for demolition, June 12, 2014.

447 Ansley St. Prepped for demolition, June 12, 2014.

447 Ansley St. Prepped for demolition, June 12, 2014.

447 Ansley St. Prepped for demolition, June 30, 2014.

447 Ansley St. Prepped for demolition, June 30, 2014.

447 Ansley St. existing conditions and future replacement.

447 Ansley St. existing conditions and future replacement.

447 Ansley St. Demolished July 1, 2014.

447 Ansley St. Demolished July 1, 2014.

447 Ansley St., Sept. 2014.

447 Ansley St., Sept. 2014.

447 Ansley St. Zillow.com listing screen capture, June 12, 2014 .

447 Ansley St. Zillow.com listing screen capture, June 12, 2014 <http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/447-Ansley-St-Decatur-GA-30030/14470281_zpid/&gt;.

More about this teardown: Progress Or Pity? $950K Contemporary To Replace 1942 Home (Curbed Atlanta, June 16, 2014).

Ocotber 2014 update: The new house briefly was pulled off the market and reappeared with a new price tag: $1.1 million.

Zillow email, Oct. 11, 2014.

Zillow email, Oct. 11, 2014.

 

841 East Lake Drive

841 East Lake Dr. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

841 East Lake Dr. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

841 East Lake Dr. Demolition underway, June 2, 2014.

841 East Lake Dr. Demolition underway, June 3, 2014.

841 East Lake Dr. New construction underway, July 2014.

841 East Lake Dr. New construction underway, July 2014.

841 East Lake Dr., August 2014.

841 East Lake Dr., August 2014.

 

Decatur defines “Demolition”

On May 19, 2014, the Decatur, Ga., City Commission unanimously voted to amend the  city’s zoning law to include a definition of “demolition.” Before that vote, demolition was not defined in law nor in regulations implementing the code.

Without a definition of demolition, the city had no way to quantify the number of teardowns. “The City has had a long standing practice of defining demolition for zoning purposes to be when 50% or more of a structure has been removed,” Decatur Planning Director Amanda Thompson wrote in a May 16, 2014, memo to City Manager Peggy Merriss.

Demolition, in Decatur, is defined as,

The complete removal of structure or a scope of construction (alteration, addition, renovation or reconstruction) of a structure where only the foundation of the original structure remains.

Continue reading

157 Greenwood Place

In 1979 Dorothy Adams bought this house for $1.00 in the Urban Homesteading Demonstration program. She owned the home until her death in 2005. Her executors sold the property in 2013 and by March 2014 it was owned by a Decatur builder. Two months later, the house (built c. 1922) was gutted and is being mansionized.

157 Greenwood Pl. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

157 Greenwood Pl. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

157 Greenwood Place. Photographed in May 2012 for a DeKalb History Center program on urban homesteading in Decatur.

157 Greenwood Place. Photographed in May 2012 for a DeKalb History Center program on urban homesteading in Decatur.

157 Greenwood Place, May 27, 2014.

157 Greenwood Place, May 27, 2014.

157 Greenwood Place, May 27, 2014.

157 Greenwood Place, May 27, 2014.

157 Greenwood Place, May 27, 2014.

157 Greenwood Place, May 27, 2014.

 

128 N. Fourth Ave.

128 N. Fourth Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

128 N. Fourth Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

128 N. Fourth Ave. Original 1927 home demolished late 2013-early 2014. Photo, May 27, 2014.

128 N. Fourth Ave. Original 1927 home demolished late 2013-early 2014. Photo, May 27, 2014.

545 McKoy St.

545 McKoy St. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

545 McKoy St. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

545 McKoy St. Demolished April-May 2014.

545 McKoy St. Demolished April-May 2014.

545 McKoy St., Sept. 2014.

545 McKoy St., Sept. 2014.

545 McKoy St., Sept. 2014.

545 McKoy St., Sept. 2014.

426 Fayetteville Rd.

426 Fayetteville Rd. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

426 Fayetteville Rd. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

426 Fayetteville Rd. Demolished April-May, 2014.

426 Fayetteville Rd. Demolished April-May, 2014.

426 Fayetteville Rd., August, 2014.

426 Fayetteville Rd., August, 2014.

249 East Lake Dr.

249 East Lake Dr. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey

249 East Lake Dr. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey

249 East Lake Dr. Feb. 2014.

249 East Lake Dr. Feb. 2014.

249 East Lake Dr. Feb. 2014.

249 East Lake Dr. Feb. 2014.

249 East Lake Drive. Demolished May 23, 2014. One neighbor emailed, "It's 12:48 on Friday, May 23. When I left at 11 a.m. there was nothing happening. The front of the house is now basically gone."

249 East Lake Drive. Demolished May 23, 2014. One Oakhurst resident emailed, “It’s 12:48 on Friday, May 23. When I left at 11 a.m. there was nothing happening. The front of the house is now basically gone.”

Bought in Jan. 2014 by a local builder, the existing 1,704 square-foot home built in 1915 will be transformed into a 4,700 square-foot manse selling for $950,000. An Oakhurst resident who emailed me about the impending teardown wrote, “It looks to be a future cute bungalow of six bedrooms and five baths. /sarcasm.” The resident added, “Our backyard neighbor called it ‘crazy’ yesterday. I offered condolences on the loss of their south exposure.”

249 East Lake Dr. Credit: Zillow.com (screen capture Apr. 21, 2014).

249 East Lake Dr. Credit: Zillow.com (screen capture Apr. 21, 2014).

310 East Lake Dr.

310 East Lake Drive. Note the anti-historic district sign in yard. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey

310 East Lake Drive. Note the anti-historic district sign in yard. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey

310 East Lake Dr. being prepped for demolition, April 9, 2014.

310 East Lake Dr. being inspected prior to demolition, April 9, 2014.

310 East Lake Dr. April 17, 2014.

310 East Lake Dr.,  prepped for demolition April 17, 2014.

310 East Lake Dr. Demolished April 18, 2014.

310 East Lake Dr. Demolished April 18, 2014.

310 East Lake Drive, new home. Credit: Zillow screen capture, March 2015.

310 East Lake Drive, new home. Credit: Zillow screen capture, March 2015.

344 West Hill St.

Demolished March 2014.

344 West Hill Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

344 West Hill Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

344 West Hill Street after teardown, March 19, 2014.

344 West Hill Street after teardown, March 19, 2014.

344 West Hill St. May 11, 2014.

344 West Hill St. May 11, 2014.

 

1036 East Lake Dr.

1036 East Lake Dr. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

1036 East Lake Dr. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

1036 East lake Dr. Demolished late 2013. phot March 18, 2014.

1036 East Lake Dr. Demolished late 2013. Photo March 18, 2014.

 

538 East Lake Dr.

Another Edgemoor home. This will be the third Edgemoor home demolished in less than six months.

538 East Lake Dr. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

538 East Lake Dr. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

538 East Lake Dr. being prepped for demolition, March 18, 2014.

538 East Lake Dr. being prepped for demolition, March 18, 2014.

538 East Lake Dr. being demolished March 26, 2014. Credit: a Ruined Decatur reader.

538 East Lake Dr. being demolished March 26, 2014. Credit: a Ruined Decatur reader.

538 East Lake Dr. Under construction, June 2014.

538 East Lake Dr. Under construction, June 2014.

538 East Lake Dr. Under construction, June 2014. Looks like 2.5 stories. Compare how the new house is juxtaposed against its neighbor to the east.

538 East Lake Dr. Under construction, June 2014. Compare how the new house is juxtaposed against its neighbor to the east (right).

223 Maxwell Street

New pop-top transformed this American Small House into an aspirational Tudor?

223 Maxwell Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

223 Maxwell Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

223 Maxwell Street. February 2014.

223 Maxwell Street. February 2014.

223 Maxwell Street. February 2014.

223 Maxwell Street. February 2014.

 

265 Maxwell Street

Another Edgemoor home built in 1940 by the Newbold Development Company.

265 Maxwell Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

265 Maxwell Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

265 Maxwell St. February 9, 2014.

265 Maxwell St. being prepped for teardown February 9, 2014.

265 Maxwell St. February 9, 2014.

265 Maxwell St. being prepped for teardown February 9, 2014.

265-maxwell-2014-02-26

265 Maxwell St. Demolished Feb. 24-26, 2014.

265 Maxwell Street, June 2014.

265 Maxwell Street, June 2014.

712-724 Oakview Road (Chateau Daisy)

Chateau Daisy apartments. Curiously, the City of Decatur’s consultants who prepared the 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey included this property which is physically located in Southwest Decatur — Oakhurst — in what they called the “Southeast Decatur Survey Area.” Although the property appears in the consultant’s maps, there does not appear to be a corresponding survey form documenting the property in the final version of the survey posted at the City’s website..

Chateau Daisy apartments. 712-724 Oakview Road. July 9, 2013.

Chateau Daisy apartments. 712-724 Oakview Road. July 9, 2013.

Chateau Daisy apartments. 712-724 Oakview Road. July 9, 2013.

Chateau Daisy apartments. 712-724 Oakview Road. July 9, 2013.

Chateau Daisy, pre-demolition. February 2014.

Chateau Daisy, pre-demolition. February 9, 2014.

Chateau Daisy, demolition underway, Feb. 26, 2014.

Chateau Daisy, demolition underway, Feb. 26, 2014.

Continue reading

351 Greenwood Ave.

351 Greenwood Dr. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

351 Greenwood Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

351 Greenwood. December 2013.

351 Greenwood. December 2013.

112 Evans Dr.

112 Evans Dr. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

112 Evans Dr. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

112 Evans Dr. Ansley St. facade, Dec. 2013.

112 Evans Dr. Ansley St. facade, Dec. 2013.

112 Evans Dr. December 2013.

112 Evans Dr. December 2013.

247 Maxwell Street

247 Maxwell Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

247 Maxwell Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

247 Maxwell Street. Demolished Nov.-Dec. 2013.

247 Maxwell Street. Demolished Nov.-Dec. 2013.

247 Maxwell Street, June 2014.

247 Maxwell Street, June 2014.

241 Maxwell Street

241 Maxwell Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

241 Maxwell Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

241 Maxwell Street. Demolished Nov.-Dec. 2013

241 Maxwell Street. Demolished Nov.-Dec. 2013

241 Maxwell St. May 11, 2014.

241 Maxwell St. May 11, 2014.

Read more about the baronial brick manse that will replace the home demolished here:

“A worthy demo sacrifice” — Clay Chapman, Decatur builder.

The “1,000 Year House” nears completion. This 5,300 square-foot “sustainable” building has consumed more than 100,000 bricks, 124,000 pounds of concrete, and an unspecified number of tons of slate roofing shingles. All of the new building materials required energy to extract, process, and transport the raw materials: brick clay, slate, granite (lintels), and concrete.

241 Maxwell St., August 2014.

241 Maxwell St., August 2014.

241 Maxwell St., August 2014.

241 Maxwell St., August 2014.

And the clock is ticking: 999 years left and counting …

241 Maxwell St. May 2015.

241 Maxwell St. May 2015.

241 Maxwell St. May 2015.

241 Maxwell St. May 2015.

Hope for Architecture 2 axonometric rendering. Credit: http://hopeforarchitecture.com/projects/

Hope for Architecture 2 axonometric rendering. Credit: http://hopeforarchitecture.com/projects/

624 McKoy Street

624 McKoy Street, Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

624 McKoy Street, Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

624 McKoy Street. December 2013.

624 McKoy Street. December 2013.

229 McKoy Street

229 McKoy Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

229 McKoy Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

229 McKoy Street. Demolished Nov.-Dec. 2013.

229 McKoy Street. Demolished Nov.-Dec. 2013.

229 McKoy St. May 11, 2014.

229 McKoy St. May 11, 2014.

316 East Lake Drive

316 East Lake Drive. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

316 East Lake Drive. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

316 East Lake Drive. November 2013. Earlier home demolished earlier in 2013.

316 East Lake Drive. November 2013. Earlier home demolished earlier in 2013.

An Oakhurst resident wrote to me about this property inquiring about a zoning variance hearing to be held Nov. 11, 2013 — one week after this photo was taken. The BZA variance application (final item in agenda materials) shows that the builder wants to receive setback variances for all lot sides.

316 East lake Drive, proposed elevation drawing for new home. Credit: City of Decatur BZA Agenda, Nov. 11, 2013.

316 East Lake Drive, proposed elevation drawing for new home. Credit: City of Decatur BZA Agenda packet, Nov. 11, 2013.

316 East Lake Dr. July 8, 2014.

The plywood palace at 316 East Lake Dr. as it appeared on July 8, 2014.

Oakhurst Neighborhood Association Facebook post about 316 East Lake Dr. property conditions. July 9, 2014.

Oakhurst Neighborhood Association Facebook post about 316 East Lake Dr. property conditions. July 9, 2014.

The partially constructed new house was deconstructed in early August 2014.

Comment posted to Decatur Metro, Aug. 8, 2014. Screen capture Aug. 11, 2014. Credit: Decatur Metro.

Comment posted to Decatur Metro, Aug. 8, 2014. Screen capture Aug. 11, 2014. Credit: Decatur Metro.

316 East Lake Dr.: Deconstructed new home, August 11, 2014.

316 East Lake Dr.: Deconstructed new home, August 11, 2014.

316 East Lake Dr.: Deconstructed new home, August 11, 2014.

316 East Lake Dr.: Deconstructed new home, August 11, 2014.

316 East Lake Dr., Sept. 4, 2014. Looks like construction is about to begin on the third house on this lot in the past year.

316 East Lake Dr., Sept. 4, 2014. Looks like construction is about to begin on the third house on this lot in the past year.

316 East Lake Dr. New home completed, May 2015.

316 East Lake Dr. New home completed, May 2015.

324 Fayetteville Rd.

324 Fayetteville Road. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Suvey.

324 Fayetteville Road. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

324 Fayetteville Road, August 2013.

324 Fayetteville Road, August 2013.

324 Fayetteville Rd. Demolished Feb. 29, 2014.

324 Fayetteville Rd. Demolished Feb. 28, 2014.

324 Fayetteville Road, March 19, 2014.

324 Fayetteville Road, March 19, 2014.

 

Credit: "Is The Decatur Area Losing Its Prized Affordability?" Curbed Atlanta, Aug. 14, 2013.

Credit: “Is The Decatur Area Losing Its Prized Affordability?” Curbed Atlanta, Aug. 14, 2013.

197 Feld Ave.

197 Feld Ave.. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

197 Feld Ave.. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

197 Feld. October 2013.

197 Feld. October 2013.

 

25 Spring Street

25 Spring Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

25 Spring Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

25 Spring Street. October 2013.

25 Spring Street. October 2013.

Builder's website ad for the lot (house still standing). Credit: Arlene Dean Quality Homes.

Builder’s website ad for the lot (house still standing). Credit: Arlene Dean Quality Homes.

25 Spring Street. Demolished Feb. 11, 2014.

25 Spring Street. Demolished Feb. 11, 2014.

25 Spring Street. Demolished Feb. 11, 2014.

25 Spring Street. Demolished Feb. 11, 2014.

 

560 McKoy Street

560 McKoy Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

560 McKoy Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

560 McKoy Street, August 2013.

560 McKoy Street, August 2013.

560 McKoy Street. October, 2013.

560 McKoy Street. October, 2013.

 

560 McKoy Street. October, 2013.

560 McKoy Street. October, 2013.

836 Third Ave.

836 Third Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

836 Third Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

836 Third Ave., October 2013.

836 Third Ave., October 2013.

836 Third Ave., October 2013.

836 Third Ave., October 2013.

257 Madison Ave.

257 Madison Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

257 Madison Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

257 Madison Ave. Oct. 2013.

257 Madison Ave. Oct. 2013.

104 Spring Street

104 Spring Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

104 Spring Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

104 Spring Street, October 2013.

104 Spring Street, October 2013.

 

245 Madison Avenue

245 Madison Ave., 2009. Credit: Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

245 Madison Ave., 2009. Credit: Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

245 Madison Ave. August 2013.

245 Madison Ave. August 2013.

245 Madison Ave. Demolished Sept. or Oct., 2013.

245 Madison Ave. Demolished Sept. or Oct., 2013.

245 Madison Ave. new home rendering. Credit: Stoney River Homes.

245 Madison Ave. new home rendering. Credit: Stoney River Homes.

362 Greenwood Ave.

This property was one of the 113 “dollar homes” the City of Decatur sold between 1975 and 1982 in the Urban Homesteading Demonstration Program. Decatur was the smallest of the original 23 pilot cities to participate in the program and Oakhurst, then known as South Decatur, the city’s urban homesteading neighborhood.

362 Greenwood Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

362 Greenwood Ave. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

362 Greenwood Ave. being prepped for teardown, September 2013

362 Greenwood Ave. being prepped for teardown, September 2013.

362 Greenwood Ave. Demolished October 2013.

362 Greenwood Ave. Demolished October 2013.

362 Greenwood Ave. Demolished October 2013.

362 Greenwood Ave. Demolished October 2013.

362 Greenwood Dr. December 2013.

362 Greenwood Dr. December 2013.

 

362 Greenwood Ave., new home rendering. Credit: Thrive Homes LLC, http://www.buildwiththrive.com/properties/view/111

362 Greenwood Ave., new home rendering. Credit: Thrive Homes, http://www.buildwiththrive.com/properties/view/111

226 Maxwell Street

One of Decatur’s Urban Homesteading Demonstration Program homes. Sold in 1980 for $1.00, this home was one of a handful out of the 113 urban homesteading sites photographed by the Decatur Housing Authority for its reports and program public relations materials.

226 Maxwell Street, c. 1976-1980 prior to rehabilitation. Credit: Decatur Housing Authority.

226 Maxwell Street, c. 1976-1980 prior to rehabilitation. Credit: Decatur Housing Authority.

226 Maxwell Street, c. 1980-1981 after rehabilitation. Credit: Decatur Housing Authority.

226 Maxwell Street, c. 1980-1981 after rehabilitation. Credit: Decatur Housing Authority.

This property was sold in 2013 and subsequently altered.

226 Maxwell Street, 2009. Credit: Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

226 Maxwell Street, 2009. Credit: Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

226 Maxwell Street, April 2012.

226 Maxwell Street, April 2012.

226-Maxwell-2013-08

226 Maxwell Street, 2013 alterations in progress.

311 West Benson Street

311 West Benson Street. Demolished mid-2013. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey

311 West Benson Street. Demolished mid-2013. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey

311 West Benson Street. August 2013.

311 West Benson Street. August 2013.

311-west-bension-builder

203 McKoy Street

203 McKoy Street. Demolished mid-2013. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

203 McKoy Street. Demolished mid-2013. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

203 McKoy Street. August 2013.

203 McKoy Street. August 2013.

1423 Oakview Road

1423 Oakview Road. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

1423 Oakview Road. Demolished mid-2013. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

1423 Oakview Road. August 2013.

1423 Oakview Road. August 2013.

1423 Oakview Road (under construction, middle). August 2013.

1423 Oakview Road (under construction, middle). August 2013.

 

323 Fayetteville Road

323 Fayetteville Road. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

323 Fayetteville Road. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

323 Fayetteville Road. July 9, 2013.

323 Fayetteville Road. July 9, 2013.

184 Mead Road

184 Mead Road. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

184 Mead Road. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

184 Mead Road. July 9, 2013.

184 Mead Road. July 9, 2013.

184 Mead Rd. July 2014.

184 Mead Rd. July 2014.

184 Mead Rd. May 2015.

184 Mead Rd. May 2015.

184 Mead Rd. May 2015.

184 Mead Rd. May 2015.

156 Feld Ave.

Another former Urban Homesteading Demonstration Program “dollar house.”

156 Feld Ave. Credit: 2009 Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

156 Feld Ave. Credit: 2009 Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

156 Feld Ave. June 26, 2013.

156 Feld Ave. June 26, 2013.

156 Feld Ave. October 2013.

156 Feld Ave. October 2013.

 

208 Maxwell Street

Demolished April 2013.

208 Maxwell Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

208 Maxwell Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

208 Maxwell Street, April 24, 2013.

208 Maxwell Street, April 24, 2013.

215 West Hill Street

Demolished late 2012-early 2103

215 West Hill Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

215 West Hill Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

215 West Hill Street. April 24, 2013.

215 West Hill Street. April 24, 2013.

217 West Hill Street

Demolished early 2013

217 West Hill Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

217 West Hill Street. Credit: 2009 Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

217 West Hill Street. April 24, 2013.

217 West Hill Street. April 24, 2013.

27 Spring Street

27 Spring Street. Credit: 2009 Decatur citywide historic resources survey.

27 Spring Street. Credit: 2009 Decatur citywide historic resources survey.

27 Spring Street. January 7, 2013.

27 Spring Street. January 7, 2013.

27 Spring Street. March 4, 2013. House demolished February 2013.

27 Spring Street. March 4, 2013. House demolished February 2013.

 

1307 Oakview Road

1307 Oakview Road. Credit" 2009 Decatur citywide historic resources survey.

1307 Oakview Road. Credit: 2009 Decatur citywide historic resources survey.

1307 Oakview Road. one-story home demolished end of 2012. This home completed in January 2013. January 7, 2013.

1307 Oakview Road. One-story home demolished end of 2012. This home completed in January 2013. January 7, 2013.

1419 Oakview Road

1419 Oakview Road. Credit: 2009 citywide historic resources survey.

1419 Oakview Road. Credit: 2009 citywide historic resources survey.

1419 Oakview Road. House demolished December 2012. Photo January 3, 2013.

1419 Oakview Road. House demolished December 2012. Photo January 3, 2013.

 

Streetscape

Viewing hints: Select HD under the gear icon and crank your speakers. Remove the Google ad by clicking in its upper right hand corner. (Ads come with YouTube soundtracks. Sorry, I wanted to keep things legal and the music fit.)

Trees

This comment about Oakhurst’s trees was posted at the Decatur Metro blog:

Credit: Decatur Metro. November 13, 2012.

Someone using the screen name “Pierce” replied to LilyinEastlake that Oakhurst’s trees were valued and were by no means endangered. “We have an abundance of trees that help to define the character of our community,” wrote Pierce. “And I do not see that defining characteristic to be at significant risk.” Bravo for LilyinEastlake’s response: ” ‘Had’ an abundance of trees. I am sure things will look like the “safe” burb’s soon enough.”

Personally, I wonder if anyone has kept track of how many trees Arlene Dean, Thrive, and Stoney River have cut down in Oakhurst over the past 18 months ….

Decatur as sustainable? Only if you believe the PR. More and more folks just aren’t buying it. In January 2012, I interviewed an environmental professional who lives in Decatur. Here’s what s/he had to say about Decatur and its policies towards trees and sustainability:

They’re doing a sustainability study right now and I’m like, “Sustainable? All of Oakhurst is becoming unsustainable.” You have huge amounts of impervious surface. Ripping down the trees. Throwing tons of stuff into landfills. Still having to heat and cool a huge house. I mean what’s sustainable about that? It’s a joke. It’s a joke. — Name Withheld, January 9, 2012.

Listen to the audio clip (pitch altered to protect interview subject’s identity):

Credit: Google Maps.

Credit: Google Maps.

212 Olympic Place

212 Olympic Place. Credit: 2009 Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

212 Olympic Place. September 12, 2012.

At least one Decaturite attended the September 2012 variance hearing and was looking out for the environment — or at least part of the environment. Credit: Decatur Metro, September 12, 2012.

212 Olympic Place, November 7, 2012, after teardown.

222 Maxwell Street

222 Maxwell Street. Credit: Decatur 2009 citywide historic resources survey.

222 Maxwell Street, November 7, 2012, shortly after teardown.

615 Ansley Street

In October 2012 Oakhurst residents affiliated with the Wylde Center distributed this email:

615-ansley-email

And they spoke to the Oakhurst Neighborhood Association at its September 2012 meeting:

Capture-615-Ansley-Leaflet-2012-10

Yet, it appears that the Decatur Preservation Alliance and all other parties declined to get involved in the effort to prevent another home from being sent to a landfill and in October 2012 the home was demolished. Its replacement? A new “High-end 5br/3.5ba” home.

615 Ansley Street. Credit: 2009 citywide historic resources survey.

615 Ansley Street, prepped for teardown. October 10, 2012.

615 Ansley Street, October 17, 2012.

615 Ansley Street, January 3, 2013..

615 Ansley Street, January 3, 2013..

Realtor ad for new home at 615 Ansley Street. Credit: Oakhurst Neighborhood Association Leaflet, December 2012.

Realtor ad for new home at 615 Ansley Street. Credit: Oakhurst Neighborhood Association Leaflet, December 2012.

703 Third Avenue

703 Third Avenue in 2009. Credit: City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

703 Third Avenue, October 17, 2012.

703 Third Avenue. January 7, 2013.

703 Third Avenue. January 7, 2013.

703 Third avenue. Builder's advertisement. Credit: Stoney River Homes

703 Third avenue. Builder’s advertisement. Credit: Stoney River Homes (http://www.stoneyriverhomes.com/forsale/oakhurst/)

702 Third Avenue

Pop-top on Third.

702 Third Avenue in 2009. Credit: City of Decatur 2009 Historic Resources Survey.

702 Third Avenue. October 3, 2012.

702 Third Avenue. October 17, 2012.

 

 

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: blog.historian4hire.net

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.

522 East Lake Drive

522 East Lake Drive. Credit: 2009 Decatur Citywide Historic Resources Survey.

522 East Lake Drive. Demolition, August 30, 2012.

This house was one of the Newbold Development Company’s homes built in the Edgemoor subdivision in 1940. The company was nationally recognized for its high-quality small houses. The historically authentic 1,096-square-foot 1940 home will be replaced by a 2,800-square-foot historically inspired McMansion:

522 East Lake Drive. Credit: Zillow.com

522 East Lake Drive. January 11, 2013.

522 East Lake Drive. January 11, 2013.

522 East Lake Drive. January 11, 2013.

522 East Lake Drive. January 11, 2013.

 

523 McKoy Street

523 McKoy Street. Credit: 2009 City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

523 McKoy Street. Heavy equipment in waiting. August 26, 2012.

523 McKoy Street. Demolition, August 30, 2012.

523 McKoy Street. January 3, 2013.

523 McKoy Street. January 3, 2013.

 

Fifth Avenue Elementary School

Torn down in 2010; completed and opened August 2011.

Credit: City of Decatur 2009 Historic Resources Survey.

Completed 4/5 Academy, 2011.

Read more about the school.

An example of the visual and identity-related incongruity that result when a historic school is replaced with a new building that does not complement its surroundings can be seen in the new 4/5 Academy in the Oakhurst neighborhood of Decatur. — Amber Rhea, Educating DeKalb: Midcentury Elementary Schools in DeKalb County, p.32.

Decatur’s official position on Oakhurst preservation

Preservation, historic and more.

Three weeks after I received this letter I met Menne for a chat at a Decatur coffee shop. We discussed historic preservation, the environment, and gentrification. When I raised some of the interviews I had done with elderly African American homeowners in Oakhurst being preyed upon by builders, she offered no solutions to preserving small homes (not historic preservation; housing preservation) and affordable housing in general. And then she said, “They’re just going to die.” After that happens, there’s nothing the City can do about their properties. An assistant city manager said that. I asked her to do a more formal, recorded interview and I received no response. I did, however, get this email from her:

I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt on the lack of follow-up. She did write that she’s a “ponderer” and that she requires time to contemplate issues. Since our meeting in April, Oakhurst houses have continued going into landfills weekly and elderly residents continue to be hounded by opportunistic builders.

Update (August 9, 2012): After this post went live I read the August 8, 2012 Atlanta Journal-Constitution. A letter to the editor from Jesse Clark, executive director of Atlanta’s Historic District Development Corporation, underscores why Decatur’s housing and preservation policies are a failure. Clark wrote,

There are very few subsidies available to nonprofit community development corporations in Atlanta to help us with our work of revitalizing and historically preserving communities, while preventing the displacement of low- to moderate-income residents. However, those that do exist have proven to work (as seen from the transformation of the eastern portion of the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic District). The continued support of our mission of revitalization, historic preservation and affordable housing is a prudent and necessary public investment to ensure that our community is thriving and inclusive going forward.

331 Fourth Avenue

331 Fourth Avenue. Credit: 2009 City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

331 Fourth Avenue. August 7, 2012.

331 Fourth Avenue. August 7, 2012.

331 Fourth Avenue. August 7, 2012.

331 Fourth Avenue. October 17, 2012.

 

222 West Hill Street

222 West Hill Street. Credit: 2009 City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

222 West Hill Street. July 28, 2012.

222 West Hill Street. September 8, 2012.

 

222 West Hill Street. Proposed new construction facade. Credit: Thrives Homes <http://www.thrivehomesatlanta.com/properties/view/66&gt;.

Patti’s punt (or, Patti passes the buck)

Decatur city commissioner Patti Garrett on teardowns, taxes, and the environment, February 2012:

215 Fayetteville Road

215 Fayetteville Road. Credit: 2009 City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

215 Fayetteville Road. August 5, 2012.

215 Fayetteville Road. August 12, 2012.

215 Fayetteville Road. August 12, 2012.

215 Fayetteville Road (left). August 26, 2012.

 

215 Fayetteville Road. September 8, 2012.

120 West Hill Street

Thrive Homes divided the lot at 120 West Hill Street and built a pair of historically inspired homes that are juxtaposed against modest postwar ranches.

120 West Hill Street. May 14, 2012, prior to construction.

Former 120 West Hill Street (118 & 122 West Hill Street). July 28, 2012.

Former 120 West Hill Street (118 & 122 West Hill Street). July 28, 2012.

 

 

918 Third Avenue

918 Third Ave. Credit: 2009 City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

918 Third Ave. July 5, 2012.

918 Third Ave. July 19, 2012.

918 Third Ave. August 7, 2012.

 

124 Park Place (updated)

124 Park Place. Credit: Google Maps.

124 Park Place. July 19, 2012.

I typically try to show the properties posted at this site using photos from the 2009 Citywide historic resources survey. Unfortunately, despite Decatur Historic Preservation Planner Regina Brewer’s assertions that the 2009 survey was complete and met all of the city’s requirements, this property and its neighbors in the heart of the Town of Oakhurst‘s former core appear to have been omitted from the survey. The City of Decatur paid a consultant $35,000 to conduct the survey.

Proposed Oakurst Historic District map from the 2009 citywide historic resources survey. The arrow points to where the house at 124 Park Place stood.

Brewer wrote to me in February 2012 to complain that I had described the 2009 survey as incomplete:

From: Regina Brewer
Sent: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 11:43 AM
To: David Rotenstein
Cc: Lyn Menne; Amanda Thompson;

Subject: RE: Decatur teardown diary

You have stated that the work is incomplete, there is a difference.  Further, every survey has some mistakes especially when it is a windshield survey.  I believe HPD tried to make this point to you in your meeting with them regarding Decatur’s preservation practices.  I imagine even your work has some mistakes as no one is perfect.

I would again respectfully request that you change how you phrase your comments and consider what your goal is in making these comments.

Regina Brewer

Update (July 24, 2012): Silly me. Why would I think this block would be included in any proposed Oakhurst Historic District. According to Brewer, it’s in the so-called “West Decatur Survey Area“:

124 Park Place. Credit: 2009 Citywide historic resources survey.

Brewer’s correction does not change the basic fact that yet another historic house in Oakhurst has gone to a landfill. And, it begs the question why the block was not included in the proposed Oakhurst Historic District. As one reader noted in an earlier version of this post, a Decatur attorney who lives in the block was one of the leaders opposing the creation in 2007 of an Oakhurst Historic District. Does omission of this block from the area included in Oakhurst have anything to do with that? And if so, do all Decatur residents get the right to gerrymander historic district boundaries because they live within proposed boundaries?

136 Madison Avenue

Many homeowners and communities value the history embedded in early twentieth century kit homes. Sold by Sears, Roebuck & Co., Aladdin, and other national firms, these homes were well-designed. And, if built according to the manufacturer’s instructions, remarkably durable.

136 Madison Avenue. Credit: 2009 City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

Kit homes are historic and that historicity is recognized in books, academic articles, and by historic preservation designations. Decatur builder Arlene Dean, though, does not appear to be a historic kit home fan. In 2011 she described this property as an “ugly duckling” in her request for a zoning variance to increase the FAR for the lot. A single picture from the 2009 City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey does not provide sufficient information to determine if 136 Madison Avenue originated in a Sears, Roebuck and Company kit or from a Sears competitor, like Aladdin.

October 2011 Decatur Zoning Board of Appeals application narrative from builder Arlene Dean describing the existing property.

136 Madison Avenue after alterations completed. June 2012.

511 Third Avenue

511 Third Avenue. Credit: 2009 City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

511 Third Avenue. July 15, 2012.

511 Third Avenue. August 5, 2012.

511 Third Avenue. August 12, 2012.

511 Third Avenue. August 23, 2012.

 

511 Third Avenue. September 8, 2012.

324 Spring Street

This property was a vacant lot when we made an offer to buy the house at 316 Spring Street in June 2011. A house contemporaneous to the one we bought had been torn down after the 2009 citywide historic resources survey had been completed.

324 Spring Street. Credit: 2009 City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

By the time we moved into 316 Spring Street the first week in September 2011, this new home was nearing completion:

324 Spring Street. July 29, 2011.

324 Spring Street. July 2012.

We lived at 316 Spring Street for 10 months and seven days. We moved because we didn’t want to continue as participant observers in a community undergoing rapid gentrification through teardowns and mansionization.

The view from our kitchen window at 316 Spring Street. December, 2011.

537 McKoy Street

537 McKoy Street. Credit: 2009 City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

537 McKoy Street being prepared for teardown by builder Arlene Dean. July 2012.

537 McKoy Street. August 5, 2012.

537 McKoy Street. August 23, 2012.

537 McKoy Street. August 26, 2012.

537 McKoy Street. August 30, 2012.

537 McKoy Street. September 8, 2012.

537 McKoy Street. January 3, 2013.

537 McKoy Street. January 3, 2013.

537 McKoy Street. Rendering of proposed new home. Credit: Arlene Dean Quality Homes.

537 McKoy Street. Rendering of proposed new home. Credit: Arlene Dean Quality Homes.

524 Oakview Road

Infill.

524 Oakview Road under construction. July 2012.

524 Oakview Road under construction. July 2012.

Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 1, 2014.

Credit: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, June 1, 2014.

1210 Oakview Road (updated)

Oakhurst teardown and gentrification apologist @Oakhurstgossip recently tweeted that work beginning on an early 20th century cottage will result in “a great renovation/preservation.”

Sadly, the project will be neither. Despite the builder’s assertion that the modest house was a “farmhouse,” it actually was a New South Cottage built along the Atlanta Consolidated Streetcar Company trolley line linking Decatur with Atlanta. The line was constructed in a right-of-way its owners had hoped would become their version of the more prominent Ponce de Leon corridor, complete with parklands and stylish suburban homes. Like 1210 Oakview Road.

1210 Oakview Road. May, 2012.

The builder proposes to construct a rear addition and add space to the existing block by piercing the classic cottage hipped roof with massive shed dormers on the front and west side facades.

1210 Oakview Road architect’s rendering. Credit: http://1210oakviewroad.com/

1210 Oakview Road. Rear of house removed, July 2, 2012.

1210 Oakview Road. chimneys removed, July 2, 2012.

Um, @OakhurstGossip, what was that you tweeted about the shed dormer?

1210 Oakview Road. shed dormer construction begins, July 2, 2012.

1210 Oakview Road. Gutted, July 7, 2012.

1210 Oakview Road. July 15, 2012. I guess the historically authentic porch didn’t fit what likely will be the transformation of this former New South Cottage into a faux Craftsman. And, contrary to tweeter @OakhurstGossip’s now-locked tweet, the builder is punching through the roof and adding a shed dormer to the principal facade.

1210 Oakview Road. July 22, 2012.

1210 Oakview Road, “rehab” completed and first open house announced. September 8, 2012. Voila, it’s no longer historic!

 

@Oakhurstgossip, call it a renovation or something else but don’t call this project “historic preservation” because it isn’t. This project embodies the “Ruined Decatur” principle.

611 McKoy Street

611 McKoy Street. Credit: 2009 City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

Screen capture, 611 McKoy Street. Credit: Stoney River Homes. <http://www.stoneyriverhomes.com/index.php?page=oakhurst>

611 McKoy Street. July, 2012.

829 Third Avenue

829 Third Avenue. Credit: 2009 City of Decatur Historic Resources Survey.

829 Third Avenue prior to teardown. June 30, 2012.

829 Third Ave. August 5, 2012.

829 Third Ave. October 17, 2012.

 

829 Third Avenue. Announcement for new home at this site on builder’s brochure for another teardown site.

1110 Adams Street

1110 Adams Street being prepped for teardown. June 19, 2012.

1110 Adams Street. Teardown, July 5, 2012.

1110 Adams Street. Teardown, July 5, 2012.

1110 Adams Street. Builder’s brochure.