The skirmishes around Decatur during the Civil War have nothing on the showdown that’s been going on in Oakhurst for the past year or so. But instead of fighting over control of the railroad, residents are up in arms over whether to designate the neighborhood as a local historic district. Smelling blood, the AJC has started to pickup on the dissidence, featuring articles and most recently reader reactions to the controversy.
The most recent “surprise” development in this ongoing saga revolves around Decatur’s Historic Preservation Commission ruling that the original proposed district boundaries were too arbitrary, and that they instead should reflect historic development patterns. This means that for the nomination to go forward all 1,200 some odd properties in the neighborhood should be included.
Map courtesy of One Oakhurst
Though Decatur already has four smaller, locally protected historic districts (MAK, Clairemont, Ponce de Leon Ct., and Old Decatur), Oakhurst is the first really contentious nomination. As such, it has jumpstarted an important dialogue that the entire city should be considering. With a huge percentage of the city’s residential inventory older than 50 years, what is the city’s best approach in protecting the neighborhoods that contribute so greatly to the city’s character? I think the answer for Oakhurst probably lies somewhere between Druid Hills’ strict local ordinance and the tragedy that befalls so may historic buildings in Morningside.
Let’s hear your comments!