Sec. 16-20.001. - Statement of intent.
"Within zoning districts now existing or hereafter created, it is the intent of this chapter to permit in general areas of substantial historic, architectural, and/or cultural significance, or for individual buildings or sites designated as having such significance, the creation and regulation of the following categories of zoning protection: (1) Landmark Buildings and Sites; (2) Historic Buildings and Sites; (3) Landmark Districts; (4) Historic Districts and (5) Conservation Districts.
"The council finds that many buildings, sites and districts as herein defined, having a special character or a special historic or aesthetic interest or value, or representing the finest architectural products of distinct periods in the history of the city, have been destroyed or uprooted, notwithstanding the feasibility of preserving and continuing the use of such buildings, sites and districts, and without adequate consideration of the irreplaceable loss to the people of the city of aesthetic, educational, economic and historic values represented by such buildings, sites and districts. In addition, distinct areas may be similarly uprooted or may have their distinctiveness destroyed, although the preservation thereof may be both feasible and desirable. It is the finding of the council that the standing of this city as the capital of government, culture, business and education and as a major tourist and convention center must be maintained and enhanced by preserving the historical and architectural heritage of the city and by preventing the destruction of such cultural assets.
"It is hereby declared as a matter of public policy that the identification, protection, enhancement, perpetuation and use of buildings, sites and districts of special character or of a special historic or aesthetic interest or value is a public necessity and is required in the interest of the health, prosperity, safety, education and general welfare of the people. Accordingly, the public policy objectives of this chapter are as follows:
(Code 1977, § 16-20.001)"
Specifically for Ansley Park:
The intent of an Ansley Park Historic District is:
Some BENEFITS of Historic District Designation:
Ansley Park is vulnerable for when the city ultimately carries out the plan it has announced to eliminate single-family zoning, starting with areas near transit (or if City Councilman Farohki decides he'd like to try to rezone us again) resulting in:
This applies to existing multi-family structures, too which would lose the "non-conforming" rights they have now.
So, when the City - in one form or another - comes after Ansley Park (and any other single-family zoned neighborhood) to rezone them for high-density, please consider Historic District designation as a way to stop them and save Ansley Park.
The only sure way to protect Ansley Park from unwanted zoning changes and keep any aspect of CURRENT single-family zoning is historic district designation. Here's why:
1. From the FAQs for ATL Zoning 2.0:
"Will historic districts be affected by the new zoning ordinance?"
Answer: "No." See the link: ATLZoning.com/explore-and-learn
Later in the same FAQ comes the question:
"Will my property be rezoned?" With the ominous answer: "Maybe."
"Maybe" is the answer that applies to Ansley Park now, with our mostly single-family zoning.
2. From the Beltline Overlay District Regulations: "Whenever the following regulations are at variance with historic district regulations of Part 16, Chapter 20, the more stringent regulations shall apply" See the link.
Code says: strictest or most specific zoning regulations override other zoning (CIty Code, Section 16-31.001). Historic District rules would be most specific, so they "win."
3. This protection has been in place for 33 years across 20+ neighborhoods and has worked.
For years, the "connections" and so-called political clout of some in-town neighborhoods have been able to stop unwanted proposed zoning changes.
But times have changed, putting single-family zoned neighborhoods like Ansley Park in real jeopardy. The audacity (and arrogance) of the Farokhi/Keane zoning change attempt in 2021 should be all the proof you need.
And Farokhi has stated his intent to keep trying. Why?
The threat isn't going away. And all we have are neighborhood volunteers who are trying to stem the tide.
How serious do you think the ongoing rezoning threat is to Ansley Park?
To: Mayor Dickens and Atlanta City Council Members
From: 10 Existing Historic Districts in Atlanta
Via: David Mitchell, Executive Director, Atlanta Preservation Center
Re: The position of Atlanta City Planning Commissioner
Dear Mayor and Councilmembers,
We are sending this letter to document our concern and establish the importance of Historic Preservation in the current search for a new planning commissioner. We would request that knowledge of, and supportive experience in, preservation be a necessary criterion for every candidate. Atlanta must have a commissioner who understands the value of historic preservation as a tool for planning and community building.
There are currently 20 recognized historic or landmark districts in the city, collectively housing more than 25% of residents. Several more districts are expected to be formalized in the near future. Atlanta has more than 130 designated historic sites and buildings. Historic district residents tend to be some of the most active and dedicated citizens of Atlanta; historic housing and commercial buildings are some of the most desirable spaces in the city.
HISTORIC PRESERVATION WORKS FOR ATLANTA!
We understand our city is undergoing major changes on multiple levels – and more development is coming. Historic preservation should be recognized as a key tool to direct growth and development in ways that will result in a sustainable quality of life for city residents of all income levels, by enhancing the exceptional places that have given Atlanta its identity. We beseech each of you to be mindful of contemporary urbanism and the demands that will be placed upon this new commissioner and that is why they will need to be a constant voice for the inclusion of historic preservation as we continue to grow.
These neighborhood groups, named below, represent Atlanta historic district residents, and they support the call for historic preservation to be a priority in our planning department. This city has chosen to ask the world to come here in 2026 and experience what we are – who we are -- and see what this amazing city is. Our hope is that they will see a city of the past, present and future – one that remembers thoughtfully and includes wisely. They will see we did not fear our challenges but embraced them. Historic preservation is not the desire of a particular mindset; it is the courage of many that wish to speak visually by including what we have accomplished with what we continue to achieve. We love this city – please help us make sure that the new commissioner will share this same feeling. We thank you for your attention to this concern, and we welcome any and all questions and interactions.
Our collective group can most easily be reached through our allies at the Atlanta Preservation Center. Director, David Mitchell, can be reached at (404) 688-3353, ext. 13, or David@PreserveAtlanta.com.
1. The City is now rewriting the Zoning Ordinance to increase housing density in ways that threaten Ansley Park, unless we protect it and our home values.
2. Making Ansley Park a historic district is the only sure way to avoid upzoning and keep any aspects of our current single-family zoning, like the current limits on how big a house can be or how much of a lot can be paved.
3. The City wants to give developers the right to subdivide lots into much smaller parcels, put more buildings on those small lots, and build apartment houses with as many as 12 apartment units, in traditional residential neighborhoods.
4. The federal government plans to give cities millions of $$ if they rezone for greater density near transit, especially within a half-mile zone.
5. About 75% of Ansley Park is within a half-mile of either the Arts Center MARTA station or the Beltline. Both areas are being targeted for dense apartment development by huge investment firms based outside Atlanta.
6. Historic district designation lets Ansley Park homeowners write into law our specific priorities and guidelines so they take precedence regardless of what the City and developers want to do here.
7. Historic district designation removes Ansley Park homeowners from the current cumbersome process to request variances through the Zoning Committee, the NPU, the BZA, etc. Requests would go to the Urban Design Commission staff.
8. Historic district status puts Ansley Park in partnership with the Urban Design Commission, a separate professional group within the City Planning Department. It oversees much smaller areas of Atlanta, values historic neighborhoods, has its own zoning inspector to enforce rules against violators, and can advocate for us.
9. THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW. Ongoing demolitions will prevent Ansley Park from gaining the protections of a historic district and may lose the other legal protections we have through the National Register of Historic Places.
When a City of Atlanta Historic or Landmark District is proposed, as a part of the City’s official research and analysis process, the City needs to determine which buildings / properties within the proposed district are in fact themselves “historic” or what is known as “contributing” to the proposed Historic or Landmark District.
There are always newer or significantly altered buildings and properties within a proposed Historic or Landmark District, which become known as “non-contributing” properties for the purposes of the administration of the Historic or Landmark District procedures and requirements. This “contributing” / “non-contributing” status does potentially impact how or which requirements from the Historic or Landmark District would apply to that particular property.
While the City’s Historic Preservation Studio Staff (in the Department of City Planning) makes a preliminary determination / finding as to this status, the final decision about the “contributing” status of a property is made at the first public hearing held during the official designation process by the City’s Urban Design Commission ("UDC") - the City’s historic preservation commission. This hearing has not occurred yet and the property owners would be officially notified by the City of Atlanta when the hearing would occur, along with other information about a designation process.
The Urban Design Commission ("UDC") is comprised of 11 city residents, each with a required - and relevant - professional background and are appointed by the Mayor and the City Council. This is similar to the Board of Zoning Adjustment and the Zoning Review Board which currently have oversight of our zoning. Unlike them, the Urban Design Commission focuses closely on the recommendations of the City Preservation Staff.
Current Commission Members:
Again, Historic Designation means working with the City Preservation Staff in most cases and, more rarely, with the Urban Design Commission, and not going through the existing zoning variance process that has heavy involvement from APCA and our NPU.
Here is the presentation made by Doug Young, Interim Head of the Urban Design Commission, at Rhodes Hall on April 26, 2022 on historic preservation efforts in Atlanta.
We are longtime Ansley Park residents and volunteers who have tried to stay informed during this process, especially after the 2021 threat of rezoning our neighborhood, and wish to share our informed opinions here. This website reflects our own learning process and fact-checking. After doing our homework, it is our opinion that the zoning threat to Ansley Park is great and so we support historic district designation as the necessary solution. We understand that others disagree; we hope that is based on accurate information.
We have no financial interest in zoning, development, construction, or real estate other than owning our (one) home in Ansley Park. We aren't real estate agents, developers, architects, or builders, nor do we have clients who are real estate agents, developers, architects, or builders. We weren't asked to do this by APCA or Ansley Park Forever. We weren't paid to do it. We have confirmed factual statements and/or quoted directly (and fully) from identified sources. If we discover and confirm that we have made an error, we will correct it as soon as possible. We have absolutely no intent to malign.
Some good starting places are:
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Disclaimer: This website reflects our personal opinions and research, with no intent to malign. We take reasonable precautions to ensure the information we share is accurate and based on verifiable sources. Errors can occur, and because of the changing nature of laws, rules, regulations, and third-party websites, there may be delays or omissions. If we become aware of a confirmed error, we will do our best to correct it. We encourage readers to pursue the most updated information independently and directly from sources mentioned here. We are not responsible for errors or omissions, or outcomes based on them. We are not affiliated with the Ansley Park Civic Association or Ansley Park Forever.
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