Article below originally published in the "Candler Park Messenger" - January 2022 edition.
Bungalow and Victorian-style homes, wide front porches, city parks, families riding bikes, walkable restaurants and friendly neighbors - Candler Park is a quaint neighborhood tucked into the City of Atlanta, and residents want to preserve its eclectic and historic nature.
PURSUING HISTORIC DESIGNATION FOR CANDLER PARK NEIGHBORHOOD
With the recent proposal to rezone properties within a 1/2 mile of the MARTA station to MR-MU, a number of residents realized that a significant portion of historic Candler Park could be increasingly targeted for demolition and redevelopment. A group of Candler Park residents are seeking neighborhood input and taking the first steps towards historic designation for Candler Park neighborhood. Even with current zoning, the rapid pace of development in the City of Atlanta and escalation in home values in Candler Park are leading to a rise in the demolition of historic homes. And that means a loss of trees and developer-driven building that maximizes lot coverage.
It’s the opposite of the charm neighbors all know and love. This increase in new development is a major threat to the historic character of Candler Park neighborhood.
The goal of the Candler Park Working Group is to empower Candler Park residents in shaping future development in the neighborhood, ensuring new construction fits in scale and character with our community.
Candler Park’s Historic Character
Within Candler Park, just over 60% of remaining homes were built between the late 19th century and 1940, providing the historic structures that form the distinctive character of our neighborhood. The residential architecture of Candler Park typifies middle class housing in Atlanta during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Both late-Victorian and Craftsman Bungalow styles are well represented in Candler Park. Uniquely, transitional period bungalows in central areas of Candler Park retain some elements of late-Victorian styling in addition to simple Craftsman style detailing. Candler Park is one of the best examples of historic incremental suburban development in metropolitan Atlanta.
Within a Historic District, properties are classified as either contributing (historic) or noncontributing (not historic). Historic designation is a type of zoning managed by the City of Atlanta’s Urban Design Commission., and it has become an increasingly popular tool to put power back into the hands of a neighborhood. A number of other neighborhoods – including Inman Park, Grant Park, Adair Park and Whittier Mill – have sought and achieved historic designation. Most recently, our neighbors in Poncey Highlands received this designation in 2020, and Ansley Park and a portion of Virginia-Highlands are now pursuing historic designation as well.
The city allows wide latitude in drafting of regulations to meet neighborhood intent. Historic district designation packages are developed in consultation with residents and should be customized to meet neighborhood design needs. A property is determined to be historic/contributing when it adds to the associations, qualities or characteristics of the district and was present during the period of significance for that district or possesses historic integrity reflecting its character at that time. Historic designation does not prevent renovations for existing structures. If a property falls under the historic/contributing category, street visible construction, demolition and some site work would require a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) from the Atlanta Urban Design Commission (UDC) which is applied for in conjunction with the necessary Building Permit".
For more information on Historic Designation and how it works, please go to the City of Atlanta’s historic preservation site at https://www.atlantaga.gov/government/departments/city-planning/historic-preservation.
Timeline and next steps
The Candler Park Working Group is beginning the work of preparing nomination materials which involve writing a history of the neighborhood, documenting properties today, and drafting potential regulations. We will gather input from the entire neighborhood with a survey, presentations and discussions, starting in January 2022. The current plan is to complete the engagement process by the 2nd quarter of 2022 and complete a successful application by the end of 2022. To follow the progress and keep up with the latest information, check back at www.historiccandlerpark.org for regular updates. If you’re interested in helping out please email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help fund this initiative by making a donation for this effort through the Candler Park Neighborhood Association, a 501(c)3 organization.