Ansley Park Forever asks you to respond to this important new survey. The proposed changes to the City of Atlanta residential zoning and the tree protection ordinances are dramatic and if passed, will greatly impact historic Ansley Park. It is important for each resident to respond to the brief survey and share their views on what they want preserved in the neighborhood and where they believe change is beneficial. The results will help determine if the neighborhood supports nominating Ansley Park for historic/ landmark designation.
You will be required to provide your name and address in your survey submission. This information will only be visible to the Ansley Park Forever committee and the APCA Board. Aggregated responses, without personal identification, will be shared with the neighborhood.
What Could Historic Designation Look Like in Ansley Park?
Based on the feedback you have provided in surveys, meetings, emails, and individual calls and texts, we’ve created a draft framework for a progressive historic district in Ansley Park. This is a starting point to get even more of your input.
CLICK HERE TO SEE THE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT TIMELINE.
The City of Atlanta is planning sweeping zoning changes. This is our opportunity to craft standards for Ansley Park that allow for gentle growth and maintain our history, greenspace, and serenity. We feel confident there is enough community support to nominate Ansley Park for historic designation. This would begin the 180-day process with the city and will give residents more opportunities to participate, join working groups that tap into your brain power, and work with professionals to help craft the final proposal. At that point our community would decide if we want to adopt the proposal to become a local Historic District.
Historic Designation is the most comprehensive tool available to Ansley Park residents to shape future development. It can preserve our tree canopy, historic houses, streetscape, and open greenspace, while ensuring that new development fits in form and scale with the neighborhood. It can supersede all other zoning like the Beltline Overlay or future attempts to up-zone.
There are a few core aspects of Historic Designation that are non-negotiable. We hope you agree that these are a fair trade-off to shape the destiny of Ansley Park.
Based on your input we recommend pursuing Historic designation rather than a Landmark designation because it allows for more flexibility in controls.
Actions You Can Take Now
Review this rough draft outline of proposed Ansley Park historic district. Jot down your questions and opinions. We will ask you to submit them before and during upcoming meetings and working sessions.
There is a glossary of terms at the end to explain what some of the language means.
DRAFT FRAMEWORK of ANSLEY PARK HISTORIC DISTRICT
To preserve the curvilinear streetscape, original lot patterns and building siting, historic houses, parks and open green space, while ensuring new development fits in size and scale with the neighborhood and allows for gentle growth.
Period of Significance: pre-1904 until 1966
(to match the National Register of Historic Places)
Contributing vs. Non-contributing
Houses and apartments built before 1904 until 1966 that contribute to the historic character of Ansley Park, are sound and have not undergone major visible alterations are “Contributing”.
All others are “non-contributing” to the historic character.
Each home owner will know if their property is Contributing or Non-contributing before deciding to become a historic district.
The neighborhood can be organized geographically into “subareas”, these can have a different set of developmental or design controls.
Ansley Park Subarea Map
Residential Core: Subarea 1
Residential Periphery: Subarea 2
Parks, open green space and alleys: Subarea 3
(Subareas quickly drawn for reference, community input will determine exact areas)
The original platting pattern is part of the historic character of the neighborhood. Lots cannot be merged or split unless it restores the historic pattern laid out in 1904-1938.
Parks, islands, circles, green space, and alleys are to remain as open space without dwellings, parking structures or slabs.
Alleys are not public rights-of-way.
The original layout, patterns of sidewalks, curbs, streets, and alleys shall be retained.
Auxiliary Dwelling Units (ADUs)
Interior Dwelling Units (IDUs)
Solar panels and devices to create energy are encouraged.
Large trees of 12” (or 6”) caliper at breast height need permission for removal. Trees removed for construction to be replaced by like trees.
Slopes cannot be regraded more than a percentage determined through neighborhood input. (i.e. 20%).
Focus is on front façade and portion of street visible sides of house.
Upon adoption of regulations, no property would be required to be changed or retrofitted to meet the neighborhood’s design or developmental controls, nor would it have to be changed or retrofitted to look as it had when originally built. The design and developmental controls would pertain to new construction, additions, and changes to the existing façade going forward.
Working groups will also discuss signage, fences and retaining walls, building forms and permitted uses.
There are a few core tenets of Historic Designation that must be observed to become a City of Atlanta historic district. If we can agree to these reasonable and sometimes “common sense” controls, we can succeed in keeping Ansley Park the lush oasis that it is today. We hope you’ll agree that these trade-offs are worthwhile. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
As a Contributing house:
You agree not to demolish the street visible façade of your house- this ensures historic homes and siting patterns are preserved and the ecosystem and trees are protected by disturbing less soil during renovation.
You agree that story, gable, dormer and side additions will be secondary to the primary structure so original building is still identifiable – this standard ensures your house continues to contribute to the historic character of the neighborhood.
You agree to retain specific original architectural elements, not to mix historical styles, and keep compatible roof lines on additions, gables and dormers when street visible– this ensures that the variety of revivalist styles are still identifiable and not confused and the building remains “internally consistent”.
You agree to the buildable dimensions, lot coverage, FAR and minimum lot size requirements that the neighborhood determines – the benefit is that your and your neighbor’s greenspace is preserved and the existing relationship between buildings is observed.
You agree to replant an equivalent to any mature tree removed from your lot and not remove any tree over 12”(or 6”) caliper at breast height without permission. – the tree canopy is protected.
You agree that lots cannot be merged and split – this preserves the historic platting pattern that was designed for this topography to create a park-like experience.
You agree to follow the procedures for approval set forth by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission before applying for a building permit for street visible projects– this ensures that the community’s determined regulations are observed.
As a Non-contributing house:
You agree that street visible additions and alterations and new infill do not mix historical styles and are Internally Consistent – this ensures harmony of design and keeps the building from looking ”Frankensteined” and still allows contemporary forms.
You agree to the buildable dimensions, lot coverage and FAR that the neighborhood determines – the benefit is that your and your neighbor’s greenspace is preserved and the existing relationship between buildings is observed.
You agree to replant an equivalent to any mature tree removed from your lot and not remove tree over 12” (or 6”) caliper at breast height. – the tree canopy is protected.
You agree that lots cannot be merged and split – this preserves the historic platting pattern that was designed for this topography.
You agree that new infill may not extensively change the existing slope of the property - this helps maintain the neighborhood’s delicate ecosystem to prevent run-off and drainage issues for neighbors.
You agree to follow the procedures for approval set forth by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission before applying for a building permit for street visible projects and new construction – this ensures that the community’s determined regulations are observed.
How would we ensure that our residents and new homeowners know about the rules and procedures if Historic designation is adopted?
Here is Inman Park’s Design Guide
GLOSSARY OF TERMS
Addition: Any change to an existing structure where additional square footage is added to the structure by expanding the exterior envelope of the structure.
Alterations: Any change to an existing structure that does not add additional square footage to the existing heated space and does not move exterior walls. Examples of alterations include, but are not limited to, window replacement, siding replacement, front porch railing/column replacement, etc.
Auxiliary Dwelling Unit: A secondary detached dwelling unit on the same lot as the primary lot. An ADU is a distinct dwelling unit as defined by having an independent kitchen.
Block: Both sides of the street where the property is located between the two closest public street intersections.
Block Face: The same side of the street where the property is located between the two closest, public street intersections.
Building Type: A category of building determined by general use, form, and configuration.
Certificates of Appropriateness: City of Atlanta applications/permits used to review and approve design, development and construction activities on properties or districts designated as Historic and Landmark by the City of Atlanta.
Compatibility Rule: Where quantifiable (i.e. building height, setback, etc.), the element or building characteristic in question shall be no less than the smallest and no greater than the greatest such element or building characteristic of buildings or site layouts in that block face that characterizes such like contributing buildings and shall be internally consistent with the historic design of the structure. Where not quantifiable (roof form, architectural trim, etc.), the element or building characteristic in question shall be compatible with that which predominates in such like contributing structures in the district and shall be internally consistent with the historic design of the structure.
Demolition: The removal or destruction of more than 50 percent of a structure, or removal or destruction of any portion of the structure inside the lot compatibility zone.
Demolition, Partial: The removal or destruction of up to 50 percent of a structure outside the lot compatibility zone.
District rights-of-way: All public streets within the Ansley Park Historic District.
Historic/Contributing Building: A building, also known as a contributing structure, that reinforces the visual integrity or historic interpretability of the Ansley Park Historic District.
Internal Dwelling Unit: A secondary attached dwelling unit inside the primary dwelling. An IDU is a distinct dwelling unit as defined by having an independent kitchen.
Internally Consistent. That the architectural form or style of and the architectural elements on a given building are a cohesive expression of the identified architectural style or form of that building and not a combination or mixture of various architectural styles or forms.
Lot Compatibility Zone: A portion of a lot located within XX horizontal feet of the front lot line, but no more than XX of the lot depth as measured from the front lot line and no more than the front XX% of the principal structure, and the portion of a lot located within XX feet of all other lot lines adjacent to streets other than the front lot line. (Parameters determined by neighborhood input).
Non-Historic/Non-contributing Building: A building, also known as a non-contributing structure, that does not reinforce the visual integrity or historic interpretability of the Ansley Park Historic District.
Original: Part of the building or structure since its initial construction.
Ordinary Repairs and Maintenance: Any work, the purpose or effect of which is to correct any deterioration or decay of, or damage to, a building, structure or site, or any part thereof, and to restore the same, as nearly as may be practicable, to its condition prior to such deterioration, decay or damage, using like material.
Street: A public street. Public and private alleys are not considered streets.
Transitional Height Plane: (Slant Plane Rule) No portion of any structure shall protrude through a height limiting plane beginning at the specified number of feet above the point set by Ansley Park Historic District and below and extending inward at an angle of 45 degrees.
See Chapter 20 – HC Historic Districts
In Atlanta, a façade easement encompasses all sides of a house. The IRS requires the entire building envelope is protected to qualify for a one-time Federal tax deduction. However, with a full façade easement it is possible to build a rear addition as long as it is differentiated from the primary building. It is ok to build secondary buildings. In donating the façade easement the home owner is agreeing to keep up the exterior of their house without changing its appearance, and placing a deed agreement on their house that prevents it from being demolished in the future. (CLICK HERE FOR MORE/LESS)
Easments Atlanta has only one single-family home in Atlanta with a façade easement, Spotswood Hall in Buckhead. Easements Atlanta are their own governing body and have noted that since Ansley Park is on the National Registry of Historic Places any contributing house could be eligible.
The Georgia Trust states that a property must be listed as contributing on the National Registry to be eligible. These are the residences in Atlanta that have donated façade easements to the The Georgia Trust:
15 Cherokee Road NW (Architecture & Gardens)
67-69 Hogue Street NE
1138 Harwell Street NW
1575 Mozley Place SW
It is most beneficial to donate a façade easement before a neighborhood becomes a historic or landmark district. The IRS looks at the appraised value and the value with the ability for future development to help determine the Federal tax deduction.
Would you like more information? Register to attend Zoom meetings to learn more from
Easements Atlanta and The Georgia Trust come to give a presentation and Q&A and we’ll help
navigate the process.
Learn more about façade easements at Easements Atlanta
National Register of Historic Places
How has Ansley Park benefitted from being on the National Register of Historic Places?
Neighbor, Sue Olszewski shares how NRHP status enabled Ansley Park to get millions of dollars for traffic calming:
In 1999/2000, Ansley Park faced endangerment from developers wishing to develop the abandoned Atlantic Steel site in west Midtown. Jacoby Development had received permits from the city for the redevelopment. These plans however were contingent upon the building of a bridge over the connector at 17th Street. (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE/LESS)
Since federal funds were to be used for bridge construction, the Federal Environmental Protection Act required an environmental impact study. The study was expedited to meet Jacoby’s construction deadline. Jacoby’s deal with the city would fall through if the study/bridge construction was not completed by a certain date.
One requirement of the study was an evaluation of the development/bridge construction on historic neighborhoods. The project was designated as a Transportation Control Measure (TCM). Traffic impacts were a key component of the project. In the rush to complete the study, impacts to Ansley Park were not considered. Since new roads, a major bridge, and a massive new live/work/play development were being constructed on and around 17th Street, the neighborhood faced significant impacts.
The Ansley Park Civic Association decided to challenge the development by threatening to sue. This, in effect, would stop the project cold. Any delay to the bridge construction would tank Jacoby’s deal with the city.
The linchpin in Ansley Park’s case was the fact that Ansley Park was on the National Register of Historic Places. Without the designation, the neighborhood had no case.
In October, 2000, Ansley Park signed a settlement agreement with Jacoby Development, the City of Atlanta (COA), the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT), and the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA). The resulting agreement included:
1) $200,000 for an External Traffic Study. A team consisting of APCA, COA, GDOT, and GRTA contracted Day Wilburn, an outside traffic consultant, to conduct the study. From this study, the team developed a list of traffic control projects outside the neighborhood to divert traffic away from Ansley Park. A total of 8 (I have to check the actual number) projects were implemented and paid for by GDOT and the COA.
2) $150,000 for an Ansley Park Traffic Study (Internal Study). The study identified traffic patterns, volumes, and speed counts. The APCA Traffic Committee working with traffic consultants used this data to develop a traffic plan for the neighborhood.
3) $2,800,000 to implement the recommended traffic plan. This money was used to implement traffic calming projects inside Ansley Park.
4) In addition, the APCA Traffic Committee working with the COA was awarded an additional $3,500,000 in grants by the state and federal government.
Needless to say, Ansley Park’s designation on the National Register of Historic Places provided the neighborhood with significant protections. Had it not been for this designation, millions of dollars of improvement projects would have been lost to the neighborhood.
We encourage all residents with historic houses or buildings to watch these presentations. Learn how you can act now to ensure your property stands proudly, forever in Ansley Park by donating a facade easement. Not only will you have the satisfaction of being a good steward and preserving a piece of Atlanta’s history for future generations to enjoy, but you may also be eligible to receive potential tax benefits.
Hear about the unique historic district that the Poncey-Highland neighborhood created using the City of Atlanta's historic designation.
Read, click on links to articles, web sites, and studies. Do your own research.
*If you are not a member of the APCA and are a resident of Ansley Park you can sign up as a non-member resident to register for events by clicking here.
ANSLEY PARK FOREVER’S MISSION
To bring the Ansley Park community together to preserve its historic character, streetscape and excellent quality of life during dynamic city growth.
The beauty and value of Ansley Park rests in the unique residential character, streetscape and quality of life offered its residents right in the middle of the city.
Critics of the rewrite say it allows too many trees to be removed, and is in opposition of the tree conservation it was supposed to deliver:
Some of the changes may be beneficial for the neighborhood, but as it stands now, our residents will have little say in coming changes. Crafting our own zoning standards, through Historic or Landmark designation, would provide residents with a greater voice in the future of our neighborhood.
Market forces, along with current generic rules and proposed zoning changes, inadvertently encourage demolition rather than renovation. The result is infill that is not always compatible with the neighborhood in massing or scale. The fear is that if this process is left unchecked, Ansley Park will become unrecognizable in the years to come, its streetscape altered, and its distinctive historic character lost. It will no longer be the lush, green oasis in the center of Midtown that it is today.
Here are examples of what is happening now that will increase without neighborhood intervention:
ANSLEY PARK FOREVER COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
Jennifer Friese, Chair (email@example.com)
Georgia Schley Ritchie
More than a year ago The History & Preservation (H&P) committee became concerned over the accelerated rate of demolitions in the neighborhood. They set out to understand why it was happening and began to look at the bigger picture. They studied the Comprehensive Atlanta Preservation Act because they knew it was the only tool that could slow down or control demolition, and discovered that local Historic or Landmark designation can do a lot more than that. They are flexible zoning tools that would allow residents to shape future development in Ansley Park, and ensure new construction fits in scale and character with the neighborhood.
H&P went to the Civic Association (APCA) and asked if a broader ad hoc committee could be formed to further explore local Historic/Landmark with our community. APCA voted to form Ansley Park Forever.
APF has put together what we are calling a “learning tool”; a treasure trove of information to educate neighbors about change that affects Ansley Park; what is at risk, our history of community involvement and great neighborhood planning, an explanation and examples of Historic/Landmark Districts in Atlanta. It contains a lot of information, so, we want to allow all residents the time to read what we’ve written, click the links to articles, web sites and studies, and then do their own research. Then we want to start a conversation to see if our community wants to explore further.
The city is undergoing a comprehensive rewrite of the zoning ordinance to be implemented within 5 years. All proposed changes are not yet known however in January, 2019 the city passed an ordinance allowing Auxiliary Dwelling Units (ADU’s) without parking requirements for residential zoning. We believe Interior Dwelling Units (IDU’s) will soon follow. Key proposed zoning changes will begin to be be shared publicly in February or March 2021. (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE/LESS)
Here is the ADU without parking requirements Ordinance 18-0-1581:
Please follow these links for more insight on coming zoning changes:
The Atlanta City Design Project from the Department of City Planning.
Here is Mayor Lance Bottoms “One Atlanta”, Housing Affordability Action Plan, click the image to get to the document:
CITY ZONING RE-WRITE
Reaction to planning departments proposed changes in zoning:
Mayor says density-focused zoning changes could be “scaled back”. Atlanta, Civic Circle April 14, 2021 Sean Keenan
In April, 2021 our city council person, Jennifer Ide, issued the following statement to the APCA:
None of these changes is anything being considered by City Council currently or any time soon. The document at issue is a policy statement by the mayor, which had no participation or vetting by City Council, and City Council did not even know it was being released. It’s getting a lot of attention at the moment since it is an election year, but there are no changes to the zoning code actually being considered. I do anticipate that the zoning code will be reviewed and updated over the next 3-5 years simply because it has been decades since this has been done. I can’t say at this time what changes would be considered and ultimately approved by City Council as we haven’t even started this process and dialogue. What I can say is that it will be an open and lengthy process that involves significant public input. Zoning changes cannot be made by the executive order- they will all have to legislated.
On March 22, 2021, APF met with Caleb Racicot from TSW.
Ansley Park Forever met with Caleb Racicot, a Senior Principal with TSW, to informally discuss zoning and development topics affecting the neighborhood. Caleb is a planner and code writer who has worked with many Atlanta neighborhoods. He also is Project Manager for TSW’s work on the forthcoming City of Atlanta Zoning Ordinance Rewrite, although he stressed that he was speaking to APF in an unofficial capacity and that there would be many opportunities for Ansley Park to engage in that process. (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE/LESS)
During the meeting, Caleb explained that the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite will be a multi-year process. The first part of the process is underway and includes a technical review of the existing Zoning Ordinance through the lens of the Atlanta City Design and other current needs. It also includes an Existing Pattern Analysis that uses GIS and aerial photos to document the built patterns in 24 representative Atlanta neighborhoods, including Ansley Park. The goal of the analysis is to first understand whether the current zoning standards reflect existing patterns across Atlanta and then use this information to inform citywide conversations about the updated Zoning Ordinance. To-date, the work has been largely technical and internal, but a robust public engagement process is being finalized and will begin this summer; it will include a project website, workshops, public meetings, and more.
Caleb also explained that the Zoning Ordinance rewrite is different from the current Atlanta City Design Housing zoning updates that were made public in January. Atlanta City Design Housing updates have been proposed by the Department of City Planning for public review and feedback. As with all zoning changes, they would require approval from City Council. Ansley Park should formally share its thoughts on City Design Housing with the Department of City Planning and elected officials. This will ensure that their voice is heard as Atlanta City Design Housing zoning proposals are finalized.
Going forward, Ansley Park should remain active in all zoning discussions, including the immediate Atlanta City Design Housing proposals, the future Zoning Ordinance Rewrite, and other initiatives that may arise. Public input shapes zoning decisions in Atlanta and there may be opportunities for Ansley Park to influence citywide changes or create neighborhood-specific zoning protections (e.g. customized setbacks, lot splitting/merging standards, landscaping, etc.). The specific tools used could take many different forms: historic/landmark districts, a custom overlay, etc. Each has advantages and disadvantages that must be considered, depending on the neighborhood’s needs and desires. For example, an overlay could do many of the things that a historic/landmark district could do, but not prevent demolition (although it could include incentives for preservation) or offer significant historic landscape protection. Coordination with the BeltLine Overlay will also be critical. APF will be having further discussion on preservation options with Doug Young of Atlanta’s Historic Preservation division.
“The City should side with the neighborhoods”. AJC, April 16, 2021 Bob Irvin
HOW DOES BELTLINE OVERLAY ZONING AFFECT THE NEIGHBORHOOD?
Beltline Overlay Zoning covers a swath of land encircling the entire Beltline. In Ansley Park it comes up South Prado to The Prado to Montgomery Ferry to Beverly to Friar Tuck in Sherwood Forest. Its main purpose is to promote connectivity and walkability on and off the Beltline. Beltline Overlay Zoning does not affect R4 or R5 Zoning, but for RG-3 zoning, the Beltline Overlay Zoning allows for a set of generic Design Standards that can decrease set-backs and Usable Open Space (greenspace) requirements that can increase building massing. All of Piedmont is zoned RG-3, as are parts of South Prado, The Prado and Park Lane. Historic/Landmark Designation would supersede Beltline Overlay Zoning with its own set of controls determined by the neighborhood. (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE/LESS)
THE EXISTING ZONING REGULATIONS IN ANSLEY PARK:
Residential R-4: (single family homes)
Front yard set-back: 35 feet
Side yard set-back: 7 feet
Rear yard set-back: 15 feet
Height: 35 feet
Floor to Area Ratio: not to exceed .50
Lot Coverage: not to exceed 50%
(CLICK HERE TO READ MORE/LESS)
Residential General, RG-3: (multi-family dwellings):
Is informed by a set of design standards depending on form:
CAN’T WE RELY ON THE CITY’S TREE ORDINANCE TO PROTECT OUR TREE CANOPY?
The City is rewriting their tree ordinance and we don’t know the final result. The draft that was proposed in March 2020 was more lenient than the current regulations. It was met with a lot of opposition and they are in the process of public meetings. Through our Historic/Landmark designation we could determine our own rules for tree removal. (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE/LESS)
Here is the March 2020 Draft:
Here is the City Planning Departments Tree Ordinance site:
Some Tree Advocacy Groups:
On April 26 the APCA hosted a town hall discussion via Zoom about the changes to the Atlanta Tree Protection Ordinance on which the Atlanta city council will vote in August or September.
Guest presenters were Greg Levine of Trees Atlanta and Chet Tisdale of the Citizens Group for tree advocacy. It was an interactive, lively conversation about our tree canopy in Ansley Park and the city of Atlanta that included information about what citizens like you can do to make your voices heard before the new ordinance is finalized.
Below are links to the recording of the zoom meeting and related documents.
In January 2021 the city published a revised draft of the new tree ordinance. Neither the Citizens Group nor Trees Atlanta support the draft as written. Trees Atlanta has 23 suggested amendments to the document and The Citizen’s Group offered their suggested version called “the blended draft”.(CLICK HERE TO READ MORE/LESS)
City of Atlanta’s January Tree Ordinance Draft:
Trees Atlanta’s 23 suggested amendments:
Link to APCA Tree Townhall
Trees Action Items - How you can protect trees now
Find out the true value of a tree with the tree benefit calculator:
Take care of your trees! Here's how
4 Simple Steps to Healthy Trees
The tree canopy in Ansley Park is unique and important to the context and fabric of the neighborhood. More importantly, it shields us from heat, noise, and water runoff. If you are wondering how to care for your trees, here are some practical tips from Chris Hughes, an ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist who lives right here in Ansley Park.
1. Assess tree health yourself.
2. Consult an expert to assess tree health concerns.
3. Be proactive in your tree care.
4. Create a tree plan for your yard.
Just a small investment in your trees will provide years of benefit to you, Ansley Park, and the planet. If we make caring for them part of our property maintenance plans, we will preserve the beautiful oasis in the city we are fortunate to call home.
Do you think your tree is sick or dying? The City of Atlanta Arborist office can assess the health for a modest fee:
Do you think someone is removing a tree without a permit? Call 911 and the police will respond. You may remain anonymous.
Find out who is requesting tree removal permits in the neighborhood.
Is new development planned near your home? We suggest proactively scheduling a meeting with the builder and the homeowner as quickly as possible to discuss:
WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE OUR VOICES HEARD TO MANAGE NEW DEVELOPMENT THAT IS OUT OF CHARACTER WITH NEIGHBORHOOD SCALE AND DENSITY?
We can come together as a neighborhood to explore Historic/Landmark Designation to see how this zoning tool can be used to ensure that Ansley Park residents have input into what happens in their own neighborhood.
LET’S GET A CONVERSATION GOING
The APCA History & Preservation committee spent the past year studying the issues and believes that Ansley Park could qualify for Historic or Landmark Designation. This would allow residents to define the changes they do or do not wish to see in the neighborhood, and can ensure new development fits the character of the neighborhood. (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE/LESS)
Historic/Landmark Designation could provide a warm hug around the neighborhood by promoting the goals of the original neighborhood plan, to maintain its primarily residential status, solidify its boundaries, protect the greenspace and tree canopy and support our high quality of life.
The APCA voted to allow a steering committee to form called Ansley Park Forever (APF), it includes a cross-section of neighbors.. Their goal is to gather input from all residents and property owners in Ansley Park. There will be surveys, opportunities to elaborate on ideas or reservations via email, virtual block and community meetings, and in-person meetings once that is possible.
APF will also request input from the various organizations in the neighborhood, i.e., History & Preservation, Beautification, Zoning, the Sustainability Group, the realtors etc. to ensure all perspectives are considered.
Once this information is gathered and assessed, and if the neighborhood wants to move forward with Landmark or Historic designation, APF will draft regulations and workshop each section with the community. The regulations will be refined per neighborhood feedback, and the document would then be finalized and polished. Once it is deemed ready and the committee feels there is a good consensus represented, it could be voted on.
HOW DOES HISTORIC/LANDMARK DESIGNATION WORK?
Street visible construction, demolition and some site work would require a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) from the Atlanta Urban Design Commission (UDC). Certain types of actions would be characterized as needing a Type I, II, III, IV COA. Each type would require the homeowner to apply for a COA from the UDC that meets a greater level of controls to gain approval. This process will assure that new construction fits the design and developmental controls set by the neighborhood.
Type I -Ansley Park would NOT require a Type I for ordinary repair and maintenance, painting etc.
Type II -Street visible additions and some specified alterations would require a Type II, this type of COA could be automatically approved by the Director of the UDC within 14 days if the neighborhoods requirements are met.
Type III - New houses/buildings would require a Type III. This approval would be determined by the Commission of the UDC rather than just the Director based on the controls laid out by the neighborhood.
Type IV - Demolitions of Contributing buildings would require a Type IV. This would be the most difficult approval to get from the Commission of the AUD based on the Ansley Park guidelines.
When required by the city, a building permit will still be necessary. No additional drawings would be necessary for the COA process, in fact a hand drawn sketch can work in many cases (rule of thumb; the COA can use whatever drawing is required for permitting).
Enforcement – as of 2021 the Atlanta Urban Design Commission has hired a building inspector that is dedicated to the historic and landmark districts of Atlanta.
Read more on the Atlanta Urban Design Commission site:
The UDC commission meets twice a month to review Certificate of Appropriateness applications from Historic & Landmark districts in Atlanta.
Here is a meeting schedule & staff reports from past meetings.
Type II & III Certificate of Appropriateness Application Form
Type IV Certificate of Appropriateness Form
Watch a AUDC Hearing:
CAN WE SUCCEED AT MANAGING NEW DEVELOPMENT THAT IS OUT OF CHARACTER WITH NEIGHBORHOOD SCALE AND DENSITY?
We believe we can succeed because the Poncey-Highland neighborhood has already successfully secured Historic designation. They have done a masterful job of preserving the beauty and history of their neighborhood while allowing for modernization and development appropriate for today and the future.
Read about Poncy-Highlands efforts:
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LANDMARK AND HISTORIC DESIGNATION?
Landmark designation has a higher standard of qualifications that we believe Ansley Park can meet. However upon application the Commission may determine that we instead meet the lesser qualifications of Historic Designation. The regulations are not necessarily stricter for Landmark versus Historic, both are customizable zoning tools.
Here are the qualifications:https://www.atlantaga.gov/government/departments/city-planning/office-of-design/urban-design-commission/designation-criteria
LANDMARK & HISTORIC DISTRICTS IN ATLANTA
These are the existing Landmark and Historic districts in Atlanta. Ansley Park qualifies to stand among them.
(CLICK HERE TO READ MORE/LESS)
Castleberry Hill - Designated: March 16, 2006
Means Street - Designated February 6, 2017
Briarcliff Plaza - Designated November 15, 2017
Pratt-Pullman - Designated November 29, 2017
Inman Park - Designated: April 10, 2002
Oakland City - Designated: November 10, 2004
Atkins Park - Designated: July 5, 2007
Sunset Avenue - Designated: May 25, 2011
Collier Heights - Designated: May 7, 2013
Bonadventure-Somerset: March 13, 2019
Poncy-Highland – Designated: September 8, 2020
These Landmark and Historic district regulations documents can be found in the City of Atlanta municode library - Part 16 Zoning, Chapter 20, the link is below. It is interesting to read through these to see how the historic and landmark designation tool is tailored to meet the unique needs of each neighborhood.
Here are some direct links to these neighborhoods:
WHAT ABOUT PROPERTY VALUES?
Landmark or historic district designation often improves property values because it requires everyone to maintain the character of the neighborhood and gives some certainty that new construction or renovation will be respectful of the existing character of the community and its architecture. Properties in landmark and historic districts tend to appreciate more and hold value better than identical properties not in such a district. They usually do move with the market without experiencing the peaks that come with speculation nor do they bottom out during a down-turn. Of course, nothing is guaranteed. (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE/LESS)Some links:
HOW DOES PRESERVATION PROMOTE SUSTAINABILITY?
The Preservation Green Lab of the National Trust for Historic Preservation has reported that reusing existing buildings is good for the economy, the community and the environment . (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE/LESS)
Read their full report here:
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ANSLEY PARK’S RICH HISTORY OF COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND CELEBRATED PLANNING
ANSLEY PARK HISTORIC TIMELINE
1904 – Edwin P. Ansley developed 275 acres into a residential neighborhood over four phases (1904-1913). He hires landscape architect Salon Z. Ruff to create the layout of curvilinear streets, 14 parks and expanses of lush green space based on the principles of Frederick Law Olmstead, who designed New York’s Central Park. (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE/LESS)
1915 – Ansley Park Social Club is formed; this will become the Ansley Park Civic Club, then the Ansley Park Civic Association.
1934 – Ansley Park’s lots are completely platted with a wide range of eclectic and period architectural styles.
1944-1950’s – Atlanta and Ansley Park face a major housing shortage as people move into cities after the war. Many of the bigger, residential homes are illegally split into boarding houses and bordellos. Many of the homes fall into disrepair and the banks will not make loans to improve the homes.
1950’s - In response to imminent urban blight, Ansley Park residents become activists to improve neighborhood character and integrity.
1956 – The city passes its first zoning ordinance since 1929, which expands subdivisions of classifications to specify use and bulk regulations.
1964 – The Ansley Park Civic Club becomes the Ansley Park Civic Association
1964- Local bank, Citizens & Southern (C&S), has concerns about the fate of Ansley Park and the potential for default on the loans they had put up in the neighborhood. They meet with APCA president and offer to put up $1000 toward development of a revitalization plan for Ansley Park.
1964 – Ansley Park Civic Association hires planner and neighbor Leon Eplan of Eric Hill Associates to draft the neighborhood plan to preserve and defend the neighborhood character. This will be the first neighborhood plan in the United States. The plan identifies Ansley Park as a neighborhood by defining its boundaries and it showed consensus among the residents to promote the collective goals of the neighborhood.
1964 - C&S Bank began to give loans based on the appraised value of houses after proposed improvements. This unique banking practice, along with the neighborhood plan and the city’s revised zoning ordinance, helped save Ansley Park from decline and ultimate demise.
1960’s-70’s – APCA turned out hundreds of residents, the so-called “little ol’ ladies in tennis shoes”, at numerous city zoning hearings to defend the plan and enforce the zoning code and keep out encroaching commercial development.
1968 - Ansley Park residents commit to city living and adopt a statement welcoming all to live in the neighborhood. This was in honor of the 1964 Civil Rights Act making it illegal to deny anyone the right to buy, rent or sell housing on the basis of race, color, religion or national origin. In doing this AP bucked the trend of urban flight and took a stand against racism.
1974 – Public housing comes to Ansley Park.
1979 – Ansley Park added to the National Registry of Historic Places with its diverse architecture including Colonial Revival, Neoclassical Revival, English Vernacular Revival (Tudor), Mission/Spanish Revival, French Vernacular Revival, Craftsman, Craftsman Bungalow, American Small House and Gable Winged Cottages, etc. The neighborhood represents an intact example of a 20th century suburb.
1982 – The City of Atlanta introduces RG, Residential General zoning classifications. The purpose is to: provide a range of residential densities, provide supporting facilities by special permit, encourage PRESERVATION of large dwellings by allowing CONVERSION to 2-family and multi-family dwellings. At this point, it is believed that some homes around the perimeter of the neighborhood were changed to RG-3 Zoning.
1982 – The Beautification Foundation is created as a 501c3 whose mission is to preserve and maintain the parks, greenspaces, and islands in the neighborhood. Igneous rock was used to create permanent markers at all the entry ways.
1989 – Comprehensive Atlanta Historic Preservation Act is passed
1991 – Ansley Park votes down Historic Designation with 55% for, 45% against.
2008-2011 – The development of Atlantic Station allows APCA to secure 3.8m from government agencies to implement traffic a calming initiative that resulted, among other things, in three round-abouts.
2011 – The American Planning Association designates Ansley Park as one of “10 Great Neighborhoods in America”.
2014 – Ansley Park History & Preservation committee is created. Its mission is to remind residents of the historic nature of our area and encourage residents to preserve and protect the landscape and the individual identities of homes and apartments.
2015 – Ansley Park’s amended application to include Beverly Road is approved for the National Registry of Historic Places.
2021 - Atlanta is one of the fastest growing large cities in the US. Even a pandemic has not slowed construction in Atlanta. Ansley Park has become some of the most desirable real estate in the city. It is in Midtown, close to major highways and public transportation, situated between Piedmont Park, with the glorious Botanical Gardens to the east and Arts Center, with the renown High Museum, Symphony Hall and the Alliance Theater, to the west. As a result, every house that goes on the market is a target for demolition to make room for a bigger house or an apartment building.
THE ANSLEY PARK NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN - THE FIRST NEIGHBORHOOD PLAN IN THE U.S.
This was a revolutionary idea for the time that paved the way for neighborhood plans in Atlanta and all over the United States. It defined the boundaries of a neighborhood and gave it a name, creating a stronger sense of community among residents. The plan represented consensus among the residents allowing them to use it to promote their collective goals. (CLICK HERE TO READ MORE/LESS)
While Ansley Park now faces a different set of problems than the neglected houses and the fear of blight in the 1960’s and 1970’s, both then and now the issue of adapting to the growth of the city remains relevant.
Some excerpts from the plan: (1973)
Ansley Park contains the best elements for urban design, they were built into the design and have been preserved:
- Good subdivision design
- Abundant open space
- Good community facilities
- Sound housing
Distinct boundaries were established:
North – by the Southern Railroad and Sherwood Forest
East – by the Southern Railroad and Piedmont Avenue
South – by the rear lot lines of the properties facing and on the north side of 14th Street
West – by the rear lot lines of properties facing and on the east side of Peachtree.
The issues: the city was growing around Ansley Park yet many of its houses had fallen into disrepair. The community did not want blight to take a foothold, threatening the stability of the neighborhood and distracting from the physical appearance of the neighborhood. Commercial development was encroaching along Peachtree, there was pressure for higher residential densities, more through traffic and excessive on-street parking.
Proposed Solutions (in 1973):
Many of these issues were addressed by new zoning codes put into place in 1982. Today Ansley Park, while primarily single-family residential, does have a variety of housing types with apartments, town homes, duplexes and public housing. One question to address today is how to adapt to increased demand for density without losing more of the single-family houses that contribute to the character of the neighborhood? How do we keep the spacious feel and unique streetscape in-tact?
Link to video of Leon Eplan:
Link to APCA Presents “An Evening with Leon Eplan and Tom Branch”https://vimeo.com/15067550
SOME NOTED ARCHITECTS WHOSE WORK IS IN ANSLEY PARK
The survey results showed many residents are concerned about the rising crime rate in Atlanta. The Ansley Park Security Committee has an update on their continued vigilance keeping our neighborhood safe and some things you can do right now to help.
Thank you for your security comments and suggestions on the Ansley Park Forever survey.
We realize that crime has increased because APD is understaffed, but they are working hard to increase their ranks and to bring crime down to the low levels of the past. Particularly during this time Ansley Park is extremely fortunate to have 10 excellent officers working for us in the Security Patrol, led by Lt. Nick Parete.
Since its inception in 1983, the Security Committee has been focused on paying our officers at the top of the scale so that we are competitive with other neighborhoods and able to attract the top APD officers. We also have many incentives , such as bonuses, honoring our Officer of the Year, placing signs throughout the community to recognize the officers, and dinners with the Security Committee at Mary Mac's four times a year. This has helped keep our attrition very low. We are currently operating 16 four hour shifts each week and added the 16th shift this year because the residents contributed enough money to fund it.
Our biggest crime is car break-ins, and we always encourage our residents to leave nothing in their cars. Unfortunately, many car break-ins occur on the streets where visitors frequently park, and they have many things in their cars that attract perpetrators. We also have excellent Block Captains as another layer of protection, 7 license readers at the entrances to the neighborhood. And we encourage everyone to be vigilant of their surroundings and report any suspicious person or activity to 911, our Security Patrol and to the Block Captains.
Please keep up with our crime in the E-NEWS and the Ansleyphile. From January-March 2021 we have had:
1 Car Break-in
compared to the total of 103 crimes in our Beat, Beat 502.
Our officers do give some speeding and parking tickets. However, most parking tickets in Ansley Park are issued by Atlanta Plus. Some of the major streets require radar in order to issue tickets and our officers are not equipped with radar. Several times a year we ask APD to provide officers to come to Ansley Park and set up radar on these streets and issue tickets.
IF you are not an APCA Security Patrol member you can Sign up for ENews Security Alerts HERE