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preservation status debated in Decatur

Paul Donsky has an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on the seemingly endless conflict between preservationists and those who fear that historic status will restrict their ability to alter their own property:

Residents in the Oakhurst section of Decatur are proud of the tidy bungalows that line the neighborhood's streets.

Run-down homes, many dating to the early 20th century, have been painstakingly restored, preserving the clean lines and sturdy porches that typify the Craftsman bungalow style.

Some residents say the modest, boxy houses are such an integral part of the neighborhood's character that they must be protected, particularly at a time when "teardowns" and "McMansions" have become part of the real estate lexicon.

Now, three residents have filed papers asking Decatur's Historic Preservation Commission to make part of Oakhurst a historic district, which would prevent most of the older homes in the area from being knocked down. Several old homes have already been bulldozed, they say, and many others are at risk.

But others in the neighborhood say the protection would come at too high a price. They worry that new rules might prevent them from expanding their homes as their families grow, and they grouse about the prospect of having to get approval for run-of-the-mill home improvement projects.

read the entire article

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