Having the Collier Heights community be designated as historic was the brainchild of Attorney Antavius M. Weems, who served as President of the community Association during the time. After noticing that newer homes were being built in the community, which detracted from the beauty and character of the homes already there, Weems, along with a dedicated and hardworking Executive Board, sought a way to provide protection to the community, which would also celebrate the incredible accomplishments of the people who called it 'home'. After partnering with Georgia State University's Dr. Richard Laub, who, along with his students assisted in the great effort, on June 23, 2009, Weems' dream became reality, and 'Collier Heights' took on a new identity to become what is now celebrated as 'Historic Collier Heights', when the United States of America designated the community as a National treasurer, and placed it on the National Register of Historic Places--a first for a community of its kind in the history of our beloved Nation. However, this was not the 1st time that Collier Heights had made history. The community has long been known to break barriers and stand out as a beacon of hope for the upper middle-class and affluent African Americans in Atlanta who sought a community that would allow them to live comfortably, while celebrating their heritage. From that quest, Collier Heights was born. Shortly after the Nation recognized what was now known and celebrated as 'Historic Collier Heights', the City of Atlanta followed, by bestowing 'Historic Collier Heights' with the designation of a 'Historic District' within the City of Atlanta on May 7, 2013.
DOES THE HISTORIC DESIGNATION PREVENT ME FROM RENOVATING MY HOUSE?
NO. Our historic designation is not designed to prevent you from enjoying and improving the beauty of your home. You may paint, renovate and improve the interior of your home as you see fit. The Historic designation protects the character of the outside of your home, such as the brick (cannot paint brick), or window type (material is restricted, not design). Our local historic district is generally “overlaid” on the existing zoning classifications in a community. Therefore, a local district commission deals only with the appearance of the district, not with the uses of those properties.
MY NEIGHBOR SAYS THAT ALTHOUGH WE LIVE IN THE HISTORIC DISTRICT, THAT OUR HOMES ARE NOT DESIGNATED AS HISTORIC, SO WE DONT HAVE TO FOLLOW THE RULES. IS THAT TRUE?
NO. A major goal of local historic districts is maintaining the overall character of the area. When the boundaries are drawn for a local historic district, it will sometimes include non-historic properties and even vacant lots. Reviewing proposed changes to non-historic properties as well as historic properties insures that more recent construction will not become more intrusive and hopefully will become less so. If these properties are not included in the district, there is a greater chance that changes to these properties could have a negative impact on the area or on adjoining buildings. For instance, if a multi-story building with a parking lot in front were to be constructed on a vacant lot between two smaller historic homes, it would detract from the neighborhood and lower the value of those homes. The design review process ensures that a new building is compatible with its historic neighbors.
IS THERE REALLY A BENEFIT TO US HAVING THE 'HISTORIC' DESIGNATION?
YES! A historic district that is aesthetically cohesive and well promoted can be a community's most important attraction. The retention of historic areas as a way to attract tourist dollars makes good economic sense. The protection of local historic districts can also enhance business recruitment potential. Companies continually re-locate to communities that offer their workers a higher quality of life, which is greatly enhanced by successful local preservation programs and stable historic districts.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LOCAL AND THE NATIONAL HISTORIC DESIGNATION? AND WHICH DOES 'COLLIER HEIGHTS' HAVE?
You will find the Historic regulations for Collier Heights in Section 16-20Q.001 of the Atlanta City Municipal Code of Ordinances. For your convenience, we have placed it here:
Sec. 16-20Q.001. Statement of intent
The intent of the regulations for the Collier Heights Historic District is: (1) To preserve the integrity of the neighborhood, a mid-20th century suburb created for African-Americans, by African-Americans; (2) To preserve the environment, physical layout, and examples of early and mid-20th century architecture in the district; (3) To encourage and ensure development compatible with the existing character of the district; (4) To ensure that new development using contemporary design and materials is compatible with and sensitive to the character of the district; (5) To preserve the residential character of the district; (6) To prevent the encroachment of commercial areas into the residential areas; and (7) To encourage economic development, neighborhood revitalization, and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the district’s residents.
Sec. 16-20Q.002. Scope of regulations.
(1) Any existing zoning regulations will remain in effect. The proposed Collier Heights Historic District regulations are added to and overlaid upon the existing zoning regulations. (2) All other government rules and regulations still apply. Any differences or conflicts between other zoning and development regulations and the proposed Collier Heights Historic District regulations shall be decided by the “interpretation provision” in the City of Atlanta’s Zoning Ordinance.
Sec. 16-20Q.005. General regulations.
The following general regulations apply to the Collier Heights Historic District. (1) The Urban Design Commission shall apply general historic preservation standards if the other regulations in the Collier Heights Historic District don’t apply to the proposed project, including changes to any multifamily residential, institutional, commercial and mixed use property. (2.)Certificates of Appropriateness are required as follows: Work that does not require a building permit does not require a certificate of appropriateness. Ordinary repairs and maintenance do not require a certificate of appropriateness. The following work does require a certificate of appropriateness: - To alter the front or side facades and front and side roof planes of a structure; - To build a new structure; - To make an addition to any structure; - To demolish or move any contributing structure, in whole or in part; - To request a variance or special exception from the Historic District regulations; and - To subdivide or consolidate property. The Staff of the Urban Design Commission would review the following types of projects: - fences, walls, and retaining walls; - rear or side decks, patios, and terraces; - skylights, solar panels and other energy generating devices, mechanical and communication equipment; - new accessory structures and alterations to existing accessory structures; - shutters and awnings; - replacement of non-original, non-historic or missing elements with elements that otherwise meet the regulations, including but not limited to siding, windows, porch railings, porch columns, porch flooring and exterior doors, - replacement or renovation of the following original or historic elements with elements that otherwise meet the regulations, (porch elements, siding and exterior doors); and - paving. At a public hearing, the Urban Design Commission would review the following types of projects: - Alterations to the front or side facades and front and side roof planes of a principal structure note covered above; - All site work not covered above; - All new principal structures; - Additions to principal structures or portions thereof that are visible from a public street; - Subdivisions and consolidations; - Variances or special exceptions from this part; and - Demolition or moving of any contributing principal structure. (3) The Compatibility Rule: In general, the intent of the regulations and guidelines is to ensure that alterations to existing structures and new construction are compatible with the design, proportions, scale, massing, and general character of the contributing buildings in the Page 3 of 4 immediately adjacent environment of the block face, the entire block, a particular subarea (including appropriate reference to subarea style) or the district as a whole. To permit flexibility, many regulations are made subject to the compatibility rule, which states: "The element in question (i.e. roof form, architectural trim, façade material, window type and material, etc.) shall match that which predominates on the contributing buildings of the same architectural style and like use on that block face or, where quantifiable (i.e., buildings height, setbacks, lot dimensions, etc.), no smaller than the smallest or larger than the largest such dimension of the contributing buildings of the same architectural style and like use on that block face." (4) Variances and special exceptions (5) Financial Hardship Exemptions (6) Subdivision and Consolidation: The platting pattern of the District is an integral part of the historic character of the District. No subdivision or consolidation shall be approved unless it can be shown that the proposed subdivision or consolidation is substantially consistent with the historic character of the District.
Sec. 16-20Q.006. Specific regulations.
In addition to the general regulations above, the following regulations also apply to all properties in the District: (1) Building Facades and Massing: Building orientation Front, side and rear yard setbacks building facade materials height of all new construction and additions form and pitch of the primary roof of the principal structure the design, size, scale, massing and width of new construction and additions height of the first floor above the grade at the front facade building materials and design elements, if visible from a public street or park (2) Windows and Doors (3) Storm Doors, Storm Windows, Security Doors and Window Treatments, Shutters and Awnings (4) Foundations (5) Chimneys (6) Roofs and Roof Features (7) Skylights (8) Solar panels (9) Decks, Patios and Terraces (10) Porches and Stoops (11) Attached Garages and Carports (12) Accessory Structures (13) Freestanding mailboxes and mailbox structures (14) Trees and Grading (15) Paved SurfacesOff-Street Parking Requirements (16) Fences and Walls (17) Retaining Walls (18) Ornamentation (19) Public Sidewalks and Planting Strips Page 4 of 4 (20) Design Standards and Criteria for Alterations and Additions to Non-contributing Structures. Alterations to non-contributing structures that need a certificate of appropriateness shall be consistent with and reinforce the architectural character of the existing structure or shall comply with the applicable district regulations. (21) Design Criteria for Alterations and Additions to Contributing Structures. Alterations and additions to contributing structures that need a certificate of appropriateness shall meet one of the following: Alterations and additions shall be consistent with and reinforce the historic architectural character of the entire existing contributing structure and shall comply with the applicable district regulations; or New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction will not destroy historic materials that characterize the property. The new work may differentiate from the old. To protect the historic integrity of the property and its environment, any new work will be compatible with the massing, size, scale and architectural features of the property and environment.
Historic Collier Heights
Atlanta, Georgia 30318
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Stay tuned for details on Historic Collier Heights' King Day 2023 celebration as we honor those who we call 'neighbor', but others call National Treasures!