The Marietta Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is continuing its efforts to designate a Forest Hills local historic district, and it has recently received City Council approval to begin the study process for a Church-Cherokee-Freyer-Seminole district.
Each project requires extensive research about the neighborhoods, drafting and approval of design guidelines, several public hearings and City Council approvals, and a neighborhood property owner vote. A 60% affirmative vote is required to designate a district.
The Forest Hills study area principally includes Forest and North Forest Avenues and Vance Circle, and it also includes the historic Cole house that faces the 120 Loop. The study area currently includes about 50 houses, and the next step for the HPC is to delineate the boundaries of the area that will be included in the property owner vote.
The Church-Cherokee study area is larger, beginning with about 120 houses. On August 12 the City Council approved the HPC’s request to begin the project, following homeowner requests that were in part related to potential development of the Ivy Grove estate on Cherokee Street. The fact that, under present rules, the Ivy Grove mansion could be demolished without any reviews or approvals was an eye-opener for many neighbors.
A local historic district would require HPC and City Council approval before demolition of a historic house, and it would also require HPC review of architectural plans before new construction could begin.
HPC Chair David Freedman estimates the process will take at least six to eight months to complete. Educating homeowners about the protections afforded by a local historic district is scheduled to begin in early September. The homeowner vote, which will be run by the City staff, will likely be held early next year.
If approved by homeowners and the City Council, these historic districts would join the Kennesaw Avenue district in protecting the integrity of Marietta’s historic neighborhoods.
Written by Chris Brown
Cobb Landmarks & Historical Society