Historic Preservation and Land Use
The Cabbagetown Neighborhood Improvement Association’s Historic Preservation and Land Use Committee is an important partner in community redevelopment issues. We take an active role in reviewing all development proposals for Cabbagetown. If applicants have not done so on their own, the Atlanta Urban Design Commission (UDC) directs them to contact the Historic Preservation and Land Use Committee to ensure community input into design reviews.
In addition to reviewing all applications for Certificates of Appropriateness in Cabbagetown, the Historic Preservation and Land Use Committee acts as a resource for all property owners, builders, developers, real estate professionals and others interested in renovation and redevelopment in the neighborhood. We are happy to answer questions and provide guidance with regard to the UDC process. We are also actively engaged in a number of forward-looking activities intended to improve the quality of life in Cabbagetown and to represent the neighborhood’s interests with regard to land use issues. This includes engagement with the Atlanta City Council, Atlanta Beltline, Inc. and the Office of Planning.
Please note that all Certificate of Appropriateness applications must be reviewed at both a Historic Preservation and Land Use Committee meeting and subsequently at a Cabbagetown Neighborhood Improvement Association (CNIA) meeting. Historic Preservation and Land use Committee members will vote to recommend or deny support of the proposal; no matter the vote, all applications can be moved forward to the CNIA for a final vote. Once reviewed at a CNIA meeting, members present at the CNIA meeting will vote on whether or not to support the application. The CNIA will submit a letter of support to the UDC for all projects that receive a vote of support. By default, the CNIA will submit a letter recommending denial of any Certificate of Appropriateness application that has not been reviewed by both the Historic Preservation and Land Use Committee and the CNIA.
Meetings and Contact Information
Historic Preservation and Land Use Committee meetings take place on the THIRD MONDAY of each month at 7:00pm in the Cabbagetown Community Center. Meetings are open and agendas are published in advance of meetings on the CNIA yahoo discussion group and the Cabbagetown Nextdoor website. To ask to be put on the agenda for a particular meeting, please contact the committee via email (see below). In order to have the committee review and vote on a particular UDC application, the relevant materials (drawings, photographs, UDC application etc.) must be submitted to the Committee one week prior to a given meeting so that the members of the committee have sufficient time to review the materials. Materials not submitted in advance can be reviewed and discussed for general feedback, but no votes will be taken.
Please note that Historic Preservation and Land Use Committee meetings, CNIA Meetings and Atlanta Urban Design Commission meetings all follow different schedules. It is important for all Certificate of Appropriateness applicants to review the calendar carefully in order to coordinate their project schedule with the UDC and neighborhood review process.
CNIA Historic Preservation/Land Use Committee Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sample Meeting Process
Applicant contacts UDC regarding a Certificate of Appropriateness Application.
Applicant completes application and contacts the Historic Preservation and Land Use Committee to have their application reviewed at the next Committee meeting.
Applicant attends the Committee meeting and the Committee votes to recommend or not to recommend support.
Applicant attends the next CNIA meeting (usually, the Tuesday after a Historic Preservation and Land Use Meeting) and presents the application. Historic Preservation and Land Use Committee designee shares the Committee’s recommendation. CNIA members vote to support or not support the application.
Applicant attends their UDC Hearing and their application for a Certificate of Appropriateness is either approved, denied or deferred.
June 18: Certificate of Appropriateness application submission deadline for July 10 UDC hearing.
June 24: deadline to submit application materials to the Historic Preservation and Land Use Committee for review and vote at the July 1 Committee meeting.
June 25: posting deadline for Type III, IV & Variance sign posting.
July 1: attend Cabbagetown Historic Preservation and Land Use Committee meeting.
July 3: deadline for Type II sign posting.
July 9: attend Cabbagetown Neighborhood Improvement Association meeting.
July 10: attend UDC hearing.
Filing A Complaint
Complaints regarding violations of Cabbagetown’s Landmark District regulations may be submitted to the City of Atlanta in two ways:
1. Use the City of Atlanta’s Citizen Gateway. After registering for an account, you will be taken to a page which includes a link to “Create an Application/Complaint” under the “Building” heading at the center of the page. Here you can submit a complaint to the city for review by code enforcement.
2. If you are uncomfortable submitting a complaint directly, you may contact the Historic Preservation and Land Use Committee instead. The Committee will review the complaint. Provided a minimum of three Committee members find merit in the complaint, the Committee will submit a complaint on behalf of the neighborhood. All complaint submissions to the committee will be kept confidential.
Past, Present, Future:
A Summary of Cabbagetown’s Landmark District Regulations
Background Information for Property Owners, Builders, Developers, Real Estate Professionals, and Others Interested in Renovation & Redeveloping Atlanta’s Cabbagetown Neighborhood.
History & Background
Cabbagetown, Atlanta’s oldest industrial settlement, was first developed in 1885 as a village to provide housing for workers at the Fulton Cotton Bag Mill. In 1979, the neighborhood was the first to be designated a Landmark District by the City of Atlanta. Since that time, all development in Cabbagetown has been regulated by the Atlanta Urban Design Commission (UDC), the agency that oversees all historic areas in the city.
When they were first created, the Cabbagetown Landmark District regulations provided relatively little information for rehabilitation, renovation, or new construction in the community. In 2001, the Cabbagetown Neighborhood Improvement Association led the effort to update the regulations to better guide the development of the neighborhood for the future. After a lengthy process that included input from many neighborhood residents, architects, historic preservation specialists, attorneys, and lawmakers, the “new” regulations were signed into law in March 2003 by Mayor Shirley Franklin.
A Mix of Homes & Shops
Within its boundaries, Cabbagetown has always had a mix of residential and commercial structures. In the early days of the neighborhood, this mixture provided the goods and services needed by residents who did not have transportation. Today, living in a “walkable village” is among the most highly valued aspects of life for Cabbagetown residents. Most of the current commercial structures in the neighborhood are located along Carroll Street and Memorial Drive, although a few additional spots still exist on other streets. The new landmark district regulations seek to support the neighborhood’s commercial developments while also providing attractive and safe residential areas nearby. To foster the development of goods and services that are likely to be used by Cabbagetown residents, moderate sized bakeries, laundries, restaurants, taverns, barber and beauty shops, other retail shops and galleries, offices, and studios are permitted within Cabbagetown’s commercial areas. And to encourage pedestrian access, new sidewalks along Memorial Drive must be at least 15 feet wide to allow for street trees, street lighting, trash receptacles, etc., and still leave plenty of room for walking.
To ensure Cabbagetown’s residential areas remain pleasant places to live, the regulations prohibit commercial uses that produce noise or dust or otherwise disrupt residential living. Commercial structures must also have landscape buffers and opaque fencing. And the height of new commercial buildings is limited to 28 feet if located within 50 feet of a residential boundary; dumpsters must be at least 30 feet away. Also, any commercial exterior lighting must limit light spillage onto residential areas. The changes to Cabbagetown’s Landmark District regulations were a community-driven effort, designed to suit the needs of the neighborhood. Additional information and contacts are available below.
What’s Governed by the Regulations?
The design of most exterior elements of structures and how structures are used are governed by Cabbagetown’s landmark district regulations. This includes the overall exterior design of any structure, as well as exterior siding, chimneys, windows, dormers, exterior doors & trim, foundations, garages/carports, setbacks, skylights, fencing, driveways, sidewalks, and curbing. In general, any new construction and renovations should closely resemble existing historic structures on the block face. Paint color is not covered in the regulations, nor are “like repairs” that match an existing historic item in size, material, placement, etc. Depending on the type of work being proposed, some applications can be reviewed by AUDC staff (Type I and Type II Staff Review); other types of applications require a public hearing (Type II, III, IV). Please be aware that failure to secure proper approval from the UDC for exterior changes to any structure in Cabbagetown is a violation of Atlanta’s Land Development Code and subject to penalties.
Balancing History with Modern Needs
Perhaps the most difficult aspect of revising the landmark district regulations was balancing the desire to preserve the history of the neighborhood with residents’ need to live and work here in the 21st century. Some residents place top priority on preserving all things historic; others believe any regulations should make way for current technologies and standards of living. As neighbors we agreed that Cabbagetown’s history was one of evolution — the neighborhood has changed significantly over time to meet the needs of its residents — but the basic architecture and land use patterns have remained constant. We also agreed that some key elements contribute to the close-knit feeling of the neighborhood. For example, front porches foster interaction among neighbors, and are therefore required on all residences. Modest-sized housing also encourages people to gather communally; to encourage this in the future, new homes are limited in square footage to 50% of the lot size. Commercial structures and related service areas cannot cover more than 80% of the lot where they are located to help ensure a reasonable scale for commercial buildings. Also, satellite dishes are permitted, but they must be placed out of public view.
Squeezing Cars into Cabbagetown
Because it was developed prior to the advent of the automobile, the original design of Cabbagetown did not include space for cars. Our streets are narrow and sometimes twisty; parking can be extremely limited. The new landmark district regulations seek to balance the need for parking with our interest in fostering neighborhood development. The result: existing structures are not required to provide off-street parking, but any new structure (both residential and commercial) or any change in the use of an existing structure requires off-street parking be provided by the property owner.
More Contacts and Important Documents
Atlanta Urban Design Commission
The Atlanta Urban Design Commission was established in 1975 to nominate and regulate buildings and districts with particular historic value within the City. Any time work on the exterior of a designated property is proposed, a Certificate of Appropriateness must be obtained from the Commission – as well as the normal building permit – to ensure any changes are in keeping with the historic character of the building or district. Failure to secure UDC approval for exterior changes to any structure in Cabbagetown is a violation of Atlanta’s Land Development Code and subject to penalties.
The Commission meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month at 4:00 pm, in the Council Chambers at City Hall, 55 Trinity Avenue, SW. The public is welcome to attend and is given the opportunity to speak in support of or in opposition to items on the agenda.
Certificate of Appropriateness Applications
Links to Atlanta Code of Ordinances
(Useful Definitions Including “Contributing Structures”)
Atlanta Sign Ordinance
(Referenced in Landmark District Regulations for Subarea 5)
AUDC Contact Information
City of Atlanta Office of Planning, Historic Preservation Planning
55 Trinity Avenue, Suite 3350
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-0331