Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society applauds the recent action of the City Council to designate a portion of Kennesaw Avenue as a historic district under the city’s Historic Preservation Ordinance. The action ratifies the work of the Marietta Historic Preservation Commission, which was established by the Council to identify areas worthy of such designation and to draft rules to implement the process.
Designation of this group of historic homes, following a homeowners’ vote on the measure with a 71 percent approval rate, provides important protections for these houses that reflect Marietta’s rich history of residential construction. As written in the city’s ordinance, the protection of the structures comes with balance for the rights of property owners. On the one hand, in the designated district certain material changes visible from the street will require a “certificate of appropriateness” from the HPC before the changes can be made to the property. On the other hand, two neighborhood representatives become members of the HPC for consideration of proposed changes covered by the ordinance, and an appeal to the City Council is ultimately available. So the process balances the rights of property owners with the value to the neighborhood and the city of protecting historic structures from inappropriate architectural changes.
Marietta is fortunate to have many historic houses in five neighborhoods listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register designation, however, does not provide protection for the houses, making the historic preservation ordinance and historic district designation the only way to ensure the historic feel of these neighborhoods is maintained. Cobb Landmarks congratulates the City Council and the HPC on this important step. These protections work smoothly and effectively in many other cities that value their history and want to encourage heritage tourism.
We look forward to successful implementation on Kennesaw Avenue, and we encourage the city and homeowners alike to expand these protections to other historic neighborhoods in Marietta.
Stewart and JoAnn Campbell
Co-chairs of the Board
Cobb Landmarks and Historical Society