Town hall scheduled for controversial historic district expansio - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Town hall scheduled for controversial historic district expansion

Residents in the Rawson Circle neighborhood are split on the issue. (Source: WALB) Residents in the Rawson Circle neighborhood are split on the issue. (Source: WALB)
Some are against the historic district expansion. (Source: WALB) Some are against the historic district expansion. (Source: WALB)
Hundreds of home and property owners would be impacted by the expansion. (Source: WALB) Hundreds of home and property owners would be impacted by the expansion. (Source: WALB)
Anne Mitchell (Source: WALB) Anne Mitchell (Source: WALB)
Jackson Murphy (Source: WALB) Jackson Murphy (Source: WALB)
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

Controversy is brewing in some of Albany's oldest neighborhoods as city leaders consider a proposal to expand Albany's historic district.

The proposal would expand the local historic district to include more homes just outside Rawson Circle, impacting hundreds of home and property owners. The designation would require historic preservation design reviews for new construction, demolition or major renovations.

WALB News 10 spoke to proponents of the expansion who said it could protect and increase the property values of their homes. One resident said the historic district designation would prevent businesses and landlords from disrupting the cohesiveness of the city's historic neighborhood by making changes to buildings.

"We could be assured to some degree that our investment is appreciated and that it is maintained to a certain distinction," said Anne Mitchell.

Others are worried the plan is designed to push some people out to bring others in. One landlord voiced concerns that the design guidelines would become too stringent, which could be a financial and time consuming burden from some residents. 

"We feel like it's an infringement of these other folks rights and their property rights and its going to be a burden on them to go through with this and make this massive expansion and run it through our throats here," said Jackson Murphy.

Ward II Commissioner Bobby Coleman is inviting residents to discuss the expansion and ask questions at a town hall meeting on Thursday. It starts at 7 at the law enforcement center on West Oglethorpe Boulevard.

The proposal will be presented to the city commission on April 25.

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