Julie Brow appointed to Atlanta Urban Design Commission at Atlanta Fines Homes Sotheby's International Realty

Posted by David Boehmig — September 23, 2015

1443026070ALTANTA, GA - Julie Brow has been a successful REALTOR® in Atlanta for more than 11 years and is an agent in our Intown Office. Julie was recently appointed to serve a three-year term on the Atlanta Urban Design Commission as one of 11 commissioners in the capacity of a real estate professional.1443026050

We sat down with Julie to discover more about her appointed role with the commission.

What is the purpose of the Atlanta Urban Design Commission (UDC)?

The purpose of the commission is to help the city regulate residents, builders/architects, private and public corporations who wish to make changes on historic homes and buildings in the City of Atlanta by voting as a committee whether each individual neighborhood’s regulations shall be upheld according to what each individual dwelling’s neighborhood requires.

Who serves on the Commission?

The Commission consists of 11 members who are all residents of the City of Atlanta, appointed by the Mayor, City Council, and Council President who normally serve a three-year term. The Commission is required to be composed of two architects, a landscape architect, lawyer, land developer, real estate professional, historic preservationist, artist, historian, neighborhood representative and an urban planner.

What unique background do you bring to the role you play?

In addition to the experience I have in real estate, I have also lived in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood for eight years. I am passionate about historic preservation. My husband and I renovated, restored our home in Virginia-Highland. It felt really good to preserve as much of the original home possible.

What is the greatest challenge to your work here?

So far my greatest challenge is familiarizing myself with each individual neighborhood district’s regulations. There are 18 designated historic neighborhoods and each has its own separate set of guidelines.

What have you enjoyed the most?

It has also been really enjoyable so far to serve on a Commission that has the ability to make a positive difference in preserving the city’s rich history. I am discovering so many new things about Atlanta!

What is your favorite historical neighborhood in Atlanta?

My favorite historic neighborhood in Atlanta is Inman Park. Grant Park and West End follow close!

Atlanta is constantly changing, urbanizing, modernizing, do we continue to have a strong desire to restore the history that comes with this property? Have you seen attitudes shift or change?

I love that Atlanta continues to change and urbanize. I’ve certainly seen a lot of changes since moving here in 1996. While I am a proponent of historic restoration and preservation, I know and respect that many people do not favor the kind of land use regulation that is necessary to promote historic preservation. Virginia-Highland is a good example of where the debate on this issue is lively. Many residents believe there are too many homes being torn down and replaced with new construction and would like to see limits imposed. Others are attracted to the neighborhood precisely because it does not have a historic designation and you can build what you want – large modern, Craftsman or Tudor-style homes. Property values in neighborhoods like Morningside, Virginia-Highland, Midtown and Candler Park are at an all-time high, with some tear-down homes starting at $500,000.

How does the work the Urban Design Commission differ in scope from the local neighborhood Planning Units (NPUs) utilized by the City of Atlanta? Do these two entities work together in some instances?

The Urban Design Commission (UDC) differs from the Neighborhood Planning Units (NPU) in that the UDC helps to regulate guidelines set forth by each individual neighborhood’s historic overlay or designation, while the NPU consists of 25 neighborhood units that are essentially citizen advisory councils who make recommendations to the Mayor and City Council on zoning, land use and other planning issues.

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