An Ordinance Intended to Increase Housing Affordability Options in Atlanta Permanently Halted

Without much discussion, the Zoning Committee voted to file the ordinance, which included inclusive housing policies.
Source: Official
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An ordinance introduced by Councilmember Amir Farokhi to amend current codes, which would encourage diversity in housing options and an increase in housing affordability, was shut down during a recent Committee Meeting.

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The ordinance, widely criticized by Atlanta’s NPU’s but received favorable recommendations from City Planners and with the Zoning Review Board, was “filed” on a 5 to 1 vote during the Atlanta Zoning Committee meeting on November 29th effectively eliminating all opportunities for the Ordinance to proceed towards adoption.

As reported last month by What Now Atlanta, the ordinance included policies to create more affordable housing, lower housing production costs, reduce car dependency, and create more housing options at various house points throughout the City. In particular, the ordinance amendments included:

  • Promote affordable housing near transit by designating MR-MU zoning classification as 1-4 housing units by right and creating a tiered density bonus. The bonus allows for up to eight units if one unit is affordable and up to twelve units if two units are affordable.
  • Remove residential parking minimums in all residential zoning districts except R1-R3 districts.
  • Create more flexible options for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) including increasing height limitations, over garages and in R4B districts.

In a Tweet published after the meeting, Farokhi stated, “Today, City Council’s Zoning Cmte chose exclusion over inclusion. Rather than “hold” legislation to eliminate parking min. & allow attached ADUs, they moved, over my objection to “file” – killing the current bill. There was no discussion on the merits or our housing shortage.”

He went on to further say, “In our City, we need more housing at all price points & in different sizes. More houses, townhomes, apartments/condos, ADUs, quadplexes, etc. None of that is incompatible w/ neighborhood beauty, character, or trees. It’s part of being a mature, thriving city. The challenges we face on housing & affordability will remain. So will the opportunity to improve our zoning to help Atlanta remain special and welcoming. I look forward to continuing to work on these issues in 2022. Hope you’ll join me.”

Farokhi concluded his statements on Twitter by praising City Planners for their work on the ordinance.

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Dr. Anita Archambeau

Anita Archambeau, DPA AICP, is a freelance writer, adjunct professor, and consulting urban planner. She has over 25 years of community and economic development experience in local government. When she’s not working, you can find her exploring local craft breweries, walking her two beagles, or traveling to visit her adult children living in New York City and Minneapolis.

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  1. The proposal was not the most efficient way to attain the councilman’s desired outcome. There are plenty of undeveloped lots surrounding many MARTA stations (Midtown, Arts Center among them). He should figure out a way to incentivize (carrot or stick) development of the empty, currently-zoned high density lots before there is a massive upending of single family neighborhoods.

    1. Cities like San Diego, Denver, Chicago have zoning regs like this and they work. This was tiny brain Atlanta again not being able to see outside the box of individuals needs not the whole. This city is no longer the progressive south…. Just a city that wants more pockets lined.

  2. How does he support this yet also supported the proliferation of Air B’nB’s, further reducing long term housing supply and pushing up rents? My neighborhood has a ton of purple built short term rentals essentially creating a hotel district.

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