Metro Atlanta Cities Weigh Zoning Changes

The southern city’s growth is prompting questions about how to increase the housing supply, maintain affordability, and accommodate new residents.

2 minute read

April 11, 2023, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

The debate between those who want to preserve single-family zoning and housing advocates who say increases in density are necessary to make housing affordable is heating up in cities and non-urban areas around the country as the housing crisis spreads. As Sean Keenan reports in Atlanta Civic Circle, Atlanta is no different. 

In metropolitan Atlanta, “NIMBY” groups concerned about ‘neighborhood character’ and the negative impacts of density increases are finding themselves in conflict with growth advocates who say increasing density is the only way to keep housing affordable for all income levels.

According to Abundant Housing Atlanta co-founder Alison Grady, “Atlanta is becoming more and more unaffordable, in large part due to the outdated zoning code that encourages suburban sprawl and huge homes on huge properties and discourages—or outright bans—more affordable options, such as tiny homes, duplexes, and small apartment and condo buildings.” Now, cities in the Atlanta metro are rewriting decades-old zoning codes to accommodate more growth and create more affordable housing for a growing population. “If Atlanta, Clarkston, and other metro-area cities truly want to make intown living attainable for lower-income residents—and ‘mitigate some of the negative social and environmental impacts of urban sprawl’—upzoning should be part of the equation,” says Sonia Hirt, a planning scholar from the University of Georgia. Atlanta itself is undergoing a revision of its zoning code, scheduled for completion in summer 2024, while other local cities are loosening regulations on ADUs and other ‘missing middle housing.’

Friday, April 7, 2023 in Atlanta Civic Circle

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