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Published on January 19th, 2016 |

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Council president: zoning code should require affordable housing

The City of Atlanta should consider requiring multifamily developers to include some affordable housing units in new projects by amending the zoning code, City Council President Ceasar Mitchell told Bisnow online real estate new service.

Caesar Mitchell

Caesar Mitchell

That’s one idea Mitchell has for the future. While the city’s streak for attracting jobs has been impressive during 2015, Mitchell told Bisnow the “constant thread” that keeps coming up in discussions is affordable housing.

“I think affordable housing policy is going to be critical to our future,” Mitchell said, both to attract workforce residents and businesses. Since the recession, he said Atlanta has “gotten behind the eight-ball” in terms of addressing a growing disparity of rents and average salaries.

Mitchell told Bisnow the city does have tools to encourage affordable developments—tax abatement or direct lending—but he would like to see inclusive zoning policies in the coming rewrite of the city’s zoning ordinance, which would require a certain number of affordable units for every new development.

Now that many people are moving into the city—many of them Millennials—thanks to a robust multifamily housing market, Mitchell told Bisnow the question will be how the city encourages them to mature in the city without heading back to the suburbs once they marry and start families.

Mitchell said that will heighten the importance of two issues for city council: public safety and better schools. “Even though City Council doesn’t have any direct control over education, it’s going to be extremely important that we partner” with the Atlanta school board.

Mitchell was one of the panel members for Bisnow’s Jan. 19 morning forum on the “Atlanta 2016 Forecast” at the W Midtown hotel. Click here for the article.

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    2 Responses to Council president: zoning code should require affordable housing

    1. Kelley says:

      Free markets should be open to operate without government intervening. With all of the apartments and condos being built in Buckhead, I would want developers to be able to continue the “high end” development without having to have government-mandated housing included. There actually is affordable housing to be found in Buckhead and the surrounding areas (Midtown, Sandy Springs) if one looks; it doesn’t take the government to do this, just common sense and some good research!

    2. Jason says:

      I support the basic concept of free markets, but when left alone (without some intervention), free markets will NOT supply affordable housing in key employment districts like Buckhead, Midtown etc. Basic back-of-the-envelope math will tell you that. The little remaining “affordable” housing that you can find in Buckhead, Midtown and Sandy Springs (Lindbergh is a perfect example of this) continue to be torn down for these higher density, more expensive developments. This exacerbates the jobs/housing distribution of our region and forces citizens to move further out (away from transit access) where they ultimately clog the roads you use to get to work.

      An inclusionary housing policy can work well if it is well thought out and most importantly, ensures that everyone plays by the same rules. This is where government “intervention” often fails.

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