Efforts to change Atlanta’s zoning codes to allow for more multi-family housing and increase density in order to create more affordable housing have been met with pushback from one of Atlanta’s wealthiest neighborhoods.
The move comes amidst a nation-wide affordable housing crisis. To address rising housing costs, many cities and states have been altering – and even eliminating – single family zoning districts to allow for multi-family houses and apartments to meet the demand.
In Atlanta, similar measures have been proposed which would have rezoned over 2,000 single-family lots within a half-mile radius of public transit stations. The rezoning proposal included allowing for more types of accessory dwelling units and eliminating residential parking requirements. (ajc.com, 2021)
However, the rezoning proposals were struck down last week by a city council committee. A large part of the pushback came from the Buckhead area of Atlanta. Historically white, conservative and high-income – Buckhead has a median household income of over $140,000 – there has been a push in Buckhead to, in effect, secede from Atlanta and form its own city. A large motivation behind the pro-secession camp has been from the Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) movement which opposes the rezoning proposals, saying that they will lead to increased crime and the destruction of wildlife.
But for Buckhead residents, these concerns may be misplaced, as the proposed rezoning legislation actually exempts many of the single-family zoning districts that make up a majority of Buckhead neighborhoods. (Bloomberg.com, 2021)
In any case, the rezoning legislation will make another push through the city council next year. Buckhead’s push for cityhood will depend on whether or not a bill will be passed next spring, which if it is, a referendum will be held to decide whether or not Buckhead would become its own city.