Atlanta City Council approves building moratorium near Westside Park

A rendering of the future Westside Park.

The Atlanta City Council approved legislation Monday establishing a building and rezoning moratorium near Westside Park on the heels of Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ executive order on the matter.

The ordinance is aimed at assessing how development trends are impacting neighborhoods near the site, which will be Atlanta’s largest greenspace once completed.

The legislation, introduced by District 9 Councilmember Dustin Hillis, carves out certain exemptions, including for applications from owner-occupied primary residencies, emergency situations, projects with certain affordability thresholds, and applications already received by the Department of City Planning.

“This park can be a great resource for the community, but we want to make sure no one is left behind in the process. The legislation that we approved will give us an opportunity to pause and really examine the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods,” Hillis said.

The mayor issued the executive order on Feb. 17 directing the Office of Buildings and the Office of Zoning and Development to “refuse to accept new applications for rezonings, building permits for new construction, land disturbance permits, special use permits, special administrative permits, subdivisions, replattings, and lot consolidations for non-public projects.”

The moratorium applies to  the neighborhoods surrounding Westside Park – including Grove Park, Rockdale and Knight Park/Howell Station – in an effort to address rapid gentrification occurring in the area, according to a media statement from the mayor’s office.

The moratorium will expire in 180 days and will not affect existing building permits or building permits required for emergency work.

During the moratorium, the mayor’s office said it will engage in a “robust community planning effort,” which will include all relevant city departments and agencies.

“Longtime residents deserve the assurance that progress does not push them out of the very communities they built,” Mayor Bottoms said after the vote. “This moratorium allows the City to build planning and implementation efforts that ensure thoughtful and equitable development.”

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