Atlanta City Design Housing Initiative proposes zoning changes to create affordable housing

Accessory dwelling units (ADUs), like the one shown in the photo above, would be allowed under new city zoning to create more affordable housing. (Courtesy City of Atlanta)

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has announced a plan to create more affordable housing in the City of Atlanta by rezoning neighborhoods to allow for more density.

The Atlanta City Design Housing Initiative would allow for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) including detached structures, transformation of single-family homes into duplexes,  basement apartments, and garage conversions.

“The Atlanta City Design Housing Initiative builds on our Administration’s One Atlanta Housing Affordability Action Plan, addressing systemic racism and working to ensure affordable housing for all,” Bottoms said in a press release. “For too long, housing policies have excluded those who are most vulnerable, particularly communities of color. We are taking bold actions to reverse these policies and close the homeownership gap and rental affordability for legacy residents of Atlanta.”

The proposals in the Atlanta City Design Housing Initiative are a result of more than two years of research and analysis aimed at addressing city’s population projected population growth to 1.2 million in the coming decades.

The research and analysis of the Atlanta City Design Housing Initiative stem from the Atlanta City Design. “Our city is growing, and we can leverage that growth to be a better city that is more equitable, inclusive and accessible to live in,” said Tim Keane, the City of Atlanta’s Commissioner of City Planning. “Atlanta City Design Housing Initiative outlines ways this growth can be designed specifically for Atlanta’s landscape, distinctive physical characteristics and unique neighborhoods.”

The proposed zoning policies would also target structures of racism and discrimination that have limited housing affordability and exacerbated inequality in Atlanta. These policies seek to increase immediate and long-term affordability for Atlanta residents and directly address the structures of discrimination that still exist in zoning and land-use policies.

“Atlanta is facing rapidly rising housing costs in large part due to the exclusionary policies of the past that still exist and are impacting the city today,” said Joshua Humphries, Director of the Office of Housing and Community Development in the Department of City Planning.