City Council president skeptical of rezoning proposals that would allow accessory dwelling units

Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore

Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore is skeptical of “blanket” changes to neighborhood rezoning proposed in the Atlanta City Design Housing Initiative plan unveiled in December.

The plan – designed to create more affordable housing in the city by rezoning neighborhoods to allow for more density – would allow for accessory dwelling units (ADUs), including detached structures, basement apartments, garage conversions, and conversion  of single-family homes into duplexes.

Moore said at a March 2 meeting of Neighborhood Planning Unit B that awareness of the proposal seems to be not widespread since they have yet to be turned into specific legislation, but predicted that the main idea will produce a “cry across the city” from single-family neighborhoods.

She said that “one of the things that people always cherish, and I don’t care what part of the city you are [in], is the character of your neighborhood.” Regarding the proposed changes in single-family zoning, Moore said, “I think that it’ll work where people are OK with it, but I just don’t think there should be a blanket thing, and I don’t think there’s gonna be a lot of support across the city.”

Moore, who is running for mayor against Keisha Lance Bottoms, said she looked forward to seeing draft legislation with details. She said that “for me, I need them to connect the dots on how this will make things affordable and who is going to hold anybody to whatever affordable is.”

Moore also expressed concern with impacts on other land-use questions the city is currently also attempting to answer with legislation, including preserving trees from residential development and regulating short-term home rentals.

She suggested that a detached accessory dwelling unit behind a million-dollar home is likely to cost a “pretty penny” and not be affordable, and “people could just make them a bunch of short-term rentals behind their house.”

Moore specifically criticized the plan’s idea of promoting for-sale accessory dwelling units by permitting the creation of “flag lots,” where the property is subdivided but still falls under the zoning restrictions of the parent lot. “… I certainly don’t like what I’ve read about subdividing lots… It doesn’t make sense,” Moore said.

Collin Kelley contributed to this report.