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Atlanta City Council approves affordable-housing requirement on Westside Park developments

by John Yellig

The Westside Park Affordable Workforce Housing Overlay District, courtesy Atlanta City Council.

Atlanta’s City Council on Monday approved a measure to require for-sale residential developments near the new Westside Park to include affordable units, as city leaders seek to temper looming gentrification on the Westside.

Concern that residents of the long-underserved Westside will be displaced by new development has been growing as the city approaches the opening of the 280-acre park, and Microsoft snaps up real estate for its planned campus south of the public space.

“Our Westside communities and legacy residents are the bedrock of our city, and our Administration will take the necessary actions to ensure development is carried out in a thoughtful, inclusive manner,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said in a statement.

The Westside Park Affordable Workforce Housing Overlay District, as the ordinance is known, also applies to rental developments, but is the city’s first application of inclusionary zoning on properties that will be sold, including single-family homes and condominiums.

Under the legislation, for-sale and rental projects with 10 or more residences must set aside 10% and 25% of their units for affordable housing, respectively. The set-aside units in for-sale developments are evenly split between households earning 80% and 120% of the area median income, while 15% of rental development set-asides must be priced for households at or below 80% of the AMI, and 10% must be priced at or below 60% of the AMI.

The overlay district includes the Center Hill, Carey Park, Almond Park and Grove Park neighborhoods and is adjacent to the Beltline Inclusionary Zoning District, which includes an affordable-housing provision for new rental development.

Developers may opt out of the affordability requirement by paying an “in-lieu” fee to the city. The affordability and in-lieu requirements are applicable for 20 years.

The Westside Park Affordable Workforce Housing Overlay District, courtesy Atlanta Department of City Planning.

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