Atlanta City Council’s Marci Overstreet has proposed a concerning new ordinance that would require new homes under 750 square feet to go through a public Special Use Permit (SUP) process, giving neighborhoods a chance to shout down their approval.
She defended it in this week’s Zoning Committee meeting by saying that her concern is for helping Atlanta neighborhoods to be maintained “the way they are.”
She said: “Any small homes under 750 feet, we have to put our eyes on it to make sure it preserves the character of the neighborhood.”
Though she asserted that the proposal is technically not prohibiting anything, this is no consolation when we know very well how this approval process will go.
Here’s a look at the type of homes that appear to be the target of this proposal.
We can gauge our values as a city not only by the things we provide various types of incentives for, but by the things we add hurdles to. This is a hurdle and it will say something distinctly unpleasant about our values if we allow it to become law.
Giving residents a channel for shouting down a Special Use Permit for tiny homes could limit the supply of homes near jobs and transit (especially homes like these small ones that are financially attainable to a wider economic range), thus inflating the resale value of existing homes in a neighborhood amid the high demand.
That “character” we end up maintaining is one of exclusion that benefits wealthier people who can afford the rising costs of a limited home supply.
Density-reducing measures, like the one this ordinance would basically become, are well known to impair affordability by forcing each housing unit to bear a greater share of the cost of land in a neighborhood.Our demographics and migration trends are changing. Neighborhoods should be expected to change in modest ways as well. And there’s little more ‘modest’ in terms of density than a tiny-home village.
Contact your Council representative to let them know that adding new hurdles to attainable homes does not represent Atlanta’s values, or sign the petition started by Abundant Housing Atlanta: https://actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-city-council-dont-ban-small-homes/