Jan 23, 2024 - News

Atlanta considering new permit law for smaller homes

Illustration of a small house below a pair of hands holding measuring tape.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Your dream downsized home could be harder to build under a new zoning ordinance making its way through the Atlanta City Council.

What's happening: City Councilwoman Marci Collier Overstreet is sponsoring legislation to require property owners to obtain a special permit to build a detached single-family dwelling with fewer than 750 square feet.

  • Opponents of the ordinance say it would effectively ban homes of that size.

Why it matters: Advocates and elected officials say cities need to build more housing — all kinds, from smaller homes to skyscraper apartments — to combat an increasing affordability crisis.

Details: Overstreet told Axios in an email that the legislation is only intended to preserve the character of Atlanta's neighborhoods.

  • She added this wouldn't apply to accessory dwelling units, or the granny flats in people's backyards.
  • "The legislation prohibits nothing. It doesn't hamper growth in any way," she told Axios.

The other side: Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) advocacy group Abundant Housing Atlanta argues the proposal would add extra hurdles and months to the approval process, discouraging property owners and developers.

  • The nonprofit also said small homes offer affordability, and they questioned why policymakers are not proposing this extra hoop for mansions.

What's next: Atlanta's Zoning Review Board is set to hold a public hearing on March 7 or March 14.

  • Visit the NPU guide to find your Neighborhood Planning Unit if you want to opine on this proposal.

Editor's note: This story has been corrected. An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated that Overstreet is the City Council Zoning Committee chair. She served as the committee's chair last year.

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