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  • Writer's pictureRyan Zickgraf

The long road home

Facing an affordability crisis, Atlanta needs to build a lot more housing—but that's not quite as simple as it sounds. Here’s a look at what happens behind the scenes.

 
Coca Cola building in Atlanta
Photo by Ryan Zickgraf

We have the City of Atlanta’s inclusionary zoning policy to thank for some new affordable units. The policy states that developers of residential housing with 10 or more units near the BeltLine and/or in fast-gentrifying west-side neighborhoods are required to set aside a percentage of units as affordable, based on the area median income (AMI). The simple version of that process might look like this: A developer acquires a piece of land, makes a plan, then clears the hurdles of community input, permitting, and city approval. Finally, a project is built and sold or leased—with some units set aside as “affordable.” But developing that housing is a complex, multistep process that can take several years. Here’s why:

 

The City of Atlanta’s inclusionary zoning policy at a glance:

Developers must set aside 10 percent of their units for those earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income (around $55,100 for a family of three) or they must set aside 15 percent to be priced for those earning at or below 80 percent of the metro area’s median income (around $73,500 for a family of three).
 

PHASE 1 (6–18 months)


PHASE 2 (4–20 months)

— PROJECT APPROVAL —



PHASE 3 (6–18 months)



PHASE 4 (6–18 months)

— CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY —



PHASE 5 (4–8 months)


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