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City of Decatur task force pushes for affordable housing initiatives

Sean Keenan

By Sean Keenan

Much like Atlanta, the City of Decatur is growing and, subsequently, its cost of living is following suit.

In response, late last year, Decatur officials launched a task force to address housing affordability issues within the east metro Atlanta city. The 26-member group set out to define “affordable” and outline potential avenues to create more residences for people earning less than the area median income.

Last week, the task force published a 73-page report that laid out potential initiatives that could boost the city’s affordable housing stock, according to Decaturish.

The report echoes recommendations spelled out by the Atlanta Regional Commission’s new online tool, MetroATLhousing.org, which offers local governments tips to combat metro Atlanta’s housing affordability crisis.

The ARC app suggests that Decatur beef up its housing stock at large, as well as create and identify new funding mechanisms.

The task force’s report expounds on such ideas, suggesting city officials reform zoning laws to make it more difficult to demolish older multifamily residences, and to adopt inclusionary zoning policies that would mandate developers to earmark a portion of new multifamily units for affordable housing, per Decaturish.

Also recommended were tax breaks for landlords that cap rent prices and other incentives for developers — think reduced permitting fees, prioritized permitting reviews and lower parking requirements.

Keeping with the advice of other metro Atlanta housing experts, the report suggests diversifying Decatur’s housing stock by way of introducing accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and rooming houses.

The report also calls for Decatur officials to launch an Affordable Housing Advisory Board, which would be tasked with overseeing the implementations of these initiatives.

To read the full report, click here.

(Header image: Decatur City Hall, via Google Maps)

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