On Wednesday, May 4th, the Council hosted Atlanta City Councilman, Andre Dickens at the Atlanta Advisory Committee meeting. Councilman Dickens serves as the Post 3 At Large councilman representing the entire City and serves on the Atlanta Beltline Board of Directors, Invest Atlanta Board of Directors, City of Atlanta Finance Executive Committee, City Utilities Committee and is Chairman of the Community Development and Human Resources Committee.
During the meeting, Dickens discussed the passage of the city-wide affordable housing ordinance he developed earlier this week. In a 14-1 vote, City Council passed an affordable housing ordinance that will require any multi-family residential property for lease that receives a subsidy, grant or incentive from a development authority or public entity doing work in the City of Atlanta to set aside affordable units. Affected developments must set aside either 10% of units affordable for residents with 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI) or 15% of units affordable at 80% AMI. Councilman Dickens explained that he and his staff worked with affordable housing advocates, developers and the apartment association and Council for Quality Growth to reach a balance in the required affordable housing set aside amounts for projects receiving public funding. This ordinance, however is only the first step in implementing the City’s Affordable Housing Strategy adopted by Mayor and City Council last year. While the immediate focus of the City will be on implementing the new ordinance effectively and efficiently, City Council and staff are continuously exploring a city-wide inclusionary zoning ordinance that could apply to all public and private residential development in the City. Atlanta Advisory Committee members brought up concerns related to requiring affordable housing set asides such as competition with other markets in the region like Brookhaven and Sandy Springs as well as leasability of mixed income communities. Councilman Dickens reiterated his desire and intent to keep the Council for Quality Growth and its members developing in Atlanta closely involved in the formation of future affordable housing policy changes to ensure that requirements are economically feasible while promoting equity in the City.
Deputy Commissioner of Planning and Community Development, Terri Lee was also in attendance at the meeting to announce the Office of Buildings launch of new express permitting lines this week. This is just the first of many visible changes that are occurring during the department overhaul to create a more efficient, customer-focused permitting center. Councilman Dickens and Lee noted that improving permitting processes and ideally lowering costs and expediting processes, is imperative in order for the City to successfully implement affordable housing initiatives.
The Council thanks Councilman Andre Dickens for his continued involvement in the Council for Quality Growth and to Council member CH2M Hill for sponsoring this meeting.