Saturday, February 11, 2006

In-Fill Housing Debate Heats Up in Metro Atlanta

I noted during the last Atlanta Election the numerous house signs for and against In-Fill Housing. Basically, people are buying lots ITP (inside the perimeter a.k.a. inside the loop I-285) and demolishing the old houses in favor of building "McMansions".

The problem? The McMansions don't fit the character of the neighborhood and the McMansions literally dwarf and overshadow neigboring domiciles.

Not much of a problem where I live. By all means, PLEASE come and raze the shoe box, cinder block houses and rebuild nice two story homes with wraparound porches on the lots!

But this is happening in neighborhoods like the one my wife grew up in. Places like Virginia Highlands and Ansley Park. These homes were the starter homes for young families three to four decades ago. Nicely built and definitely not lacking in character or uniqueness. It's the closest thing to historic homes that we've got seeing how Sherman helped us fight blight and rezone the city ages ago.

Mayor Shirley Franklin recently imposed a temporary ban on this sort of thing and the city is debating what to do. Basically I figure they're posturing for votes and feeling the competition out. I hope they come up with a way to save the historic neighborhoods while still allowing modernization of the homes without changing the overall character.

Not that any of this directly affects me. It'd be nice to save these neighborhoods but, there are still more important issues like restocking the police force, keeping the roads in good condition, getting the sewer system taken care of, schools, etc...

But there are people with big money on both sides of this debate. I expect it to get lots of air play in the next couple of years. Hopefully a sensible solution will be found.