Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has opted not to run again after a disastrous year that has placed her city on the growing list of urban centers with alarming increases in crime. Recently, Bill White, chairman and CEO of the Buckhead City Committee, appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight to talk about the movement to separate Buckhead from Atlanta. White pointed to the increase in violent crime in residential neighborhoods as a key driver of the initiative.
The group’s primary goal is to increase the law enforcement presence and remove limits placed on police by the mayor to patrol and apprehend criminals. But, unfortunately, instead of taking the concerns of the citizens of Buckhead seriously, Bottoms and other city leaders are taking a different approach. Rather than trying to convince Buckhead to end its bid to form its own municipality by restoring effective law enforcement, city leaders ramped up their attacks on residential areas like Buckhead.
In a move that bites the hand that feeds it, Atlanta recommends moving to abolish the suburbs ahead of the Biden administration requiring the city to do so. Buckhead is not what is traditionally considered a suburb. Residents there provide about 20% of the city’s budget, and their children attend Atlanta Public Schools. However, it is an area of the city primarily made up of neighborhoods with single-family homes.
Atlanta would like to change that. According to the Saporta Report, single-family zoning comprises 63% of Atlanta’s land area. In 2018, Mayor Bottoms said her vision was One Atlanta, a more “affordable, resilient and equitable city.” The Atlanta City Housing Design report operationalized this vision. Unfortunately, the recommendations buried in the text use the city’s policies from 1929 as a model to increase population density. (Yet, the proponents of these policies call themselves progressive.) Their proposals include:
- End single-family zoning, allowing any property owner by right to build an additional dwelling unit (called an “Accessory Dwelling Unit,” or ADU) on any lot now zoned for one family residence.
- Allow the property owner by right to then subdivide the lot and sell the ADU separately on its own “flag lot,” then presumably build another and repeat the process.
- “Loosen” the building requirements, such as size and height, for ADU’s making them cheaper, encouraging the use of modular housing technology.
- Reduce minimum lot sizes and minimum set-backs from the street and adjacent properties to get more buildings onto every property.
- Allow any property owner within one-half mile of a MARTA station to build an apartment building with up to 12 units, regardless of the neighborhood’s zoning.
- End minimum residential parking requirements citywide so that new apartment and condominium buildings would not have to provide parking for their residents requiring them to park on city streets.
- End minimum parking requirements for commercial properties, allowing more of them to occupy a given area.
If you wonder why BlackRock and other investment firms are outbidding traditional home buyers, plans like this are a clue. Even though this is the plan for residential neighborhoods within the City of Atlanta, it is precisely the kind of initiatives the Biden administration is trying to force through the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing policy using highway funds as leverage.
Investment firms really can’t lose. If the Biden administration is successful, or if cities like Atlanta voluntarily adopt these rules, as Minneapolis and the entire state of Oregon already have, it is a win. Investment firms can carve up single-family properties and add additional units of varying sizes and shapes to them. Depending on local rules, the new housing will be sold or rented. In cases where an entire development is purchased, as it was outside Houston, investment firms can knock them down, build high-density apartment buildings, and create an endless income stream. If the Biden plan fails, they still have long-term investment rental properties.
White appeared with Carlson again on June 30 to explain how Buckhead residents feel about the city’s plan and the mayor’s zeal to implement it as one of her final acts. He notes that if the city requires additional low-income housing, there is plenty of space for high rises in existing zones:
We have a mayor who’s opted not to run again, but she won’t resign. It’s obvious she has an agenda to destroy the beautiful community of Buckhead on her way out in a three-fold process, if I may. She’s going to let crime continue, she’s going to let infrastructure deteriorate, and she’s going to rezone to destroy the quality of life in our beautiful Buckhead.
This will decimate Buckhead. I mean… my property value would go basically to zero. Because how am I going to sell my house when a developer is building condos right next to me? It’s absurd. It’s a Marxist land grab for sure. And we have to reject that.
Buckhead is getting a preview of what residential communities all over the country will be facing if the Biden administration gets its way. President Trump tried to tell suburban voters that Democrats were on a mission to destroy their communities. You only need to look at what is going on in Atlanta to know he was right.