(The Center Square) — Local jurisdictions might need to rethink their minimum lot and home size requirements given the state’s growing population and apparent need for “adequate workforce housing.”
That’s the upshot of a new Georgia Public Policy Foundation report.
“The lack of access and affordability is expected to remain an ongoing concern for a state that is estimated to be over 364,000 housing units short,” the report concluded. Given “the economic realities and population expectations faced in Georgia today, some local governments may soon need to reevaluate their ordinances to allow for greater density – at a minimum to provide for adequate workforce housing.”
GPPF’s examination, which includes data from 157 counties, 126 county seats and 83 metro Atlanta municipalities, focuses on “single-family residential districts with the highest minimum requirements.”
The report revealed that some jurisdictions have minimum lot and home size requirements “far above” the Georgia Department of Health’s standards. According to the analysis, home size minimums in some areas surpass 2,000 square feet, which can result in at least $300,000 in building costs.
“These overly high thresholds represent a significant barrier to providing the adequate supply of housing that is needed as our state continues to grow,” Chris Denson, GPPF’s director of policy and research and coauthor of the study, said in a release.
Concerns over affordable housing in the state are not new. Business leaders have warned that an “affordable housing” shortage could impede the state’s efforts to grow and attract businesses, and last year, the Study Committee on Regulation, Affordability and Access to Housing probed the issue.
“The state of housing stability in Georgia is a public health crisis that demands immediate action and must be a priority,” Rep. Kim Schofield, D-Atlanta, said in an April news release about proposed legislation that didn’t advance in the Georgia General Assembly this year. “The impacts of homelessness, evictions and future homeownership remain a threat to our citizens and workforce.
“Housing is a human and civil right,” Schofield added. “Our elected officials and state policies must address and align with the needs of urban, suburban and rural Georgia. We will not back down.”