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Atlanta eyes ‘Displacement Free Zones’ to combat gentrification

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Initiative could provide framework for longtime residents to remain in neighborhoods on the upswing

Gentrification is a hot topic these days in Atlanta, with property values soaring in intown neighborhoods and some longtime residents feeling the pinch of both rising rents and taxes.

While people are moving back to the city, drawn by amenities like the Beltline, folks who’ve lived in the formerly not-so-in-demand neighborhoods (and in many cases helped rejuvenate them) are being priced out.

To combat that, Atlanta City Councilwoman Keisha Lance Bottoms has introduced legislation to examine the potential of creating “Displacement Free Zones” in the city. According to the Atlanta Daily World, the proposal gives the Department of Planning and Community Development four months to provide information to the council about how such an initiative would work.

Policies could apply to specific neighborhoods seeing an influx of investment due to increased desirability, including areas on the south and western side of the core of the city. The promise of the Beltline and redevelopment of both the Georgia Dome and Turner Field properties is drawing revitalization efforts that ultimately could dramatically increase values like the Beltline and Ponce City Market are doing along the Eastside Trail.

Atlanta would not be the first city to combat displacement due to rising property values.

Other large cities have similar schemes — some which are known as “Eviction Free Zones” — including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Miami.

The Atlanta Daily World cites a report that puts Atlanta fifth on the list of gentrifying cities; the ranking isn’t all that surprising, given the rapid pace of redevelopment (some say it’s a Renaissance, others have less savory descriptions) throughout the heart of the city.

In fact, the issue of affordability has come to a head this year, with key members of the Beltline Board resigning over underfunding of workforce housing.

The same site this fall, with new apartments and retail.
Google Maps

Discussed earlier this week in a working meeting, the next move could be for the displacement-free initiative to come before the entire council for a vote.