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In Buckhead, could proposed overlay district put the brakes on automobile dominance?

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Atlanta City Council members have proposed a measure to—gasp!—limit the amount of parking at new developments.

The Buckhead skyline features glassy blue buildings beneath a blue sky.
Buckhead, long a bastion of massive parking lots, could be turning over a new leaf.
Paul Peterson

Buckhead has long been synonymous with upscale developments and growing density along the Peachtree Road corridor—and with all the development has come parking spaces aplenty.

But now, that could begin to change.

According to a city press release titled “Development Moratorium Signals End to ‘Manhattan Density and Alpharetta Parking’ in Buckhead,” the district’s two councilmembers, Yolanda Adrean and Howard Shook, are aiming to reduce the parking space counts for new developments.

Currently, when a project is proposed, developers are required to provide a large amount of parking—characterized by the city as “suburban-style” parking allowances.

But a new “Buckhead Parking Overlay District,” which encompasses the Peachtree Road corridor, could reduce the requirements for retail, offices, hotels, and residential buildings in the future. The new requirements would be similar to those in downtown Atlanta.

An example of the Buckhead paradox.
Google Maps

The initiative was prompted by the rapid development seen in the Buckhead area over the past few years, coupled with growing road congestion. Shook noted that the legislation is “an attempt to stop trying to fit a fifth quart in a gallon jar.”

In tandem with the initiative, Mayor Kasim Reed and the city council enacted a moratorium on new project applications until the Parking Overlay legislation can be approved.