Through the Lifelong Communities program, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) supports local communities to foster a high quality of life for all residents, regardless of age or ability, by promoting housing and transportation options, encouraging healthy lifestyles and expanding access to information and services. Through a grant from the ARC, TSW was retained by the City of Avondale Estates to review their existing Zoning Ordinance and other associated documents, and to provide recommendations and action items to further support the Lifelong Communities program.
To understand how well development regulations supported Lifelong Communities principles, TSW first interviewed stakeholders and conducted a detailed review of the regulations. Through the review, TSW noted the regulations’ content, usability, and format, and summarized the findings in a summary document. A mark-up of the Zoning Ordinance, noting specific areas where language could be improved, was also included.
To better align their development regulations with the Lifelong Communities program and best practices, TSW also provided detailed recommendations for the City’s consideration, including:
- Over a dozen small text amendments to improve code consistency and usability;
- A new approach to regulating housing in the downtown area through allowances for smaller units, more flexible building types, lower parking ratios, and elimination of a district-wide unit cap;
- Expanding housing options citywide, including live-work and cottage courts;
- Updates to zoning and subdivision regulations to incorporate streetscapes, smaller blocks, and meaningful open space with redevelopment;
- Removal of an unrealistic size restriction on pharmacies that prevented one from opening in the City; and
- Opportunities for the long-term consideration of form-based coding, including the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach.
TSW also provided examples of new types of housing the City should explore allowing.