ROSWELL, Ga. — Just before midnight Monday, following a marathon meeting that begun at 7 p.m., Roswell City Council voted unanimously to restrict new apartment construction in the city.
New apartments and condos will have to be part of a mixed-use development going forward. Future developments of stand-alone apartments will be banned.
Roswell Mayor Kurt Wilson said the last time a new standalone multifamily project was passed in the city was 2001.
“With standalone multifamily projects, we would put a dent into the affordable housing crisis. But worse, we would decay the quality of life to our residents, whether they're in economy condominiums, apartments, or single family homes," Wilson told 11Alive.
However, most residents who spoke during public comment were overwhelmingly against this vote.
“The need right now is definitely funding for families who are struggling just to make ends meet, and I can definitely relate because that's my story," said Talaya Parker, the Executive Director of Home Stretch, an organization offering temporary housing. "I was struggling to provide housing for myself, and utilities. Now, it is a hard, hard challenge for families to decide to put food on the table, or to put a roof over their heads.”
"I moved here when I was 36 and I could barely afford it," Wilson said. "It was aspirational for me to move here. And I dare say it was a community of choice. That's what Roswell is. It's a community of choice."
He added there’s a limited amount of undeveloped land in the city, and being strategic on how it’s used will make the city more of a "destination."
"Do you want to be 200,000 residents in 20 years? Or 120,000 residents in 20 years? I would say the vast majority of residents that live here, whether they live in townhomes, single family homes or apartments, they would say, continue to take care of my quality of life," Wilson added.
Meanwhile, residents who spoke out said this will limit the people coming in, price others out, and make it a less diverse area.
"There are families struggling just to pay their bills, put food on the table, and then that alone pay for housing or rent for their families," Parker added.
Mayor Wilson said the city will still be allowed to redevelop multifamily projects already there.
“We’re the most populous apartment city in all of north Fulton, which is not a bad thing. We're just choosing not to put more apartments on the table as standalone multifamily projects," he said.