A long-delayed study of Buckhead’s affordable housing challenges and solutions is coming soon, but will cost another $10,000.
Commissioned by the Buckhead Community Improvement District and Livable Buckhead, the study kicked off in August 2018 and was supposed to take about six months.
“It has taken a lot longer than it was originally planned to,” Livable Buckhead Executive Director Denise Starling told the BCID board at its July 24 meeting.
She said she now expects recommendations from the study, conducted by HR&A Advisors, to be complete “in the next few weeks” and for a presentation to be made at the next BCID board meeting, which is scheduled for late September.
Since the study began, the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods has undertaken its own similar study. Starling said that one reason for the delay was reconciling data with that BCN effort to maintain “credibility” of the final report.
The consultant also is working to analyze the data in the light of other studies by the city of Atlanta and the Atlanta Apartment Association, she said.
All of that work has extended the timeline and boosted the original $120,000 budget. BCID Executive Director Jim Durrett said the study will now cost an additional $20,000, but that the consultant will take on half of that. The BCID board approved spending $10,000 to complete the study.
The study came out of a master plan’s findings that, as of 2016, 98% of Buckhead employees commuted there from outside. Housing capacity was found to be a major issue, with 10 times more jobs than households in the neighborhood, and while many units are being built, most are luxury projects unaffordable to the roughly 40% of area employees who make less than $50,000 a year.
Starling has said that while affordable housing is the study’s topic, commuter traffic reduction is the focus, as a way to reduce controversy about socioeconomic policies and find a common ground of concern. In addition, the BCID is not legally able to address housing, but can study transportation-related issues.