1. 1

    Hunter Burke

    Great article, yet, it only acknowledges the problem while the Brookhaven Administration does everything within its power to exacerbate the problem. Like the gentrifying PCG project and Buford Highway, like rezoning older low-rise apartments into shiny expensive townhouses. Like many variance strewn like Mardi-Gras beads for much bigger infill homes. It’s nice that you ask the question, but the answer rests on your back.

  2. 2

    Paul Bryant

    Brookhaven has acknowledged the need – hence the Affordable Housing Task Force.

  3. 3

    Hunter Burke

    Well, that ought to solve almost nothing!

  4. 4


    I don’t believe the citizens want to mix with the plebs.

  5. 5

    Tom Reilly

    Well done, Conor!! You’ve written a thoughtful, well-organized article which touches several aspects of our Brookjaven’s past, present, and future. We need more people like you!!

  6. 6


    What is the answer? More apartments? There have already been so many built especially in buckhead, chamblee and unincorporated dekalb just in the last several years. Not a good solution for long term community stability and safety. See the murder that happened a couple of days ago at apartments on Claremont.

  7. 7

    Easy Rider

    San Francisco is an excellent example of a city that is unaffordable and has a dearth of service workers. However, a big difference from Brookhaven is that SF is peninsula making commutes very difficult, while Brookhaven is not geographically limited. Service workers come to Brookhaven because of the financial benefits of better pay & tips. Traffic in ATL is bad, but they aren’t crossing a bridge. Finally, building affordable housing might bring more service workers, but based on the very vocal opposition to apartments along Dresden I’d like to know which community will welcome them.

  8. 8

    Jordan Fox

    Why do you feel the Peachtree Creek Greenway exacerbates the problem?

  9. 9


    In resort areas this has always been a huge problem. In Colorado a developer friend of mine started building TH and condos in some of these resort communities. (Teluride is one.) The TH were for sale properties that were financed via a FHA loan program making them qualifying assumable loans. The condos were financed under the conventional affordable housing programs. NO subsidies just maximum income limits. The city imposed other limits for the community on these purchases that also included reduced property taxes for a period of time, that the purchaser must live in the property for a minimum of 5 years, that the property must be owner occupied and could not be rented, AND that when the property was sold the profit was limited to 10% of the original purchase price. This has kept the housing of these properties as originally intended for many years now, as work force housing. The purchasers know up front that the profit margins are capped and it has not been a problem. They enjoy the advantages of home ownership, can walk to work, and feel a real personal connection to the community.

    In Brookhaven we need to really evaluate what we have vs. what would be built now. We can not afford to have existing 3 bedroom, 1,000+ SF apartments replaced with 1 & 2 650 SF to 900 SF “luxury” units charging $1,000+ per month. This is not sustainable for families and our work force. The communities become very transient and the level of community involvement and pride is diminished. Land costs are driving these decisions and we need to find a way to encourage landlords to take better care of their properties, balance their expenditures with continued full occupancy rates and stable tenants. Sandy Springs and I believe Dunwoody just cracked down and changed how they view the work force housing shortages there and it appears to be working for them.

  10. 10


    I guess the author of this opinion piece didn’t get the word that D1 wants to eliminate affordable housing and make room for economic generators in their place. You know, like cleaning up Buford Highway like Sandy Springs cleaned up Roswell Road.

  11. 11

    Maybe a dumb question

    . . . but are Bu-Hi and P-tree unsuitable for affordable workforce housing? Isnt that one of the reasons why the city’s southern border was extended from its original Windsor Rd line to P-tree, then to Bu-Hi?

    Even with that reach, the City’s still only 12 sq miles. Affordable work force housing wasnt an issue before we became a city – at least to those who dont live in D-1 – and it sure feels funny that it’s now become “our” problem to solve.

  12. 12

    Glenn Allan

    how about a low income apartment next store to your house in Brookhaven Resident Conor Sen. File, actually Brookhaven is very close to affordable housing theres no need to raise taxes and lower property values , and there are many homes for sale from 300-400 K not up in the800K.

  13. 13


    Why not spend the time and energy improving public transportation? Many, many of us don’t live close to work. It’s not an issue if you can easily travel between work and home.

  14. 14

    Thomas Porter

    Very intelligent response Terrell. We don’t need an “Affordable Housing Taskforce”, we need leadership with the courage to be forthright about this goal and gather the public support needed [first].

  15. 15

    Easy Rider

    I can understand the desire to ensure affordable housing for fireman, police officers, and teachers, but not service workers. There are advantages to having these key people live local and to be engaged in the community. However, offering affordable housing for service workers doesn’t make sense to me. Unlike the occupations I named, you can’t guarantee they will work locally and you are simply subsidizing lower income housing. If you offer incentives for a condo on a mountain (like Telluride) there is a very good chance they will work locally. However, this doesn’t make sense for Brookhaven. Ask your servers where they live and the answer, no matter what part of town you are in, is almost always somewhere else.

  16. 16


    Easy Rider – Teluride is just an example of a place that I know about first hand. This has been done all over the U.S.
    Home ownership is an option that I prefer over more apartments for some of the reasons I previously stated. My previous life was in mortgage financing, the joy and pride I experienced when I told an applicant that there loan had been approved was beyond gratifying. All of the programs that I offered required full underwriting so they had earned and deserved the opportunity they had just been granted. (Verified – Credit, income, rental history, funds, etc.) Many, many, many times a waiter, bartender, landscaper, nursing assistants, secretary, nanny, etc. made far more money than a teacher or a police officer sadly but true. All of these occupations qualified for many of the same programs due to income levels . A couple looking to buy were comprised of a bartender and a nursing assistant for one example. Alone their chance of home ownership and the tax advantage that it brings was far more less likely but together they accomplished it. Same for police officers and their spouse.
    We have approx. 70 apartment complexes in Brookhaven. With that said, I think it would be a bad move to wipe out a majority of the ones we do have just to replace them with smaller units at higher rental rates. My focus is more on families and people looking to down size than on a particular age group or one profession solely.

  17. 17

    Eric Robert

    Good points Colin Sen. Especially if the gentrification of Buford Highway picks up steam, Brookhaven should start including a requirement for medium to high density developments to include a % of units at below market rates. This wouldn’t require expenditure of funds by the City.

  18. 18


    I hope everyone concerned about this issue will continue to pay attention to the many properties they are proposing to replace- particularly on Buford Highway- as part of the Peachtree Creek Greenway.

  19. 19


    Because the PCG proposal currently includes re-developing a lot of neighboring Buford Highway. And that’s just the proposal *now*- who knows how aggressive this will become after tens of millions in investments get involved.

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    Eddie E.

    Do you comprehend the need to improve and protect the creek/greenway no matter what sort of development occurs in the future?
    Is it not obvious how detrimental it has been to one of the major tributaries of the Chattahoochee by the land use over the last 50 odd years?

  21. 21

    Easy Rider

    The professions I referenced add significant value to the community and justify the extensive efforts from the local government to intervene in the market to offer affordable housing. Sorry, bar tenders,landscapers are servers do not bring the same community value.

  22. 22


    Not really sure how replacing small businesses and potentially people’s homes for high density high rises and hotels approves water quality? Some of the sewers and storm drains on North Druid Hills overflow- and even shoot out sewage in a pressurized fashion like a fountain- because they can’t handle the amount of density there now.

    But thanks for condescendingly mansplaining to me!

  23. 23

    Get a heart

    @ER, Remember that next time the Brookhaven Snooties can’t find anyone to mow their lawns and you have to wait an hour to get your food after waiting 30 minutes to have your order taken because the local business owners can’t find enough help.

  24. 24

    Eddie E.

    Always a sign local business owners should pay better.

  25. 25


    Hotel Motel Tax revenue can’t be spent on storm-water or sewer. It can be spent on Hotel Conference Centers, Centers for Fine Arts (see Porter Samford Arts kerfuffle), and one small section allows for paths, but not storm water or sewer.

  26. 26

    Easy Rider

    Indeed, that is the point exactly. Service workers are attracted by better pay and the wealthy in-town residents should expect to pay more. My experience is that most residents do pay more for basic services and tip well. If they don’t, they deserve bad service.

  27. 27

    Katie L.

    Why only concern yourself with personal needs and wants. Affordable housing is a much bigger picture than that. You’ll understand it better once you grow up and your needs change.

  28. 28


    I think they’ve applied or are looking into other sources of funding, grants etc to work on the water situation but still – I’m genuinely astounded that so many people still think this is purely a “save the earth” and kindly “give D4 a park” project.

    People saying that we need more development and density to help the environment is one of the greater snake oil pitches I’ve heard in my lifetime.

  29. 29

    Concerned Dr

    A little late, but I agree whole heartedly with this post. I have lived in Brookhaven for the past 14 years, from just out of college, through Grad school and Professional School and now as a young physician. Now that I am finally in a position to buy a house and stop renting, I find myself looking around and wondering how anyone can live in Brookhaven. My income is in the top 5-10% of Americans and I find myself, baffled by new construction pricing – often 600 -700k, but no less than 450k+. Who can afford this and where are these people coming from? Another poster presented that there are “plenty of houses” less than 800-900k: please show them to me and my realtor cause I can afford to spend 500k, but not the additional renovations required on houses in this price range. Is the goal a city with zero diversity? Are we trying to push EVERYONE except the super elite out? If I’m a physician making 200k+ and I feel the affordability crunch, how is a “regular” college grad making half my salary in a good job supposed to live?

    There should absolutely be provisions for these townhouse communities to build a portion of these communities with fixed affordibility. They are popping up everywhere and currently displacing large numbers of low income, long-time Brookhaven residents, charging prices that make it hard for even me to sleep at night. All good cities thrive on diversity. It is unconscionable to displace large numbers of good people who have lived in the city for years with little disregard for the effects that can have socially and economically. The city will prosper regardless, but it can really flourish by keeping the community as a whole in mind while expanding.

  30. 30


    Pine Hills but you have to follow the listings constantly and when something pops up move FAST- they’re often sold in a day.

    If you don’t have a agent that knows the area well you might consider changing. Otherwise it takes a lot of time obsessively checking for new listings (that’s what I did).

    Good luck, I know house hunting here is an epic pain.

  31. 31


    Doctor doctor doctor, sounds like you are the elitist. There are plenty of homes in Brookhaven under $500, just maybe not new construction and or in an area that you deem to be good enough for a wealthy young professional like yourself. You crack me up.

  32. 32


    Sexton Woods, 500K gets you a nicely renovated ranch. Great area, schools etc.

  33. 33


    This area is not the same as when my girls grew up here. They have left for other cities in the region that offer a better quality of life in prosperous areas that value a family way of life. They have now regained a sense of community they once knew. Did I mention that salaries are good, but the cost of living and traffic is MUCH more reasonable. Including housing!

  34. 34


    Agreed, but square footage will be significantly less.

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