Key revisions were made this fall to the rules that govern how Midtown development projects are designed and how they interact with people at street-level.The updates, drafted in a collaborative effort between Midtown Alliance and the City of Atlanta Office of Zoning and Development, are meant to ensure high-quality, high value development in Midtown for the next decade.
Community Input from Blueprint Midtown Update Informed Zoning Changes
The changes to Midtown’s Special Public Interest (SPI-16) zoning ordinance reflect extensive community input that Midtown Alliance gathered over the past few years to inform the newest version of Blueprint Midtown, the master plan that acts as Midtown’s source code for everything from land use to transportation and sustainability.
How the Zoning Updates Positively Impact Your Future Experience
The fundamental changes revolve around fostering a more vibrant environment on the ground that supports walkability, retail, and quality of life while creating more connectivity and accessibility to mitigate traffic congestion, reducing conflicts between cars and people, and the changes will become visible as sites are developed in the coming years. Some specific examples of what's new that will add to your future street-level experience:
- Full streetscaping (sidewalks, lighting, trees and other enhancements) is required within 18 months of demolition
- Developers can receive bonus incentives for affordable housing, public art, public park space and adaptive building re-use.
- The use and amount of parking is minimized by bonus incentives for buried parking, greatly reduced parking and public parking; along with further regulation on the maximum number of parking spaces and location and size of any surface parking.
- The visibility of parking structures is minimized in that they must be designed to be wrapped with active uses at street-level (such as having retail or residential units) and blended into buildings with architecturally compatible materials above street level.
- Maximum setbacks (build-to) lines are specified to have minimize dead spaces along the sidewalk.
- Local utility lines along prioritized streets are required to be buried or relocated away from view
- Storefront windows must offer minimum visibility depths to let people see inside, versus being covered and obscured from view
- Prioritized streets to have specific active pedestrian friendly uses while limiting the sizes of residential lobbies and clubhouses
- Rooftop equipment is to have screening requirements
“These new updates come at an important time for Midtown Atlanta as growth continues at an unprecedented pace, and the community is positioned extremely well to get the very best out of the next buildings that come up out of the ground,” said Midtown Alliance president and CEO Kevin Green. “Included in these updates are both practical changes that address present-day challenges and innovative twists that prepare us for a future built around more interactivity.”
About the Process for Creating Midtown’s SPI-16 Zoning Updates
Midtown Alliance met with and received support from the development community as well as representatives from the Midtown and Ansley neighborhoods as well as NPU-E. The Zoning Review Board (ZRB) and Zoning Committee of City Council approved the amendments in September. The new Midtown SPI-16 ordinance became effective by City Council unanimous approval in early October.
Visit our online Resource Center for more about the SPI-16 zoning updates, plus learn more about current and future development in Midtown.