Roswell looks to place requirements on building new townhomes

Roswell city council members are considering a requirement that newly built townhomes have garages located in the rear of the units, and reducing the number of allowable contiguous townhomes from eight to four.

A majority of council members say the proposed requirements will create more attractive townhome development than what currently exists.

Councilwoman Sarah Beeson disagrees, saying she believes the suggested changes could drive up prices and make townhomes too expensive for first-time homebuyers.

The proposed changes to the Unified Development Code passed council on a 4-2 preliminary vote. The amendments will be presented to the Planning Commission. If approved by the commission, the changes will go back to the City Council for two separate meeting discussions before a final vote.

“Currently, there are a lot of old townhome developments,” said Councilman Mike Palermo, who supports the proposed changes. “There will be new developments in the future. It’s a great step for future development.”

Some council members say townhomes with garages located in the front of the unit are not visually pleasing and do not help to create a walkable environment.

In a related vote Tuesday, City Council approved changing the percentage of open space required for newly built structures from 20% to 40%.

“When you put these (actions) in totality it becomes a de facto mechanism of just not allowing any townhomes in Roswell, which is placing a limitation on what would be often an entry-level homeownership or step-up ownership,” Beeson said on Thursday. “Or for someone reducing the size of their home, they’re just not going to have as many options.”