Atlanta City Council extends ban on new construction permits near the Westside Park

A rendering of Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry. Credit: CITY OF ATLANTA
A rendering of Westside Park at Bellwood Quarry. Credit: CITY OF ATLANTA

The Atlanta City Council this week unanimously voted to extend a moratorium for another six months on permits for new development in neighborhoods around the Westside Park.

For years, city officials have promised a new multi-million dollar park would benefit one of the city’s most impoverished areas.

But a coalition of residents argue that the park is destroying the community it is supposed to help. There are reports of rents doubling, real estate taxes rising dramatically, and predatory property purchasing tactics. All have combined to force longtime “legacy” Atlanta residents out of their west side neighborhoods.

The outcry prompted Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to issue an executive order in March prohibiting new construction permits near the park. The council later ratified it.

According to an ordinance approved this week that was sponsored by Councilman Dustin Hillis development has driven rents up to the point where 70 percent of renters are spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent.

It also says that the COVID-19 pandemic has hampered the city’s ability to create an equitable housing plan to ensure longtime residents can continue to live near the park.

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