Atlanta’s planned tree ordinance includes affordable housing provision

Facts about Atlanta's tree canopy

Facts about Atlanta's tree canopy

An overhaul of the City of Atlanta’s proposed tree protection ordinance contains a provision that has little to do with trees.

Tucked in the 62-page legislation that the City Council is currently debating is an incentive for developers of multifamily housing who set aside a percentage of their developments for affordable housing.

Under the proposal, developers of multifamily projects can apply for a 20% reduction in the number of trees they must replant or amount they must pay into the city’s tree fund if they set aside at least 15% of their units for households earning 80 percent or less of the area’s median income. If 10% of the units are for families earning 60% of median income, a developer would be eligible for a similar break.

The council’s Community Development and Human Services Committee held a virtual five-hour work session on Wednesday. Committee Chairman Matt Westmoreland said that he wanted a revision to come up for vote before the full council during its May 3 meeting.

Much of the meeting was filled by comments from the public.

Many opposed the revision. They argued that it didn’t go far enough to protect the city’s vanishing tree canopy.