Athens-Clarke County commissioner and mayoral candidate Kelly Girtz released a plan Friday to deal with Athens' affordable housing problem.
A 2016 study found that middle-income families are leaving Clarke County because they can't afford to buy a home here. The median home price rose from $153,000 in 2013 to $172,000 in 2015 while incomes did not keep pace.
The website Apartment List reported today that the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Athens has risen 5.3 percent in the past year.
“Finding affordable housing in Athens is a real challenge for many of us," Girtz said in a news release. "Some seniors are getting priced out of neighborhoods they’ve lived in for their whole lives. Working people have trouble finding single-family homes they can afford. The good news this is a problem that local government can do something about, and if I’m elected mayor, we’ll make housing more affordable.”
Girtz's plan includes:
Girtz said that affordable housing could also be part of a tax allocation district aimed at revitalizing run-down corridors, and he also supports tax abatements for home renovations and allowing accessory dwelling (in-law suites or granny flats), which are currently banned under the ACC zoning code.