Originally asked by a user on a Sandy Springs Together Facebook post, the question of, “Why do we need more apartments?” appears to be a reasonable one at first, especially considering that our city already has a fair share of apartments.
However, according to a 2019 New York Times article, 85% of residential land in Sandy Springs is zoned for single family homes. That percentage places Sandy Springs amongst the top ten cities IN THE COUNTRY with the highest percentage of residential land zoned for single family homes, alongside Los Angeles, Calif. and Minneapolis, Minn.
With so much land being used for single family homes, where can we build new homes? If we are unable to build new homes, we will struggle to meet the needs of our citizens as our city undergoes an expected period of growth over the next several years.
If we want our city to grow, we must start by addressing the housing crisis we are facing. This is where building more apartments can help.
Here are the facts:
- We need more workers in our restaurants, shops, medical offices, schools and other professions. Building more apartments will provide more affordable housing options in Sandy Springs which, in turn, can support an increased workforce.
- Employers and local business owners have stated a desire to have their employees live near the places they work. Without enough affordable housing options, we will struggle to recruit and maintain employees in Sandy Springs.
- The city’s Economic Development Plan states that opposition to higher-density housing is dangerous because, “This position underestimates the positive impact that housing diversity has on preserving and attracting workers for entry and mid-level jobs being sustained and created locally. These workers are essential providers of the services and amenities that contribute to Sandy Springs’ desirability as a place to live.”
So, why is there still opposition to building more apartments? One main complaint that persists is traffic congestion. Simply put, apartment renters are being blamed for causing traffic congestion on OUR ROADS. While it is true that higher density means more cars on the road, if the apartments are located near the jobs, then there would be LESS traffic; but if people have to drive to or through Sandy Springs to get to their job, then traffic is worse, as we are finding. Addressing traffic flow isn’t the responsibility of the renters; it is the responsibility of the city, county and state; and where they are located can be under our control.
Instead of blaming our neighbors, who are renters AND our workers for our traffic congestion problem, we should work with the city to find more expedient ways to get around.
If you are unfamiliar with Sandy Springs’ Transportation Master Plan, follow this link to learn more about what the city is working on to improve our transportation situation.
You can also contact your city council representative with your concerns.