The proposed Buford Highway Overlay in Brookhaven will require developers to set aside 10 percent of units in a residential project be “workforce housing” while also offering density incentives for developers building more affordable residential units.

Specifics of the Buford Highway Overlay were revealed late Aug. 16 on the city’s website,, and are part of the complete zoning ordinance rewrite.

The draft of the Buford Highway Overlay states that whenever the city approves a special land use permit for rezoning on Buford Highway and the property is developed as a “residential housing project” then 10 percent of the units must be classified as workforce housing. A residential housing project is defined as either a new housing development, rehabilitation of a current development or the conversion of rental apartments to condominiums.

The city is defining workforce housing in the new zoning rewrite as households earning no more than 80 percent of the median household income form the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area. That’s currently about $68,000.

The proposed Buford Highway Overlay also includes incentives for more workforce housing. Developers can get approval for one additional story for each 10 percent above the mandatory minimum. For example, 20 percent of workforce housing means one additional story; 30 percent workforce housing means two additional stories.

The workforce housing units must remain workforce housing for at least 20 years, according to the proposed draft.

The city’s Planning Commission is expected to take up the proposals of entire zoning ordinance for a possible vote on Sept. 5 and the City Council is slated to discuss and possibly vote on the rewrite at its Sept. 26 meeting.

In June, the City Council approved a 6-month moratorium on development on Buford Highway to allow time for the Buford Highway Overlay to be drafted and the zoning ordinance rewrite approved.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.