Apartments, Apartments, Apartments

Why are apartments bad in terms of their impact on a city?

Roswell has long prided itself on being a family-friendly, neighborhood-based community.  The stability of a community, it’s property values and quality of life is ensured by having primary ownership of residential properties.  76% of Roswell residential property is single-family.  But in some specific areas apartments are 63%!!

People who live in apartments are not bad people and apartments serve an important function in providing affordable housing to many.  However, in the aggregate, those living in apartments are generally more transient and have less invested in the community.  That causes substantial problems for schools.  Older apartments also generally impact surrounding property values and crime and most of Roswell’s apartments are older.  The simple fact is Roswell’s existing apartments are the hot-spots for our high-crime areas (click here to open apartment crime statistics.pdf).

When apartments become too large a component of a city’s residential housing stock, it generally does not bode well for the economic and social health of that city.  Many cities have set specific ratios for single-family to apartments.  Alpharetta has passed an ordinance limiting apartments to 33% of total ownership.  

Where are the concentrations of apartments in Roswell?

24% of all residential property is apartments in Roswell.  Pretty good, right?  Look closer.  The first map below shows the entire city and the locations of apartments.  24% sounds acceptable, however, looking closer at the concentrations of apartments in certain areas, that percentage changes drastically.

The second map below breaks the number down further.  East of Highway 9, where apartments are 41% of residential units.  East of GA400 apartments are 33% of residential units.  

Breaking the city down even more, the area bordered by Mansell Rd, Highway 9 and GA400 is 57%!!  Because they are so close to that area, if Arium Riverside (formerly Chattahoochee Landing), Belcourt and Marquis Trace (formerly King’s Bridge) Apartments are added (there is almost no single family around them) then it jumps to 63%!!!!  

63% apartments in what is essentially the center of Roswell!!!!  This is the exact opposite ratio of what a stable community needs

What are future plans for apartments in Roswell?

We must replace our aging, run-down apartments.  There isn’t much disagreement about that.  But how?  And with what?  All discussions on what to do have centered on offering additional density and use options to apartment property owners to provide financial incentive to redevelop those apartments.

However, most apartment property owners are not in the business of redevelopment.  They manage existing properties.  They will renovate buildings from time to time, but they make their money from renting their existing stock.  Increasing options for development on these properties may bring enough interest from other investors to purchase those run-down apartments and rebuild.  But, if they build substantially more apartments on that same property, what is the ultimate result?  An even greater imbalance in single-family vs apartments and even more problems for traffic and schools.  And when those new apartments move into the later stages of their life-cycle, we will likely see the same pattern of increased crime and even more blighted area.

I believe we must transform those areas into mixed-use, mixed-income villages.  The current UDC offers an increase in uses and removes density from consideration but it doesn’t require any mix of uses.  Apartments are easier to operate and are the hot market now.  What do you think a developer will build?  We must place guidelines for what we want to see on these areas and it must require a mix of uses.  We also need to have a truly community-supported plan and not just a maximized developer profit plan.

Why are apartments bad in terms of  impact on a city?


Roswell has long prided itself on being a family-friendly, neighborhood-based community.  The stability of a community, it’s property values and quality of life is ensured by having primary ownership of residential properties.  76% of Roswell residential property is single-family. 


But in some specific areas apartments are 63%!!

 
Kent Igleheart Roswell City Council