McDonough postpones vote on zoning changes

3-D rendering for McDonough Workforce Housing (Martin Riley Associates - Architects, P.C. photo)

The McDonough city council is considering changes to their zoning code. The changes would limit future multifamily housing within the city. Following discussion on April 19, they postponed voting on the item until their next meeting. The council next meets on Thursday, May 6.

The proposed changes will remove three zoning districts for five years: RTD (townhomes), RCD (condos) and RM-75 (apartments). This would prevent applicants from submitting new requests for multifamily housing. It does not affect any property already zoned one of the three districts.

The intent behind making changes is so other housing types have time to build within the city. This will balance with the recent influx of apartment requests (described below).

Council Discussion

Mayor Pro Temp Craig Elrod spoke against removing the RTD and RCD districts. He shared the zoning districts allow owners to renovate downtown buildings into residences. For example, the former Planter’s antique store is being converted into condos.

Renovating buildings increases the number of downtown residents. This then creates more support for downtown merchants. It also decreases traffic because houses produce less vehicle trips than businesses. Residents close to the square can walk instead of drive to shops and restaurants.

Councilman Elrod also suggested the council revise the RM-75 zoning district instead of removing it. Presently, the zoning district allows development up to eight units per acre. Through zoning conditions, applicants frequently receive up to 14 units per acre. He suggested the council lower the limit to five units per acre.

Lowering the density would allow smaller infill projects, but prevent large new construction development.

Apartments Trend

Since 2019, the council has heard several requests for apartments. They include the following:

During this time, the council denied an annexation request on McDonough Parkway. The applicant proposed a combo of apartments and townhomes between Jonesboro Road and SR 42.

Throughout Henry County, 80% of housing units consist of single-family detached homes. Other categories include single-family attached (townhomes) and apartments. McDonough staff are developing a similar measure of housing within the city.

Featured image shows rendering of McDonough Family Housing. Credit Martin Riley Associates – Architects, P.C.

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Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of Moving Henry Forward Community News. The website provides local news coverage in Henry County, Georgia.