The Atlanta BeltLine Affordable Housing initiative aims to establish community land trusts to keep homeownership within reach
The Atlanta BeltLine project encompasses 45 of Atlanta’s neighborhoods that represent every income level and every lifestyle. While that is a wonderful attribute, it has some neighbors concerned that property values in their affordable neighborhoods might grow beyond their means. Residents are also worried about gentrification impacting the historic fabric of their communities. The Atlanta BeltLine Partnership has listened to these concerns and has answered them with the Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative. And it’s bigger than just the Atlanta BeltLine – this is a citywide collaboration.
So what exactly is a land trust and how does it preserve property prices? The board of the Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative will purchase the physical land upon which homes sit. Then, when a homeowner purchases a house, they purchase just the house and not the land, thereby lowering the overall purchase price and making it more affordable.
Who runs the land trust? A combination of people run the individual land trusts – it is one-third business, one-third neighborhood residents, and one-third non-profits. One member of each of the community land trusts will represent their board on the Collaborative. The Atlanta Land Trust Collaborative has a nine-member board and is headed by Tony Pickett as executive director (who has experience working with the Atlanta Housing Authority).
Where are Atlanta’s land trusts? One land trust is already underway in the Atlanta BeltLine neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Atlanta Housing Association of Neighborhood-Based Developers are working with the collaborative and have already purchased 100 homes in Pittsburgh in southwest Atlanta.
This is very exciting to see the Atlanta BeltLine respond to residents’ concerns and to involve the city and non-profits on a city-wide scale and not just in Atlanta BeltLine neighborhoods. It’s very important to preserve the history of our neighborhoods, to keep them affordable, and to increase quality of life through transit, trails, and parks.
If you would like to read more, reporter Maria Saporta with the Atlanta Business Chronicle wrote a great article on keeping the BeltLine area affordable.