Atlanta, GA, Code of Ordinances

Updated August 2021

By: City of Atlanta Bureau of Planning
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Table of Contents

Affordable Housing Programs

The city’s codified ordinances outline a multifaceted affordable housing program. Chapter 54 describes the city’s main affordable housing programs, including trust funds and the process for using public properties for affordable housing development. §16-33 establishes a Live Work District and §16-34 establishes a Mixed Residential Commercial District that encourage mixed-use development that is affordable to all residents. Specifically, §16-34.026 allows for a density bonus to be granted to projects in an MRC-1 district that are at least 20% affordable, and similar bonuses are available for MRC-2 and MRC-3 districts. §16-37 establishes a Westside Affordable Workforce Housing Overlay District that aims to provide diverse housing options for workers that are privately produced and managed and that are affordable in the long-term.

active transportation

The city’s land development code uses an overlay district to complement a major off-street trail project (§16-36.001, et seq.). The BeltLine is a major initiative to link green space, trails, transit and economic development in Atlanta via a rails-to-trails project. The regulations include definitions particular to the district, as well as standards that encourage smaller blocks, more and denser mixed-use development, and additional open space and active transportation facilities.

Content-Neutral Sign Regulation

The city’s zoning code includes sign regulations amended in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Reed v. Town of Gilbert (§16-28A.001 et seq.). These regulations adhere to a literal interpretation of content neutrality (i.e., you do not have to read a sign to know whether it is in compliance with the regulations). It’s definitions for billboard sign and building signature sign illustrate one content-neutral way to distinguish between different types of large signs without resorting to an on- versus off-premises distinction (§16-28A.004).

food trucks

The city’s business code includes Article XXIII on vending in the public right of way, which includes definitions (§30-1400), required permitting and licensing (§30-1426), and vending operational rules (§30-1403). The municipal code addresses litter (§30-1404) and aesthetics (§30-1405), truck location based on a weekly vending pass (§30-1427, §30-1431), and instances of denial, fines, suspensions and revocation (§30-1433). Vendor priority is given to disabled veterans and people who are blind. Permit fees are waived for disabled veterans (§30-1435).

Green Building

The city’s code of ordinances includes a chapter on sustainable development design standards. It requires all public buildings over 5,000 square feet to receive Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification (§75-19.C). The city’s green building policy is intended to reduce life-cycle costs, improve performance, and mitigate environmental impacts (§75-1). 

Shared Mobility

The city’s traffic and vehicles code contains regulations for the operation and deployment of shared dockless micromobility devices within the city (Article X). It presents permit requirements, data sharing requirements, parking policies, equity considerations, and other policies that regulate the deployment of shared micromobility devices in the city. The code requires shared micromobility operators to have payment options for the unbanked, present an equity plan when applying for a permit, and provide a monthly data report.

Social Equity

The city’s codified ordinances address equity concerns related to shareable dockless mobility devices. §150-407 of Chapter 150, Article X requires operators to have payment options besides credit cards, to maintain equitable distribution of devices, and to submit an equity plan to the city planning department.

Transfer of Development Rights

The city’s land development code authorizes transfer of development rights to preserve environmental, historical, and cultural resources (§16-28.023). It addresses definitions, explains sending and receiving area criteria and policies, the application and purchase process, severance, expiration, and future rezoning.

Atlanta, GA

2010 Population: 420,003

2010 Population Density: 3,154.31/square mile