Decatur, GA, Code of Ordinances

Updated December 2020

By: City of Decatur, GA
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Table of Contents

Accessory Dwelling Units

The city's unified development code permits one internal or attached accessory dwelling unit (ADU) by right in association with any single-family dwelling (§6.8.3). Use-specific standards address design and size, owner occupancy, unit size, parking, application, and equipment.

Tree Preservation and the Urban Forest 

The city’s unified development code includes tree protection standards that establish tree preservation, planting, and maintenance requirements for public and private property (§9.1). These standards address review processes, exemptions, tree canopy cover requirements, parking lot trees, tree canopy cover credits, utility company requirements, tree protection requirements, tree conservation plans, tree canopy replacement requirements, tree maintenance requirements, establishment of a tree bank, establishment of a tree planting account, standard tree canopy value, tree planting easements, development permits, violations and penalties, and appeals.

Urban Agriculture

The city's zoning code addresses urban agriculture. It defines as agricultural uses community gardens and three types of market gardens broken out by size: small (less than 5,000 SF), medium (5,000 SF–2 acres), and large (greater than 2 acres) (§12.1.1).

The code's allowed use table permits community gardens by right in all districts except RM-43; market gardens are permitted or conditional uses in many residential and nonresidential districts based on size (§6.2).

Zoning Reform and Code Writing

The city adopted a new Unified Development Ordinance in 2015 (Part IV). It includes a mix of use-based and form-based zoning standards. It defines and regulates uses based on broad categories, with select specific use types, and includes use-specific standards to minimize reliance on discretionary use permits. It is richly illustrated and uses tables to organize use permissions and dimensional standards.

Its purpose statements address implementing adopted plans; managing growth while retaining character; promoting the health, safety, morals, order, prosperity, and the general welfare of present and future inhabitants; promoting fire safety; providing adequate light and air; protecting the natural environment; providing safe opportunities for all modes of transportation; and facilitating the provision of adequate public facilities (§1.1.2.A.1).

Decatur, GA

2010 Population: 19,335

2010 Population Density: 4,527.04/square mile