They’re nicknamed PVC farms, for the pipes sprouting out of the ground where houses were never built.
Parcels of partially developed land are ubiquitous in the metro Atlanta area, which was one of the hardest hit in the housing bubble crash. Conyers is looking at ways of addressing these plots and taking the opportunity to shape the stock of housing in the city limits.
On Wednesday, at the Dec. 1 meeting, the city council will look at the idea of possibly buying back unbuilt development property.
There are no actions being taken with this discussion, said Councilman Marty Jones. “We’ve got some discussion points to get a feel for what the group thinks we ought to do and move things forward, to see if there’s a consensus,” he said. Another issue, if the council is in favor of the idea, is whether it would be financially feasible.
It’s an idea that’s been brought up in passing throughout the past year.
The aim is to take some of the surplus housing stock out of the market by potentially developing the land into greenspace or other uses. The additional goal is to encourage owner occupied housing in the city instead of renter occupied housing.
“The problem is our housing stock as a whole, over 50 percent, is tenant occupied. It’s less than 50 percent owner occupied. That’s a bad ratio,” said Jones. Nationally, the average for housing has been about 60 percent owner occupied, he said.
“A lot of housing stock is being bought by investors. They’re fixing it up and turning it into rentals.”
“As a community as a whole, it’s just better off,” said Jones. “If you have a high percentage of owner occupied, there’s more community involvement by the residents. They’re more stable,” said Jones. Owners tend to bring a higher average income as well, he said.
If the idea does move forward, the city would likely gather community input, said Jones.
The city may also look at restricting zoning to not allow duplexes and triplexes; traditional apartment complex zoning would not be changed.