Box 18, Folder 23, Document 1

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April 12, 1967

MEMORANDUM TO; Mr, Cecil A. Alexander, Chairman
Housing Resources Committee

During the past several weeks I have become increasingly concerned over
progress (or perhaps lack of it) being made in getting many of our proposed low cost
housing projects off the ground. Very few have actually made it, thus far. Recently
at least eight (8) developers have talked with me seriously about it. They are be-
coming quite apprehensive about the success of the program, unless some of the current
obstacles and roadblocks are removed and several have suggested withdrawing from the
program entirely,

The summary report on problem areas, recently prepared for the Executive
Group meeting of the Housing Resources Committee, April 16, tends te bring the problems
into sharp focus, Of legitimate proposals which have already been made, #900 units are
in jeopardy. The principal problems are the following:

l. Difficulty for developers in obtaining suitable land at prices
which make development of low cost housing economically feasible,

2. Constant opposition by single family home owners to apartment
and co-op developments anywhere in the general area in which they live.

3. Limitation on availability of sites considered “excellent” by FHA;
and FHA's extreme conservatism on approving sites in proximity to
other approved sites, for fear of glutting the market in such areas.

4%, Reluctance of the Planning Department to support necessary re-
zoning in certain areas for which general plans have been made or are
contemplated for other types of development in the future.

5. Opposition by NAACP and local Negro officials in HUD to construction
of additional low cost housing in areas which they consider occupied
predominately by Negroes, The effect of this is being also reflected
in FHA. This has reached a very serious and critical stage and is
extremely detrementai to the program.

6. Difficulty, politically, because of neighborheed objections to get
rezoning of avallabie sites fer low cost housing.

Mr. Cecil A. Alexander
Page 2,

Qne barometer of the seriousness of the problem is indicated by the decreasing
number of housing units permitted in Atlanta in recent years:

1963 + 91293: 1964 + 3629; 1965 - 2656; 1966 = 2382

Still another problem is the difficulty, with current facilities, in keeping
up with the program and timely foliow through on all proposed developments. On
February 20, we had 59 known proposals. Today we have 70 and the number is increasing.
It is virtually impossible under our present system for one person, myself, to timely
follow up on all projects as closely as is desirable or essential to insure their
successful execution.

Furthermore, our Committee Panels have not thus far proven very productive.
Keeping contact with them is am@viaogy job within itself.
aomca rm ing
Consequently, as the program progresses I am becoming more and more conscious
of the necessity for a change in procedures; and suggest the following:

A. An all out effort be made to resolve the current difficulty with HUD,
promoted by the NAACP, I do not see how the City can afford to lose on this issue, and
I doubt that it can be satisfactorily resolved at the local level, but will require
strong representations from the Mayor directeto Washington.

B. Implement John Cherry's initial suggestion of setting up teams of key
people (Realtor, Financier, Site Planner, Architect, Builder and when appropriate, a
Nonprofit Sponser)., This is perhaps the most practical approach to this complex
problem. Each team could thus be given a specific assignment of a certain number of
units to produce. Ten such teams with assignments of 500 units each seems appropriate
to start with. This would produce 5,000 units (or one year's goal for the program),
Such procedure would also permit a pyramiding of administration through the Housing
Resources Committee, in as much as we could then deal with only one selected individual
(Captain) of each team. This would also automatically broaden the base of responsibility
and effort among the several key people on each team, rather than leaving it all to
individual developers. Other developers, of course, would not be discouraged, and more
time would be available for lending assistance and advice to them when needed.

C. Initiate concrete steps toward creation of a Housing Development
Corporation, with adequate funds, and with mission similar to the one in Philadelphia.

D, Also, an educational program should be conducted fer City officials
(Board of Aldermen and Planning Board) to thoroughly acquaint them as to needs for
housing and advantages of the program; and with the general public, explaining how the
people themselves can help rather than hinder the program. The latter should preferably
be done through lay groups. The Board of Aldermen should be specifically briefed on
the preblems confronting the Housing Resources Committee in accomplishment of its
mission and their whole hearted cooperation and suppert where needed, should be solicited.

E. A series of clear talking, straight from the shoulder, newspaper, TV,
and radio presentations are needed as to requirements and obstacles that need to be over=
come. This is very much in order now. (A typical example ef this need was illustrated
in the Zoning Committee hearing April 6, (#2-67-33-G) in which petition to rezone a
20-aecre tract off Browns Mill Read from N-1 to A-1, to permit construction of 264 units

Mr. Cecil A. Alexander
Page 3.

of 221 d (3) co-op sales housing was denied, over ruling the Joing Planning Board
recommendation, because people in the general neighborhood apparently did not under-
stand what was proposed and about a dozen people from the area appeared in opposition
at the hearing. This opposition killed the rezoning and may cause the death of the
project). .

F. Rezoning is needed of substantial tracts of vacant Industrial and low
density Residential land to higher density Residential, with certain portions ear
marked for low cost housing. In this connection, major policy decisions are necessary
as to which is to have preference; continuation of existing zoning in anticipation of
future development, which may never materialize, or making suitable locations
available now to meet the City's urgent need for low cost housing. In this connection,
three specific plans, Collier Heights, Boulder Park and the Peyton Road area, all perhaps
well conceived at the time they were prepared, constitute the majority of the open land
area in the western part of the City and most ef it is currently reserved for single
family development at very low density. The current needs of the City for higher density
development, requires a reconsideration and evaluation of those plans. The R-4 Zoning
in the bulk of the Seventh Ward, much of it open land, is another example.

Recommend the precedures proposed in A - F above be placed in effect as
soon as possible.


Malcolm D, Jones
Supervisor of Inspection Services


CC: “hayor Ivan Allen, Jr.
Mx, Dan E. Sweat, Jr.
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