Housing study includes recommendations

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This is according to Vaughn Irons of APD Solutions, who conducted a joint housing study for the county and City of Griffin. Irons made a presentation on the county portion of the results earlier this week, entitled “Future in the GRaSP,” named for Griffin and Spalding County.

The study included a windshield and later a data survey of 10,331 parcels in Spalding County. The data area included all of Griffin city limits and the surrounding high density population areas in unincorporated Spalding County, but not the entire county. It did not include the cities of Sunny Side, Orchard Hill or the developments of Sun City Peachtree or Heron Bay.

The Spalding “dataset” included 1,829 parcels outside of Griffin city limits, with 1,726 surveyed structures and 103 surveyed vacant lots.

Of those, 60 percent were listed in fair condition, 14.6 percent in poor condition, 13.2 percent in good condition, 3.8 percent with no structure, 3.6 percent in dilapidated condition, 2.9 percent in excellent condition, and 1.8 percent not visible.

According to Irons, 32.1 percent are physically distressed, blight is 18.2 percent, 16.1 percent with very low curb appeal and there were 256 or 13.9 percent vacant properties.

The study also included the local jobs impact and neighborhood assessments. Irons explained the factors included in the rankings for the 22 neighborhoods in the overall study were — review of census data, property value, owner occupancy, spending and earning of residents in each neighborhood.

For the employment impact, he said, there are 21,452 employees in Spalding dataset (study area) including 7,811 outside Griffin. Of those employed in Spalding County, 14,523 live outside of the county.

The county has 24,449 working residents, with 6,929 living and working here, 17,520 working outside the county so 32 percent of their jobs are here, Irons explained.

The neighborhood rating or typology included:

• Exceptional — Neighborhoods that are the most competitive, locally and regionally, in all indicators.

• Stable — Attractive neighborhoods with strong housing demand and a balanced assessment across indicators.

• Transitional — Neighborhoods generally experiencing signs of improved conditions or alternatively the first signs of decline.

• Vulnerable — Neighborhoods that are susceptible to exposure to a variety of factors that threaten the vitality of the area and its residents.

• Distressed — Neighborhoods that have experienced decline among multiple indicators for some time.

On the map Irons showed with the ratings, Commissioner Gwen Flowers-Taylor noted the “distressed” neighborhoods were all in her district.

According to the study, the following were listed as distressed: East Griffin I, East Griffin II, Thomaston Mill, and census areas 604003, 604004 and 604005 which are roughly area west of Hill Street, south of McIntosh Road, and east and north of city limits.

Owner occupancy was another factor, with percentages ranging from a low of 24.1 percent in Meriwether, Park District and three other census districts including two of those above, to 87.5 percent in the Maple Drive/Maddox district.

The study included 12 possible solutions, but noted solutions would be different and needed to be tailored to each neighborhood.

The solutions included employer-assisted housing; adopt-a-school partnerships; lease-purchase options; renovation tax abatement; housing trust fund; renovation tax-credits; stronger neighborhood identities; infill development/rehabilitation; code enforcement priorities; vacant property receivership; modular housing initiative; and connecting community and economic development.

Griffin-Spalding Land Bank Authority Chairman Newton Galloway, also the county zoning attorney, liked the study and noted some of these are being done through the Land Bank, including a lease/purchase trial the Land Bank is trying with a local developer for three parcels.

The Land Bank also looks to do infill housing, and works with the city and county and blight removal. It will be continuing its policy of requiring owner occupancy for homes it sells, following the direction of the commissioners.

The full report is available as part of agenda for the Jan. 22 meeting at https://spaldingcounty.novusagenda.com/agendapublic/.