Housing study to gather data on neighborhoods and assets

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Griffin and Spalding County have contracted for a housing study, something that’s not been done since 2008.


Vaughn Irons, of APD Solutions, the contractor, explained it would be a survey in the community to inventory housing in town, to update the 2008 assessment and to determine the quality of housing here. “Sometimes it’s better to know where you are so you know where to go,” Vaughn said in a presentation last week to the Spalding Collaborative.


Irons said it would be “a windshield survey” of homes in the community, what can be seen from the street or sidewalk, “a visual assessment, not an inspection.” He asked the Collaborative for volunteers to go out with his teams into the neighborhoods “to assist with the nuances.”


The survey will look at every residential parcel in the community, with teams imputing data from the field on tablets. The visual assessment, he said, would be of occupancy, lot and structure aesthetics.


The survey asks “is it occupied? Is the yard and house kept up? Are sidewalks present? That’s a good indicator of desirability,” he said, explaining in similar studies in Atlanta, “neighborhoods with sidewalks have a 23 percent higher value than those without.”


He said teams would be taking pictures and looking for code violations, and will get some training from local Code Enforcement officers on the city and county codes.


The results from the study will help the local governments to possibly qualify not only for government grants, “but may help attract private investment too,” Irons said.


The government programs, he said, look at what problem needs to solved, while private investment looks at what the assets are. “Our goal is to identify the challenges and identify the assets,” Irons said. “Our goal is to help you articulate what Griffin-Spalding housing assets look like.”


Assets, he said, include libraries, hospitals, organizations, individuals and cultural. “We’ll not just tell you everything that’s wrong, but you also have some wonderful things to balance that.”


Irons said, “no community was constructed to be a bad neighborhood. All neighborhoods exist in a continuum — they move up or down based on investment. No community is irredeemable. It depends on the amount of investment.”


Factors that make a community include quality of life, crime, culture. “We will assess the neighborhoods on 12 factors,” he said.


The data the city and county will get back include those assessments in a “neighborhood wave, which gives you a picture of neighborhoods based on those factors, and those can be compared against the average and against each other.”


Neighborhoods can be equalized, he said, “by moving those factors up or down to produce the desired result. It’s not a one size fits all solution. We look at each neighborhood, individually.”


Irons said this will allow the local governments and organizations to “focus their energy where it’s needed.”


The neighborhood and housing databases will be provided to the city and county, at the end of the study, and they will be able to make adjustments to the data as there are changes, he explained.



Feb 14, 2017