Public Hearing on Tuesday for New Apartment & Cluster Home Standards

Photo shows a row of homes built closely together (stock photo).
(stock photo)

Henry County will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, June 20, to consider adopting new apartment & cluster home standards. The board meeting begins at 6:30 pm at the county office in McDonough.

The county has been developing new standards for multifamily housing since January. At the time, county commissioners adopted a 12-month moratorium on new requests for apartments or townhomes. The moratorium will end when the county adopts new standards.

New Apartment & Cluster Home Standards

The proposed standards are now available. The revisions would change the requirements for apartments, townhomes and cluster homes. In addition, the update would add a new section for multifamily design standards. The board will consider adopting the new standards after the public hearing on Tuesday.

Townhomes & Cluster Homes

Presently, the smallest single-family lot a builder can apply for in unincorporated Henry County is 7,260 square feet. This is equivalent to one-sixth of an acre. The proposal would lower this to 4,750 square feet. A 4,750 square foot lot would measure 45’ wide by about 105’ deep.

This new lot size — referenced as ’horizontal multifamily’ or ’cluster homes’ — would be available to builders in a couple zoning districts. They include the R-5, residential suburban (RS) and mobile home (RMH) districts. Builders with the R-5 or RMH zoning could also construct townhomes. These two zoning districts do not presently allow such use.

Townhomes and cluster homes would have a new minimum size of 1,200 square feet. They must have a two-car garage, and meet the following exterior standards:

  • at least one-third of the front and rear facade shall be brick or stone. The remainder of the front facade shall be a combo of two or more of the following: brick, stone, cement fiberboard, or board & batten.
  • there shall be a minimum three-foot water table on all sides, and
  • adjacent dwellings shall have a difference in architectural finish and appearance.

Amenity requirements would depend on the number of units. For projects up to 50 units, they must provide a children’s playground, dog park(s) and pocket park(s). Projects between 51–100 units must add a cabana, fire pit and grilling area. Finally, projects with 100+ units must build a pool, fitness facility and the aforementioned items.


Apartments would have slightly different architectural requirements. Their exterior finish must be brick or stone with a maximum of 35% cement fiberboard. All apartments would also be interior access only. Exterior walk-up corridors would be prohibited.

Amenity requirements would include a pool, fitness facility, children’s playground and dog park(s). They must also provide a cabana or clubhouse, fire pit and grilling area.

The minimum square feet are as follows: studio unit – 450 square feet, one-bedroom unit – 600 sq ft, two-bedroom unit – 900 sq ft, and three-bedroom unit – 1,200 sq ft. Generally speaking, new apartment complexes have a mixture of at least 90% one or two bedroom units. Larger three-bedroom units form a smaller percentage.

Finally, new multifamily projects must preserve a fifty-feet buffer on their perimeter. It must be undisturbed or enhanced. The proposed ordinance in its entirety is on the county website.

Featured image shows a subdivision with homes built closely together. Stock photo.

About Clayton 1445 Articles
Clayton Carte is the founder and owner of MHF News. He founded the site in 2017 to highlight transportation projects. Over time, he began covering other topics like new development so residents can best know what’s happening in our community.