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.