The city’s new zoning ordinance went into effect on September 1st, 2019 and is a big step towards the final goal of the 2033 plan. The 2033 plan calls for “legalizing Savannah’s historic buildings.” Many of the old multi-family structures and town homes violated the old zoning because of things like max occupancy, parking space regulations, and units per acre. The 2033 plan calls for more mixed use and more multi-family development. The plan also calls for easier permitting and more experimentation in land use outside of the historic district (Starland yard could be an example of the kind of experimentation that the plan wishes to encourage, but it seems experimentation in residential development is also on the table.) The mixed use theme is big too — the planners here want neighborhoods to include shops, public spaces, and gathering places all within walking distance. I’ll have a new post at some point going over the new zoning in much more detail.
First of all, the city council hasn’t officially adopted this plan — that vote is scheduled for later this month. Assuming they do (which appears likely), they don’t even have to stick to the plan. I believe they will though because this plan was developed with cooperation and input from various stakeholders in the community and seems to be beneficial to pretty much everyone except folks who have to drive through town. This plan will definitely be a boon to real estate investors, homeowners, the city’s budget, and even most renters who will benefit from more livable neighborhoods and new development which will keep rents in check by increasing supply (in theory.)
How much do the city planners behind 2033 think their design recommendations will increase property valuations (and by association tax revenue to the city)?
…50% is on the very low end of what is possible. In fact, it’s more likely that in 2017 dollars values would be 150-200% higher if the Plan is followed
-Downtown Savannah 2033, page 22.
That’s huge, and that’s exactly why I and so many investors I know are zeroed in on buying run-down buildings east and west of downtown and renovating them now. If this plan is put into action,
I believe property in places like Benjamin Van Clark, Cann Park, Live Oak, and parts of West Savannah to double in value,
much like property in Starland and the blocks east and west of Forsyth have done in the last decade. Keep your eye out for follow-up posts here on the blog, and as always, if you have any questions or comments leave one below or find us on Facebook.
Author: Pat Wilver