Kristin Allin

January 5 Coalition Meeting on the Missing Middle


  • Carrie Sjogren and Wendy Cromwell, co-chairs
  • Alice Weinberg
  • Kristin Allin, 
  • Catherine Carter
  • Paula Collins
  • Lisa Bastin
  • Carol Burgess
  • Diana Caplan
  • Kathleen Kelly
  • Annie Godfrey
  • Tammy Washington
  • Elizabeth Ingram

Co-chair housekeeping updates 

  • Presented version new logo that emphasizes housing (our mission). Tweaks coming. 
  • Website updates on deck as well
  • Meetings: second Thursday of every month from 7 to 8:30 p.m.;
  • Mixture of virtual and hybrid meetings with in person taking place at North Decatur Presbyterian Church

Upcoming events

  • January 9, 7 p.m., Oakhurst Presbyterian – Root Causes of Homelessness; 
  • January 17, 7:30 p.m., Decatur City Hall, missing middle public meeting and vote

Decatur Updates

  • Affordable housing task force recommendation for year-round repair program – Commission approved funding for this program ($300,000 for 3 years). 
  • Housing trust fund – policy and procedures are almost finished. RFQ for North Village is almost finished (spring or summer).

DeKalb Updates

  • A Home For Everyone In DeKalb purchased a house in November and has four formerly unhoused individuals living there since before Christmas.
  • Paula will continue on Better Together Advisory Board for one more year.
  • Five-year extension to property tax exemption for seniors in DeKalb, with increase in income levels
  • Homestead exemptions in Decatur.

The Missing Middle — Kristin Allin, Affordable Housing Planner, City of Decatur

  • City Commission Vote is January 17. If it does not pass, it probably will not come back. 
  • Intense effort by Kristin and others, very controversial. Proponents need to speak out now.
  • This effort started with discussion on inclusivity – what do we want our City to look like?
  • 2014: advocates began focusing on missing middle housing.
  • Board of Education and City own some houses that could be converted into duplexes if ordinance passes — about 15 new units.
  • Kristin started working on missing middle housing two years ago. 81% of respondents to survey saw connection between affordability and diversity.
  • Vibrant cities have a mixture of housing types. Decatur drafted simple measures – fit into current footprint of existing house, up to four units, reduced parking minimums (most cities with affordable housing have done this).
  • Need to remember that this is policy — it will be implemented over many years. Also policy will evolve over time. Older policy allowed multi-family units; changed to favor single-family only in 1988. Housing units have decreased since then.
  • Decatur has also lost population in younger (first-time buyers) and older age groups. Decatur is very connected, good walkability, good transit. Urban infill will decrease greenhouse gas emissions.
  • How to respond to those who are concerned with property values? Dan Immergluck said that no study correlates decreased property values with increased density. Often see increase in value. Transit-oriented development increases values. Decatur has many units of affordable housing; it has not affected property values.
  • Missing middle effort is trying to return Decatur to the diversity that it had in the past.
  • Kristin encouraged us to attend January 17 meeting and speak. It doesn’t have to be more than one or two sentences about why this matters to you.
  • How to respond to concern with rent? Having smaller homes will give more opportunity for land trust to rent homes at lower rates. More smaller units give income to homeowner and provide more housing.
  • Projection is 3 to 11 new units/year. Allows more attainable housing. Allows those who work in Decatur to live in Decatur. Currently Decatur has 190 multi-family units.
  • Concern with investors buying properties: Mike Alexander of ARC presented  on investor-owned housing. Big companies want single-family homes at $200,000 that need some repair. Rent and then flip. Often in minority areas. Income at 40% of AMI. Decatur does not fit any of these criteria. Decatur has not seen a rise in investor-owned properties. Kristin is not comfortable with preventing investor purchases.
  • Concern with overcrowding in schools: We need to emphasize ebb and flow of school population, school system has had declining population recently, speculation that young families cannot afford Decatur — missing middle could help. One-bedroom units will not impact school population.
  • Possible concessions: looking at policy on short-term rentals (permitting system) — owner occupancy requirement, could expand to permitting and inspection system for all rentals.
  • Possibly only allow duplex and triplex (but triplex could have ADU). If this happens, Kristin would like to have quadplex as conditional use permit.
  • Also looking at parking — require 18 feet for on-street parking — would allow two cars to fit in front of most houses.
  • Inclusionary zoning if have five units (quad plus ADU). Possibly limit number of new permits in a period of time to give time to see how this change will work.

If cannot attend meeting, email the commissioners why you support the proposed changes. Kristin recommends sending emails even if you are attending the meeting. Make it personal. You can find the commissioners’ emails here.