Council Seeks Summer Policy and Marketing Interns
It is that time of year again when many undergraduate and graduate students are finalizing their spring semester schedules.  The Council is currently seeking independent, dedicated individuals to serve in summer unpaid internships.
  
Policy Interns
Interns will be expected to research various public policy issues affecting the agency, write articles for newsletters and assist regular staff with formulating real public policies. Those seeking a bachelor's or master's degree in Public Administration, Urban Planning, Political Science or other Public Policy related areas of study will be most successful.  
 
For a complete overview of the POLICY internship requirements click HERE or contact Chelsea Hagood at
 
Marketing Interns
Will work on a variety of projects that leverage and develop creativity and  communication skills in a real world environment. Applicants studying Marketing, PR, English or related fields are preferred.
 
For a complete overview of the MARKETING internship requirements click HERE or contact Amanda Janaskie at
 
  
Council Hosts City of Atlanta Planning Director, Charletta Wilson Jacks at Atlanta Advisory
The Council hosted City of Atlanta Office of Planning Director, Charletta Wilson Jacks at the Atlanta Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday, April 6th. Jacks provided a thorough update of the recently completing zoning code diagnostic and discussed the short term fixes and long term plans to overhaul the city's zoning ordinance.

Jacks recognized many of the concerns brought up by Council for Quality Growth members during the stakeholder input process. Some of these include fixing the broken SAP process, which is triggered on almost all development projects in the City, as well as a lack of coordination or consistent interpretation when multiple overlays affect a project (i.e. near Beltline and in a historic district). Jacks announced that the City just hired two new planners to work on SAP review and fixing this process is a high priority. Council members also brought up the broken nature of the NPU system. The 25 NPUs in the City all operate differently and do not understand the role their role in the development process, which can result in delaying a project 6 to 12 months prior to permitting resulting in huge expenses. The committee suggested that NPU leadership be educated on their advisory role and have a maximum of 2 months to make recommendations on a project. Additionally, Neighborhood Blueprint plans adopted by City Council repeatedly disregard property rights of developers and commercial property owners. Jacks is working to implement a new policy to require property owner engagement before any rezoning action recommended in these plans can take place.  The Atlanta Advisory Committee stressed the need to implement the "quick fixes" now and accomplish the zoning ordinance re-write in a timely, efficient manner, in order to capitalize on our current development cycle.

Click HERE to view the full presentation on the zoning re-write Initiative

The Council thanks Charletta Wilson Jacks for her continued participation with the Council for Quality Growth and her commitment to quality growth and development in the City of Atlanta.
April 8th, 2016

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Forsyth County Board of Commissioners Adopts New Impact Fee Ordinance
At last night's public hearing, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners voted to adopt the proposed impact fees ordinance. The total impact fee for a single family home will be $3,641, a $991 increase from the current impact fee. This is significantly less than the $8,961 per home fee proposed last fall. 


Click HERE to view the Impact Fee Ordinance adopted.

The Council for Quality Growth has been involved with this issue since the release of the first impact fee study draft in August last year.  Click HERE to read more about the original proposal. During the first public hearing on November 19th, James Touchton, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at the Council for Quality Growth addressed the Board of Commissioners to express concerns and request that the fees be recalculated to account for the $200 Million infrastructure bond and the recently announced $156 Million in matching funding from GDOT as well as the projected annual funding funding from House Bill 170 (State Transportation Funding Bill), totaling $75 Million per year, that will be used to construct prioritized transportation improvement projects in Forsyth County. The Board directed the consultant, Duncan and Associates to recalculate the fees with these considerations. While the revised study found that given this new State transportation funding no transportation impact fee was justified using the standard consumption calculation to fund transportation improvements at a 1 to 1 Level of Service (LOS) ratio, the consultant did, however, offer fee options calculated using a higher Level of Service (1.1, 1.2, and 1.3), stating that the methodology was not the industry standard, but would allow the County to collect a higher fee. The Impact Fee Advisory Committee voted 5 to 3 to recommend the fees be calculated with a 1.2 LOS ratio. The Board voted last night to approve the proposed impact fee ordinance using a 1.2 LOS ratio resulting in the fee schedule above.  Click HERE to view the revised Impact Fee Study.

The Council commends the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners and Impact Fee Advisory Committee members on listening to stakeholder input and ensuring that the fees are reasonable in nature and based on sound financial calculations. The Council looks forward to continuing to work with the County on adopting land use policies that support balanced, quality growth.
 
Atlanta Office of Buildings Technical Advisory Committee Discusses Operational Redesign Progress
The City of Atlanta Commissioner of planning and community development, Tim Keane provided an update on major changes to the office of buildings at the Technical Advisory Committee meeting on Tuesday, April 5th. Redesigning the permitting process to be organized around type of government function was a recommendation from the BKD report released earlier this year. Commissioner Keane plans to have this new process underway by May 2nd.

The new permitting process will divide customers into different areas based on their project type including self service, express, Residential, residential and light commercial renovations, commercial, and major projects. Staff will be trained to be experts in their project type and will move customers through the process efficiently with accurate information. Commissioner Keane explained that the biggest focus at the onset is on training staff. The management and implementation team is developing a complete staffing plan for each of the permit streams, recognizing that the internal culture change is just as important as the physical process changes.

On May 2nd, which is also "Customer Appreciation Day" at the City, Commissioner Keane expects two or three of these permit streams to be up and running with knowledgeable, trained staff in place. A draft of the regulatory reforms, being developed by BKD, will also be available May 2nd. The Council Commends Commissioner Keane and his staff for their commitment to implementing this new, more efficient and effective process, making the City of Atlanta a better place to do business.
 
Council Hosts Chamblee Mayor, Eric Clarkson at DeKalb Advisory
The Council hosted Mayor of Chamblee, Eric Clakson at the DeKalb Advisory Committee meeting on Thursday, April 7th. Mayor Clarkson gave an overview of exciting development projects recently completed and in the works now. Since 2010, Chamblee has grown in population from 9,892 to 27,500 residents last year. To keep up with this fast growth and development, the City has been working to update their Comprehensive Plan and Unified Development Ordinance so that standards are relevant to today's development and socioeconomic trends and effectively guide development in the City's vision.

Some of these changes recently implemented to promote targeted redevelopment include reducing residential infill lot size and set back requirements, allowing accessory dwelling units and community gardens, allowing clustered cottage developments and live-work units, decreasing minimum unit size for mutlifamily residential and allowing brew-pups, micro-breweries and food trucks in the City.

Mayor Clarkson also provided an overview of the Chamblee Town Center LCI development plans around the MARTA station as well as the new partnership with the City of Doraville on a Buford Highway LCI study grant awarded this year. The City is making major streetscape improvements along Peachtree Road, Chamblee-Dunwoody Road and Johnson-Ferry Road. The City is excited about the significant increase in development activity across residential, commercial and mixed use development types.

To view the Mayor's full presentation, click HERE

The Council thanks Mayor Clarkson for his participation in the DeKalb Advisory Committee and for the City's commitment to supporting quality growth and development in Chamblee.
 
Congratulations to Council Members Ranked as Atlanta's Top 25 Commercial Real Estate Firms
The Atlanta Business Chronicle released it's 2016 List of the top commercial real estate brokerage firms in Metro Atlanta. The rankings are based on each firm's gross dollar volume of sales and leasing transactions out of their Atlanta office last year. Six of the 25 firms listed are members of the Council for Quality Growth. The Council congratulates these firms on their success in 2015 and looks forward to continuing to work with you to build upon that success this year and beyond.

Congratulations to the following Council members:
  • JLL
  • CBRE
  • Cushman and Wakefield
  • The Shopping Center Group
  • Ackerman and Co.
  • Cresa Atlanta 

Read the article and view the full list HERE
 
Sandy Springs Zoning Diagnostic and Code Re-Write Approach Available for Public Review
On Tuesday, March 29th, at a special called work session, Sandy Springs Mayor and City Council reviewed the City's recently completed zoning code diagnostic report. 

The report recommends moving the project plan review and zoning process out of City Hall, giving full authority to approve and deny projects to community development staff based on the zoning requirements. The report divides the City into three focus areas where different types of approaches will be applied: Protected Neighborhoods (shown in orange in the map to the right), evolving areas (shown in grey), and opportunity areas (shown in purple).  Ten overarching goals are identified for the zoning code update project: (1) create a zoning code that can effectively implement the comprehensive plan, (2) improve readability while retaining design standards for single-family districts, (3) identify "protected" neighborhoods that should not be subject to additional rezoning or variances that allow substandard lots, (4) establish design standards for all residential development, (5) set higher requirements transitioning zoning districts, (6) set consistent development process expectations, (7) eliminate overlay zones, (8) create a separate Perimeter Center zoning district, (9) allow expedited review in targeted areas, and (10) eliminate outdated conditions of zoning. Theses goals were identified through extensive plan and code review ad stakeholder input from the Sandy Springs Zoning Advisory Committee, neighborhood representatives, business owners,the development community and Sandy Springs staff.  Click  HERE  to view the full presentation on the Zoning Code Diagnostic Report. The zoning code re-write initiative is being conducted parallel to the comprehensive plan update with expected adoption in Fall of 2017.

Click HERE to view the full Diagnostic Report

Find more information on the Zoning Diagnostic, Code Re-Write Initiative and Comprehensive Plan  HERE
 
 
New Draft of Perimeter Center Overlay Available for Public Comment
The City of Dunwoody has released a new draft of the Perimeter Center Overlay. The Council has been involved with this overlay planning process since its initial kick-off in May 2014. Upon review of the prior draft in conjunction with several Council members, the Council for Quality Growth prepared a list of comments and met with Dunwoody Community Development staff to discuss addressing concerns on behalf of the development community in the new draft

While the new draft addresses some of the Council's concerns such as removing signage restrictions and allowing preserved existing open space to count towards open space requirements, many concerns related to building height, materials and site planning were not addressed.  Click HERE to view a table of Comments made to staff by the Council. 

Dunwoody Mayor and City Council will hold a work session to discuss the revised draft and feedback thus far on May 4th at 5:00. The Council will be in attendance at the work session and will continue to work closely with City staff and Council to develop an overlay that promotes continued quality development of the Perimeter Center area.

Click HERE to view the full Perimeter Center Overlay and Districts Draft

Please provide any comments on the draft overlay to Policy Analyst, Chelsea Hagood at 770-813-3374 or ch@councilforqualitygrowth.org 
 
Fulton County Mayors Unanimously Vote to Move Forward on 2016 TSPLOST Effort

On Thursday March 31st, Fulton County Mayors and County Commissioners met to discuss the Transportation SPLOST created from SB 369 that passed during the legislative session. If SB 369 is approved by the governor, the City of Atlanta will be allowed to propose a TSPLOST with 1/2 penny going to transportation road and bridge improvements and 1/2 penny going to MARTA, while the rest of Fulton County, the 13 other cities and unincorporated area, can propose a TSPLOST with 3/4 penny going to transportation road and bridge improvements reserving 1/4 penny for potential transit funding in the future.

In order for the TSPLOST referendum to be included on the general election ballot in November, all 13 cities must agree on the project lists and enter into a formal intergovernmental agreement 90 days before the election. The estimated revenue from the TSPLOST (ranging from $500 - 600 million outside the City of Atlanta) will be divided among the municipalities based on population. Each city will identify needs and priorities and develop their own project list to be included in the program and if passed, funding for improvements on the project list will go directly to the municipalities for implementation.  The legislation requires that 60 percent of the Fulton County population must vote in favor of the referendum in November in order for the TSPLOST to be approved. If approved, collection can begin as early as April 1st, 2017.

The Council commends Fulton County Commissioners and Mayors for unanimously voting to give their residents the opportunity to vote on funding transportation improvements that will alleviate traffic congestion and bolster economic development efforts in Fulton County and across our region.

Click HERE to learn more about the TSPLOST Proposal and SB 369

Click HERE to view the full presentation from the Mayor's Meeting

 
Register Now for the Georgia Farm & Erosion Control Expo with Former Governor Roy Barnes


 
Annual Meet and Greet with County Commission Chairs and Metro Mayors, Record Breaking Success!

Last Thursday night's Meet and Greet was a huge success with more metro area elected officials and VIP guests than ever before.  Council members and guests heard remarks from ARC Chairman, Kerry Armstrong and City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on the Atlanta metro area's regional strength and continuous economic success. Watch a video of the event highlights below!



Mayors, City Council members,  County Chairmen and County Commissioners, CID Directors and ARC Board members were in attendance from all around the 21 county region
Other VIP guests in attendance included:
U.S. Congressman Tom Graves
Secretary of State Brian Kemp
Attorney General Sam Olens
State Senator Judson Hill
State Senator Brandon Beach
State Representative John Carson

The Council thanks all of our elected officials that made it to the event and commends their commitment to regional growth and collaboration through the Atlanta Regional Commission and the Council for Quality Growth.  Thank you to all of the sponsors for supporting this event and Council for Quality Growth's work.
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The Council for Quality Growth | 770-813-3370 | jt@councilforqualitygrowth.org 
http://www.councilforqualitygrowth.org
5901-C Peachtree Dunwoody Road
Suite 500
Atlanta, GA 30328