Council's Emerging Leaders Initiative to Host First Industry Breakfast Next Wednesday
The Council's Emerging Leaders Initiative (ELI) will host it's first Industry Breakfast on Wednesday, April 20th at 8:00 am at the Council for Quality Growth Office.

Join senior leadership from Kimley Horn and learn about the variety of projects this nationally respected engineering company is working on in the Metro Atlanta Region; including the new Falcons Stadium, the BeltLine, Ponce City Market, NCR and many more!
If you have not enrolled in ELI, please visit this page to join and receive additional information on this event. Breakfast & coffee will be provided. Registration is complimentary to all current CQG members who have enrolled in ELI.
About ELI:
The Council has launched the Emerging Leaders Initiative that will Educate, Engage and Empower the Emerging Leaders within the Metro Atlanta area's growth and development industry. ELI members will participate in events lead by senior executives from engineering companies, developers, law firms, CIDs, utilities and other industry sectors. ELI will allow emerging leaders to expand their networks, plus knowledge of the development industry and regional policy issues. The Council wants ELI to equip our members with the depth and breadth of connections and information so that they are prepared to serve as the leaders of tomorrow.

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
April 14th, 2016

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Forsyth County Board of Commissioners Adopts New Impact Fee Ordinance
During a third public hearing on Thursday, April 7th, 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. The fees will go into effect June 1st, 2016. The Board also voted to not impose the new road impact fee on commercial development. At a work session this Tuesday, April 12th, the Board directed staff to work with the consultant, Duncan and Associates to break the commercial land use categories into multiple specific development types in order to consider charging commercial road impact fees later this year.

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.
Council Congratulates Town Center CID on Receiving Award for Bike Share Program

Congratulations to the Town Center CID for being awarded the 2016 CREATE Community Award for Technology. This award was presented by the Atlanta Regional Commission to the Town Center CID in Cobb County for its Zagster Town Center Bike Share Program, which was launched in November. Users of the bike share program can use the Zagster app or text function to unlock and reserve a bike at one of three stations throughout the CID. With the first hour free, and then only having an additional cost of $3 per hour, this very affordable program has nearly 2000 members who have logged 4,000 trips, and averages 80 new members per week. The Town Center CID was the only CID among only six local governments selected for this award. The Council commends the Cobb Town Center CID for innovation in promoting healthy, vibrant communities. 

Read more about the program HERE

Council Hosts Cherokee County Manager, Jerry Cooper at Cherokee Advisory
The Council hosted Cherokee County Manager, Jerry Cooper at this week's Cherokee Advisory Committee meeting on Wednesday, April 13th.

Cooper discussed the County's innovative use of Growth Boundary Agreements to foster collaboration between City and County Governments to encourage and facilitate quality growth and development. This agreement enables the County and participating City to work together to determine if potential development projects should be annexed into the City or collaborate in providing input on the development plans through a memorandum of understanding. This increases communication between the County, City and development entity to determine the highest opportunities to benefit the development and surrounding community and reach project agreement and approvals more efficiently.

Community Development Director, Jeff Watkins provided an overview of the County's development services web portal. The implementation of this system along with major process overhauls has allowed the County to go from a 3 month or more plan review and permitting process to a 48 hour to 20 days at maximum for plan approval. Customers can submit plans electronically as pdfs and communicate with County staff from each reviewing department simultaneously throughout the review process. Project inspections can also be submitted electronically on-site streamlining the process and maximizing staff efficiency. Click HERE to check out the County's web portal.

The Council thanks County Manager Jerry Cooper and Community Development Director, Jeff Watkins for their work to make Cherokee County a regional model for governmental support of balanced quality growth and development.
Mark Your Calendar for the Forsyth County Drug Summit Next Tuesday Night
Join the Forsyth County Drug Awareness Council for the Forsyth County Drug Summit next Tuesday Night, April 19th at 6:30 at the Forsyth Conference Center. Forsyth County Vice Chairman and District 4 Commissioner Cindy Mills will be speaking on this important issue along with 11Alive Reporter Jeremy Campbell, Sheriff Duane Piper and others.

Click HERE to learn more
Check out Chamblee State of the City Next Wednesday, April 20th!
The Chamblee Chamber will be hosting a State of the City with Mayor Eric Clarkson. This breakfast event will be held on Wednesday, April 20th from 7:30 to 9:00am at the Atlanta Marriott at Century Center. The Council for Quality Growth supports the City of Chamblee for its continued efforts to promote quality growth and development. 

Click HERE to Register
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.
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.
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
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