Annual Meet and Greet with County Commission Chairs and Metro Mayors NEXT WEEK!

Register today for the Council for Quality Growth's Annual Meet & Greet with County Commission Chairs and Metro Mayors NEXT Wednesday, March 23, 2016
There is no other event across the region where this many mayors, commission chairs and other elected officials gather. The Council is extremely fortunate to have the ability to assemble such an esteemed group for our members to interact with in a closed, inviting setting.

Special guests include over 75 of our regions Mayors, County Chairmen, City Council members, County Commissioners, ARC Board members and State Agency Commissioners.

Confirmed VIP guests include:
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
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed

Sponsorships still available too! Email Amanda,
Council Member Feedback Requested - Changes to Brookhaven Stormwater Requirements
The City of Brookhaven has requested feedback from the Council for Quality Growth on changes to their Stormwater Management Requirements. The intent of the proposed ordinance amendments is to both clarify stormwater management requirements across the city as well as capture more large single family infill developments that are creating stormwater concerns in neighborhoods with traditionally smaller lots. In order to accomplish this, the City is proposing to change the threshold for developments subject to the stormwater management standards from 5,000 square feet of impervious cover to 3,000 square feet or more of impervious cover.  The proposed changes also include an amendment to the post-development performance criteria which would require stormwater runoff storage or reuse equivalent to 1.2 inches.

To view the working draft of the proposed ordinance changes, click HERE

Please provide any comments on the proposal to Policy Analyst, Chelsea Hagood at 770-813-3374 or 
March 17th, 2016

What are Council Members saying about their investment in the Council for Quality Growth?


770-813-3381, for sponsorship information .


The Council is hosting SEVEN State of the County events this year!
Save the date for more details to come for:

Forsyth State of the County
May 19, 11:30 AM

Forsyth County Board of Commissioners to Continue to Discuss New Impact Fees 
The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners continued the discussion on proposed impact fees during a special called work session on Wednesday, March 16th. The Board discussed a recommendation made last week by the County's Impact Fee Advisory Committee to adopt transportation impact fees at a higher level of service. The Board unanimously voted to hold another public hearing on a proposed impact fee ordinance with a fee schedule as recommended by the Impact Fee Advisory Committee. The hearing will take place on Thursday, April 7th at 5:00.

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 BOC directed the consultant, Duncan and Associates to recalculate the fees with these considerations.  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 report 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.During their meeting on Tuesday, March 1st, t he Impact Fee Advisory Committee voted 5 to 3 to recommend the fees be calculated with a 1.2 LOS ratio, resulting in a transportation impact fee of $1,968 per single family residence and $4,280 per 1,000 sq. ft. of commercial. 

The Board of Commissioners continues to express concern regarding the potential negative impact the fees will have on attracting commercial development to the County. The Board asked James McCoy, President of the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce to provide his opinion during the works session. McCoy explained that with land prices in Forsyth already creating thin margins for potential businesses and developers, impact fees on commercial, office and industrial will make many of these deals impossible and could have a detrimental impact on the County's efforts to increase the commercial tax base. The Board is also concerned that the Parks and Recreation Impact Fee is not sufficient to fund needed parks improvements. The Board agreed that the Advisory Committee's recommendation to conduct a new study and recalculate the fees when the County has completed their Comprehensive Transportation Plan and Parks and Recreation Master Plan next year would be appropriate. The Board will hear public input at the hearing on April 7th before adopting a new impact fee ordinance and fee schedule.

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.

Click HERE to view the revised Impact Fee Study
Council Hosts Roundtable Discussion with Snellville City Officials and Council Members on Town Center Development Best Practices 
On Friday, March 11th, the Council hosted a roundtable discussion with City of Snellville officials and Council members regarding best practices for developing the City's Town Center Area. Representatives from the City included Mayor Tom Witts, City Councilmembers Dave Emanuel, Barbara Bender and Christy Lenski, City Manager Butch Sanders, Economic Development Manager Eric Van Otteren, Interim Planning Director Jason Thompson and Zoning Administrator Brian Arrington, with Council members from all sectors of the industry including developers, brokers, attorneys, engineers and planners.

Council members led a dynamic discussion focused on what steps the City should take to jumpstart development of their Town Center and ensure that desired quality development is achievable. The conversation ranged from economic feasibility and market demand, the City's land acquisition and assemblage strategy, and creating real flexibility in the regulatory framework. Some of the challenges or barriers to development characterizing the Town Center project is the number of individual parcels, most of which are already built-out, with over 400 distinct property owners. Council members urged City officials to consider undertaking the first phase of property acquisition, which would allow them to control the land and partner with developers to achieve the desired design and types of development outlined in their master plan.

Key takeaways from the discussion included the need for a flexible Form Based Code that allows concurrent variances and site specific plan approvals, commitment from the City to partner with developers on property assemblage, parking and stormwater management, and the need for a critical mass in the first phase of development to reduce risk and create a market that will spur adjacent development.

The Council commends the City of Snellville for engaging the development community and showing their commitment to quality growth and development and thanks all of the Council members for participating and offering their expertise to the City.
Georgia Brownfield Association to Host Annual Brownfield Seminar - April 20th
T he Georgia Brownfield Association is hosting its second annual Brownfield Seminar at Georgia Power (241 Ralph McGill Boulevard NE, Atlanta, GA 30308) on Wednesday, April 20, 2016 from 8a-5p (with a reception following from 5:30-7:30p), providing a forum for discussions about the environmental, financial, regulatory, and community factors that guide brownfield remediation and redevelopment. GBA will bring together information, experience, and research to provide Seminar participants a greater knowledge and ability to help revitalize their respective communities.
Judson (Jud) H. Turner, Director of the Environmental Protection Division (EPD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, will deliver the event's keynote presentation. Sessions include Partnership Strategies for In-town Revitalization, Brownfield Redevelopment of Fort McPherson, USEPA Region IV and State of Georgia Regulatory Update, Vapor Intrusion Mitigation Variables, Best Practices, and Innovative Technologies, and Georgia Economic Development.

GBA is offering early-bird registration for a discounted price of $125/person through March 18. C lick  HERE to for more information about speakers, sessions, and sponsorship opportunities. 

DeKalb Fiscal Oversight Committee Discusses Department Vacancies and Incentive Program
The DeKalb County Development Services Fiscal Oversight Committee met on Monday, March 7th to discuss issues and updates with County department heads and representatives from the development industry. 

County officials reported that they are dealing with numerous job vacancies across development services departments causing project delays. Vacancies include a plan review supervisor, 4 plan reviewers, 2 building inspectors, an arborist and 2 utilities inspectors. While the County is utilizing 3rd party contractors to address the department's workload, delays for plan review and inspections can be expected. The County is working to fill these open positions with qualified personnel as soon as possible. Click HERE to view the County job postings. 

DeKalb County COO, Luz Borerro provided information on the proposed economic incentives policy that will go to the Board of Commissioners for review later this month. The proposed policy would provide economic incentives to businesses looking to relocate or expand in DeKalb County within targeted industries identified in the Economic Development Strategic Plan. These industries include Professional and Business Services, Life Sciences, Tourism, Logistics, Construction and Advanced Manufacturing. Eligible businesses would have to satisfy economic impact requirements regarding taxable value, job creation and water/sewer revenue. The available incentives will include discounted land development and permit fees, water and sewer fees based on investment and taxable value, with credit given for sustainable building certifications. A final version of the proposed incentive program will be available next week.
DeKalb State of the County - A Huge Success!

Over 400 Council members, elected officials and guests attended the DeKalb State of County on Thursday, March 10th. Guests heard from the Metro North Georgia Water Planning District on the County's impressive water conservation accomplishments and Ray Gilley  with Decide DeKalb on the County's economic development efforts. The highlight of the event was a dynamic one-on one conversation with WSB-TV news anchor Erin Coleman and Interim CEO Lee May who spoke about his leadership of the County and the goals he plans to achieve before leaving office at the end of this year.

Interim CEO May talked about how building a strong foundation for DeKalb to continue to build upon is the most important legacy he could leave for the County. Despite the challenges and instability within County leadership, the focus has remained on forward thinking, strengthening finances and investing in the County-wide infrastructure. When asked what his priorities would be over the next nine months before leaving office, May further emphasized his commitment to building a strong stable foundation for new leadership. A major piece of that foundation he hopes to have in place is getting the County's first SPLOST program on the books. He recognized that DeKalb is behind many of the metro area counties in adopting a SPLOST program, but with over 400 miles of roads in need of repaving, the County can no longer afford to wait.

When Coleman asked what he was most proud of, and what he wishes the media would take note of, Interim CEO May lauded the County's strong finances. He pointed to recently lowered millage rates and rapid economic growth, guided by a recently adopted economic development strategic plan and the new partnership with the County Development Authority, Decide DeKalb. In closing Coleman asked Interim CEO May to describe the 'state of the County' in one word - he responded with "Strong." 

From Left: Ray Gilley, Troy Bush, Katerina Taylor,  Kevin Greiner, Diane McClearen, Interim CEO Lee May, Erin Coleman, Kerwin Lee, Keith Parker, Michael Paris, Danny Johnson

The Council thanks Interim CEO May and WSB-TV anchor Erin Coleman and all of the sponsors that made this event a great success..

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The Council for Quality Growth | 770-813-3370 |
5901-C Peachtree Dunwoody Road
Suite 500
Atlanta, GA 30328