Return of the Watchdog
Volume 1 Issue 2

Presidential Election Update
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Take a moment to watch this Election Update from NAHB.  NAHB encourages everyone to go out and vote.

How do I stay in the know on Government Affairs issues?
Government Affairs issues will still be discussed in the Board of Director meetings and a link to the newsletter will be provided in the weekly ABN that comes out.  However, if you would like The Watchdog to be sent directly to you, please contact our Government Affairs Representative, Leroy Sutton.  Simply send an email to Leroy Sutton at lsutton@atlantahomebuilders.com or call him directly at 678-775-1428 to ensure you do not miss an issue. 

How do I report an issue in my county?
When issues arise in your county, please reach out to David Ellis and Leroy Sutton to be sure that they aware so that they can start the process to research impending changes that could potentially impact members of the GAHBA.  We must all work together to stay ahead of such matters.  There is no issue too small to report for inquiry.

" I am sometimes a fox and sometimes a lion. The whole secret of government lies in knowing when to be the one or the other. " - Napoleon Bonaparte

Greater Atlanta HBA County Updates

The purpose of the Watchdog is to keep our members updated on all state and local government issues that are ongoing that may impact our members.   The Greater Atlanta Home Builder Association services the following counties: Cherokee, Cobb,DekalbForsythGwinnettInner Atlanta, Metro South, North FultonSouth Fulton, & Rockdale.  Continue reading to get updates on counties that the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association services please read below.  

You can even click on the county to go directly to that counties' latest news.  You can also click here for state of Georgia updates!
Gwinnett Gwinnett County
Radon Issue
Gwinnett County has been working on a format to address radon in new homes for the past several years.    They originally planned to enforce a code that would require an unnecessarily expensive passive radon system.   Many builders already do passive systems that would not conform to the prescriptive approach in the code that was originally considered.  The HBA has been working with Gwinnett County to find alternative approaches that address radon concerns without driving excessive cost.   Presently, the staff is considering a recommendation that would require builders to perform and pass a radon test before the Certificate of Occupancy is issued by the County.  We continue to work closely with Gwinnett County staff and leadership on this issue.

Forsyth
Forsyth County

The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to lift the moratorium on RES 2, RES 3 and RES 4 zoning applications after a public hearing on Thursday, June 2nd. The emergency 30 day moratorium was put in place March 3rd due to a lack of community development and planning staff to process zoning applications, and was extended in April to June 3rd.  At a recent public hearing the Board discussed further extending the moratorium through the end of the year to December 31, 2016.   The HBA is working with industry partners to consider industry alternatives to address this issue. 
Update on RES3-zoned properties
A moratorium on building permits was extended to December 7, 2016 for RES3-zoned properties that wish to build out with a minimum lot size less than 14,750 sq. ft., excluding the following categories of RES3-zoned properties:
 
(a)          Where the RES3 zoning for the property was approved after July 18, 2013, or,
(b)          Where the RES3-zoned property has an existing sewer reservation agreement that was fully paid for as of August 23, 2016 (fully paid for sewer reservation agreements shall include fully paid for sewer reservation agreements that have been lawfully assigned to a developer or development).
  The moratorium does not affect the development of properties where the rights under a prior RES3 zoning have become vested.
  • The moratorium does not disturb or hinder land disturbance permit applications that were tendered to the County prior to August 9, 2016.
 
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU?
  If your property was zoned after July 18, 2013, you may still develop your property using minimum 10,000 sq. ft. lots.
If your property was zoned on or before July 18, 2013, you may still develop your property using lots smaller than 14,750 sq. ft., ONLY if:
(1)  you have a fully paid sewer reservation agreement;
(2) you have an LDP in process that was filed with Forsyth County prior to August 9, 2016;  or
(3)  You submit and have approved a vested rights determination.
  
It is recommend that you move forward toward having an LDP approved for your RES3 project prior to December 7, 2016, or at the very least, acquire sewer capacity for your project, as the County Commission may still remove the automatic vesting provision at that time.

Atlanta City of Atlanta
Reorganization
Commissioner of Atlanta Commissioner of Planning & Community Development, Tim Keane, has proposed a reorganization of his department for the 2017 City of Atlanta budget.  The proposal introduces four new offices within the Department: the Office of Design which will house the new City Design Studio Project and Historic Preservation, the Office of Zoning and Development, the office of Transportation Planning which will include transit and bicycle and pedestrian planning, and the Office of Neighborhoods which will encompass neighborhood revitalization projects, community engagement, land use and economic development.   The HBA testified before the City Council in support of Mr. Keane's efforts to reorganize and improve the Department.   The City Council adopted the 2017 Budget with the proposed changes.

Buildings Enterprise Fund
Atlanta City Council members CT Martin and Keisha Lance Bottoms introduced legislation to dissolve the Office of Buildings Enterprise Fund into the City's General Fund on Monday, August 15th. The legislation has since passed through the full council with major support from Mayor Reed's office. The stated intent of moving funds from the Enterprise Fund into the General Fund is to position the City to increase its bond rating from AA to AAA. If the AAA bond rating is achieved, City officials have stated that the City could save over $10 million per year in interest and additional bond funding. According to the City, the current balance of the Enterprise Fund is in the range of $52 million, which exceeds the Office of Buildings annual budget of $30 million. It is important that the legislation clearly address the exact balance of the Enterprise Fund that will be moved into the General Fund and expended only for the purposes for which it was collected. However, while the 52 million has already been transferred to the general fund this figure was pre-audit. The CFO has stated the actual audit will be completed sometime December this year. Here is a copy of the ordinance:
 
16-O-1422 (2) -
AN ORDINANCE BY COUNCILMEMBERS KEISHA BOTTOMS AND C.T. MARTIN AS SUBSTITUTED BY FINANCE/EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE TO DISSOLVE THE BUILDING ENTERPRISE FUND; TO ANTICIPATE AND APPROPRIATE FUND BALANCES IN THE BUILDING PERMITS FUND AND IN THE BUILDING RENEWAL AND EXTENSION FUND INTO THE GENERAL FUND; TO SEGREGATE SUCH FUND BALANCES IN THE GENERAL FUND SUCH THAT THEY ARE EXPENDED ONLY FOR THE PURPOSES FOR WHICH THEY WERE COLLECTED; TO AMEND CITY CODE SEC. 2-240(11) TO REFLECT THAT THE OFFICE OF BUILDINGS WILL NO LONGER PERFORM ITS ACCOUNTING FUNCTIONS AS AN ENTERPRISE FUND; TO SET EFFECTIVE DATES; AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. CITY COUNCIL APPROVED THE MEASURE 9-2.

Fulton
Fulton County
Brookhaven Imposes City-Wide Zoning Moratorium
At a special called meeting on Friday, August 19th, Brookhaven Mayor and City Council voted to impose a city-wide moratorium on all zoning applications for 180 days.
The stated intent of the moratorium is to give the City an opportunity to update their Comprehensive Plan and zoning ordinance to address community concerns about density in certain areas of the City.   The HBA is working with the City staff to address the legality of the moratorium and the issues surrounding the issue.

Clayton
Clayton County
Dwelling Construction Standards
Clayton County Planning and Zoning provided clarification for residential single-family and multi-family dwelling construction standards. This clarification applies to all multi-family apartments, duplexes, townhouses, and condominium developments and single family dwellings buildings utilizing vinyl siding or stucco siding must have 7/16 OSB sheathing under the vinyl or stucco on all floors of the structure. Stucco must be Portland cement based stucco, installed over wire lathe with ten-pound felt. Porous fillers, such as expanded plastic or foam may not be added to exterior stucco over wire lathe with ten-pound felt. Porous fillers, such as expanded plastic or foam may not be added to exterior stucco. The HBA will continue to work with the county for any subdivisions that were in place prior to these requirements.

Dekalb
DeKalb County
DeKalb County Unveils ePlan program and Sewer Capacity
DeKalb County Development Services hosted a Developer and Contractor Open House on Wednesday, October 5th. Attendees heard updates on the decisions County officials are taking to make real improvements in the efficiency and transparency in the Development Process, reiterating a statement made by Andrew Baker, Director of DeKalb County Planning and Sustainability, that the goal is to make DeKalb County the model development services department in the State.
DeKalb County is launching a new ePlans program to decrease permit review and approval times and make the process easier, and more efficient for all parties. Project Manager, Chris Hayward and representatives from the software team provided a demonstration of how to use the program to submit building and site plans to the county as well as monitor where the plans are in the review process at any point before approval. This technology will go live for Building Permit Plan submittal on Monday October, 17th. The County is in the process of making this tool available for Land Disturbance Permits and Zoning cases by March 2017.
Deputy Director of Watershed Management, Margaet Tanner provided an update on the Sewer Capacity issues with many development projects across the County. The County's sewer capacity model has identified capacity constraints during wet weather conditions, as well as problems like reverse slopes that require field verification. Due to these constraints, every development project must go through a capacity review with the Watershed Department upon submittal. Tanner urged developers and builders in the audience to begin the conversation with watershed during the pre-application process to avoid impacting the project timeline. Watershed Department and County officials are in talks with EPA to get approval on proposed short and long term solutions for projects affected.


Georgia State of Georgia Updates

Please click below to review the October 2016 Regulatory Affairs 

Get Involved with Government Affairs

The mission of Greater Atlanta HBA's Government Affairs Committee (GAC) is to:
* Seek to improve the national, state and local business climate for members and others involved in the building industry, and the business community at large.
* Facilitate communication between HBA members, elected officers, staff members, and community leaders regarding pertinent issues and/or trends.
* Position the HBA as an important and politically-active entity within the building industry, working in concert with other building-related organizations.
* Seek the advice, counsel and view of fellow HBA members regarding present issues and trends.
* Advise and coordinate with HBA's Action Fund Committee.

How can you get involved? Your involvement is vital to our effort. Please consider joining the HBA's GAC and contribute to the Action Fund Committee

* Serve on the Government Affairs Committee.
* Contribute to the Action Fund

For any additional questions c ontact:

 Leroy Sutton, Government Affairs Representative, by phone (678) 775-1428, fax (770) 934-8363 or e-mail lsutton@atlantahomebuilders.com  

 David Ellis, Executive Vice President, by phone (678) 775-1403, fax (770) 934-8363 or email dellis@atlantahomebuilders.com .

The Greater Atlanta Home Builder Association | 1484 Brockett Road Tucker, GA 30084 | 770-938-9900| lsutton@atlantahomebuilders.com | www.atlantahomebuilders.com
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