Council for Quality Growth Congratulates Dana Johnson on New Position as Cobb County Community Development Agency Director
On September 8th, Dana Johnson was appointed Director of the Cobb County Community Development Agency by the Cobb County Board of Commissioners. Mr. Johnson holds a Masters in City Planning from Georgia Tech and has worked for the City of Marietta and Cobb County for over fifteen years. His expertise is in large scale and neighborhood planning strategies, urban design, economic development, redevelopment, and administration. Prior to his appointment, he served as Deputy Director of Community Development and Planning Division Manager of Cobb County.  He replaces Mr. Rob Hosack, who after 28 years of service, leaves Cobb County in order to form consulting practice that will serve the development community and local governments.

When asked how he felt about his appointment and what he views as Cobb's future, Mr. Johnson said,

"I am honored to have this opportunity to lead the Cobb County Community Development Agency. This agency is a well-run engine thanks to the superior service provided by our employees and the superb stewardship of Mr. Rob Hosack. It is an exciting time to be part of the Cobb Team with the construction of SunTrust Park and the stadium entertainment district, growth at Kennesaw State University, a recovered housing market, new office towers being built, and redevelopment in the South Cobb. I look forward to working with the development community to continue making Cobb a great place to live, work, play, and learn."

As Mr. Johnson takes the helm at Cobb, Michael E. Paris, President and CEO of the Council for Quality Growth congratulates the new director, saying:

"Having worked with Dana for many years at Cobb I can say he is a consummate professional. He has a "get it done attitude" that will continue and growth Cobb's customer service tradition. He is the perfect choice for building on Rob Hosack's proud accomplishments at Cobb Community Development."

Mr. Rob Hosack, former Director of the Cobb County Community Development Agency supports the sentiments expressed by the Council, saying:

"I applaud the County Commission for appointment Dana Johnson as new community planning director and I would like to think I had a small part in mentoring him for this position. Dana will be a true partner going forward in serving the county and the development industry. He is the best guy for the job."

When asked about his own plans for the future, Mr. Hosack responded:

"I enjoyed all the partnerships I established in assisting customers in community development and I look forward to working with them in my new consultancy role."

The Council for Quality Growth wishes both Mr. Johnson and Mr. Hosack the best of success as they move forward in their new positions. 

Sandy Springs Launches "The Next Ten" Website to Support Comprehensive Plan Update
The City of Sandy Springs is updating its Comprehensive Plan along with a number of small area plans. To better understand the type of development City residents and workers wish to see, the City launched on Tuesday. This well-designed and user-friendly site encourages community engagement in the planning process though rotating polls, interactive maps, online input sessions and other applications. City planners will also use the site to post information about public meetings and other special events, such as the annual Sandy Springs Festival occurring September 19th -20th at Heritage Green.  The Council encourages all members to visit the site.  

Council for Quality Growth Requests Member Feedback on Kennesaw Proposed Tree Ordinance        
The Council for Quality Growth is currently working with the City of Kennesaw's Planning and Zoning Department to provide feedback on a new draft of the City's Landscape and Tree Ordinance. The draft will go to Kennesaw City Council for review later this fall in Late October, or early November.

Upon initial review, the Council for Quality Growth identified several components of the draft ordinance that could have an impact on development potential in the City. A table is provided below, which highlights the major changes found in the new draft.

The City of Kennesaw is committed to adopting a balanced ordinance that supports quality development and has expressed an interest in gaining feedback from the Council, and specifically the local development community in Cobb County and the greater Atlanta region. The Council kindly requests that members review the draft ordinance and offer comments in the attached table in order to provide additional feedback to the City before City Council review and adoption.

To view the PDF of the proposed draft ordinance CLICK HERE.

To view the PDF of a table highlighting the changes from the current ordinance to the proposed draft with a section for you to comment with thoughts and concerns, CLICK HERE.

To view the PDF of the current Landscape and tree ordinance CLICK HERE.

The Council for Quality Growth expresses their appreciation to Council members for their input and to the City of Kennesaw for their dedication to see an ordinance that promotes balanced and responsible growth for their community. 

Please provide any feedback to Chelsea Hagood, Policy Analyst, at

New Proposed Impact Fees in North Fulton Municipalities Raise Concern        
The City of Milton and City of Alpharetta are both in the process of preparing new Impact Fee programs. The City of Milton Impact Fee Advisory Committee met last week on August 26th to discuss the latest draft of their Impact Fee ordinance. The next work session is scheduled for September 14th with the final draft being presented to City Council on October 5th. This will be Milton's first Impact Fee program to be adopted. 

The Council for Quality Growth received a draft of the ordinance on August 31st and is concerned that the fees, as proposed, place an unreasonably high burden on residential developers and homebuilders. As shown in the attached table, the City is proposing a Parks and Recreation Impact Fee of $6,125 per housing unit, which is more than 10 times the fees required in other North Fulton communities. This will bring the total impact fees due to $7,500 per unit, which is again significantly higher than any of the surrounding Cities, which poses to drive development away from Milton.

The City of Alpharetta is considering a similar increase in Parks and Recreation Impact Fees. The City engaged the consulting firm Ross + Associates to prepare an Impact Fee Methodology Report, which was presented to City Council in April of this year. This report called for an update to the City's Impact Fee program including an increase in the Parks and Recreation Impact Fee for residential developers from $545 per dwelling unit to $5,147 per dwelling unit, to fund park and trail improvements outlined in the City's Comprehensive Plan. 

The Council for Quality Growth has yet to receive a working draft of the new ordinance, but will be involved in the drafting process to ensure that unreasonable cost burdens are not placed on the development community, which would translate to stifled growth and progress in the City of Alpharetta. The City plans to bring a draft of the ordinance to City Council on Monday, September 21st.

To view a pdf of the Impact Fee Comparison Table, click here

To view Milton's draft Impact Fee ordinance, click here

To view the Ross + Associates Impact Fee Report for Alpharetta, click here

For questions or comments, please contact James Touchton, Director of Government Affairs witht he Council for Quality Growth at or Council for Quality Growth Policy Analyst Chelsea Hagood at

Council Hosts Atlanta City Council President Caesar Mitchell at Atlanta Advisory Committee                            
On Wednesday, September 2nd, Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell updated Council members on a number of projects and investments being made to directly improve the quality of life of citizens. Specific updates include the following:
  • Invest Atlanta has received two RFP proposals with mixed use elements in response to the sale of the 20-acre site on which the Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center is located.
  • The process to find a new purpose for the 50-plus acre site upon which Turner Field sits remains ongoing. Georgia State University remains the most well-known proponent.
  • The City looks forward to redeveloping the West Side, and commends the strong leadership of Arthur Blank and Dan Cathy for reinvigorating interest in the area. 
  • In terms of transportation, Atlanta is no longer just about fixing roads. Discussion is underway on how to create a strong transit network. First on the agenda, is improving last mile connectivity. In addition to basic infrastructure investments, the City is considering establishing bike share programs similar to those found in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
The Council for Quality Growth thanks Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell for speaking to the Atlanta Advisory Committee and thanks Atlanta Gas Light for sponsoring the breakfast. 

Council Hosts DeKalb County Director of Planning and Sustainability, Andrew Baker, at DeKalb Advisory Meeting
On Thursday, September 3rd, Andrew Baker, the Director of Planning and Sustainability for DeKalb County, spoke to DeKalb Advisory Committee regarding the recent changes made to DeKalb's Zoning Code. More specifically, Mr. Baker explained the rationale behind the introduction of new density ranges, definitions and urban design standards for mixed use developments. It was clarified that the county sought to limit the number of changes made to zoning on residential and commercial land types. Members were also introduced to new user-friendly tables which explain the new zoning classifications and development requirements.

For those members seeking an even more user friendly and customized experience, Mr. Baker encourages a visit the DeKalb Planning website for access to an interactive ArcGIS map. The map is layered with up to date information on a parcel's zoning designations, owner's name, and other key information. To ensure accuracy, planning staff reviewed each category of information for more than 275,000 individual parcels. The primary take away from the meeting, however, is that the zoning document is a living document. As such, DeKalb County continues to welcome feedback for possible amendments, even as planning staff now shifts their focus to updating the County's Comprehensive Master Plan.

The Council for Quality Growth thanks Director Baker for speaking to the DeKalb Advisory Committee.

To see an overview of DeKalb's new Zoning Code, please click here

Council Welcomes Newest Staff Addition: Policy Analyst Chelsea Hagood                            
I am pleased to announce the newest full-time addition to the Council Policy & Government Affairs staff, Chelsea Hagood.  Chelsea will serve as the Policy Analyst for the Council, starting September 1st and comes to the Council with a knowledge of the planning  & development  arena. 

Prior to joining the Council, she worked with the Atlanta Regional Commission and as a planning consultant where she focused on redevelopment planning and policy analysis. During this time she worked on projects in the City of Atlanta, DeKalb County, Rockdale County, Clayton County and the City of Stockbridge, GA. Chelsea earned her Master's Degree in City and Regional Planning from Georgia Tech in 2014.

Chelsea will handle a variety of responsibilities, including, but not limited to:

  • Gathering, analyzing and interpreting data related to infrastructure planning, legislative initiatives, regulatory issues, land use, transportation and environmental planning policies. 
  • Attending, participating and reporting on a variety of public meetings and citizen advisory activities, including   Board of Commissioners Meetings, Planning Commission, Development Advisory committees, ARC Transportation, Land Use & Environmental committees, DNR Board meetings, GRTA meetings, etc.
  • Helping further establish and develop the Councils 501-c3, the Quality Growth Institute.
  • Preparing and delivering reports, writes white papers and coordinates committee meetings on a variety of issues related to government affairs, planning and development, transportation, public utilities, and environmental planning while working closely with membership volunteers. 
  • Coordinating moderated discussions with elected officials and membership through the Council Advisory System and coordinates program speakers with presentation subject matter.
  • Assisting James Touchton, Director of Policy and Government Affairs with coordination and management of the Council Internship Program.
We look forward to having Chelsea on board and please do not hesitate to introduce yourself and contact her also with any policy questions you might have.
Her contact information is:
Chelsea Hagood
Policy Analyst
5901-C Peachtree Dunwoody Road
Suite 500
Atlanta, Georgia  30328
direct 770.813.3374
office 770.813.3370
cell 706.495.2409

Council Commends DeKalb County Board of Commissioners With Adoption of Zoning Code 
On Tuesday, August 25th, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved by unanimous consensus a new zoning code for DeKalb County. The zoning code update represents nearly seven years of intensive planning and community engagement efforts and hard work by many members of the Council for Quality Growth and the DeKalb County Community Development staff.  The Council thanks Interim CEO Lee May, the Board of Commissioner, Deputy COO Luz Borrero, Zoning Administrator Marian Eisenberg, County Planning Director Andrew Baker and the many others who were an integral part of the zoning code updates.

Michael Paris, President and CEO of the Council for Quality Growth said -

"The Council commends the Board of Commissioners and staff for all of its hard work on the zoning code rewrite. The new code contains many visionary and innovative concepts which will set the tone for the region. The long term opportunities this ordinance brings to the community are immeasurable an will propel DeKalb as an economic leader"

The new ordinances are consistent with and provide a strong platform for the implementation of policies detailed in DeKalb's Comprehensive Plan. All changes become effective on September 1, 2015.

To read more, click here.

To access the new zoning documents, click here.
Council for Quality Growth Hosts Peachtree Corners Mayor Mike Mason
On Tuesday, August 25th, the Council for Quality hosted Peachtree Corner Mayor Mike Mason and Alyssa Davis from Gwinnett Village CID at the Gwinnett Advisory Committee Meeting.

Ms. Davis helped to moderate the Council for Quality Growth's discussion on transportation, which was conducted as part of the Gwinnett County's "Great Exchange on Transportation" campaign. 

Mayor Mike Mason spoke on Peachtree Corner's plans for pedestrian-friendly developments along the new Town Center. He also spoke on the significant plans to transform Technology Park into what the Peachtree Corner's Livable Center Initiative Study called a "robust tech industry community where employees can live and collaborate in a dynamic mixed-use environment." 

To read more, click here

For more information on Peachtree Corners' Livable Center Initiative, click here.

The Council thanks Mayor Mike Mason and Director Alyssa Davis for their participation in the Gwinnett Advisory Meeting
Forsyth County to Consider New Impact Fees
On Monday, August 24th, the Forsyth County Impact Fee Advisory Committee met to review the 2015 Impact Fee Study released by Duncan Associates. The study calls for three specific changes in the way which current impact fees are calculated throughout Forsyth County and the City of Cumming.

The key changes can be summarized as follows:
  • Combine fire and emergency fees into a single public safety fee, and assess the fee on both residential and non-residential land uses. 
  • Distribute fire and library fee revenue across a single county-wide service area, rather than dividing revenues along north and south benefit district lines.
  • Introduce a new road impact fee based on the cost of all arterial streets in the County, including state and federal highways. Assess this potential new fee on both residential and non-residential land uses. 
Impact fees were last adjusted in Forsyth County in 2003. As they stand, they fund only 28.6% of growth-related capital costs. 

If updated fees are adopted, the study projects that the resulting revenue could cover up to 42.9% of park, library and public safety costs. The road impact fee alone would cover up to 49.9% of planned arterial road expansion costs.

The study also calls for developers to be eligible to receive credit against the fees for right-of-way dedications and construction of arterial road improvements. However, credit for arterial improvements would be limited to planned projects listed on the County's Short Term Work Plan.
To download the complete 2015 Impact Fee Study by Duncan and Associates, click HERE.

For a quick overview of the proposed Impact Fee Updates, see the table below:

Source: Forsyth County Impact Fee Study by Duncan Associates

The Council for Quality Growth seeks and thanks Council members for their feedback on the proposed changes. Contact James Touchton at to submit any comments or input.

2015 Four Pillar Tribute Honoring Dan T. Cathy - October 1, 2015
Council Seeks Fall 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 fall unpaid internships with our organization  These internships will be structured learning opportunities geared to teach applications of public policy development.
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.  Other areas of study including Economics, Environmental Studies, Environmental Design or Engineering, Real Estate, Business Administration, and Geography are also welcome.  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 affecting our members.

Please Note: This is an unpaid internship.


Working schedule is flexible due to the responsibilities classes demand.
For a complete overview of the Council internship requirements and description, click HERE or contact James Touchton at


September 10, 2015

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


Join the Council for the 2015 Redevelopment Forums! 


Contact Amanda Janaskie,, for sponsorship opportunities


Registration is open for all events. Please click on images below for more information.






Click HERE to view the 2015 Advisory Committee Schedule. 

Click HERE to view a PDF of the 2015 Advisory Committee Schedule and Speaker Lineup 

The 2015 Calendar is updated weekly with new Speakers.  Be sure to go to the Council's Website at and click on the Events Calendar link for the most up-to-date 2015 calendar.

Events, Policy Highlights & Advisory Updates


Join The Council for Quality Growth!

To view a Membership Brochure, Click HERE

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