Substantial Proposed Impact Fee Increases Across Metro Region
On Monday, October 5th, Milton City Council voted to adopt their first Impact Fee ordinance. Michael Paris, President and CEO, and Chelsea Hagood, Policy Analyst of the Council for Quality Growth were in attendance at the meeting. Chelsea Hagood provided public comment in addition to several other commenters urging the City Council to carefully consider the broader impact the new fees will have on new and existing residents and economic development in the City.

The Mayor and City Council ultimately voted to reduce the Parks and Recreation fee by 50% from $6,215 in the draft ordinance to $3,107 per residential unit, bringing the total fee to $4,524 per unit effective immediately. With this fee reduction the City intends to revisit the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, which calls for over $200 Million in Parks and Recreation Improvements, on which the impact fee calculations were based. Milton City Council will assess the fee amount again in 6 months after the Parks Master Plan has been fully reviewed. The Council for Quality Growth commends the City for moving forward with this reduction in fees and looks forward to continuing to work with City Council and Staff in implementing a balanced and effective ordinance. 

Click HERE to view the draft Impact Fee ordinance presented at the meeting

On Monday, September 28th, Alpharetta City Council approved the proposed Impact Fee Ordinance update. James Touchton, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at the Council for Quality Growth was in attendance at the meeting. James Touchton provided public comment to City Council members requesting that the City consider a reduction in the proposed fees given the existing investment in Alpharetta and the broader immediate impact the new fees will have on new and existing residents. 

The approved ordinance imposes the maximum fee allowable by state law, which is an increase from $1,940 to $6,689 per each new residential unit. The Council for Quality Growth looks forward to continuing to work with City of Alpharetta staff and Council members as the new ordinance is implemented to ensure that it continues to support and encourage quality growth and development in the City. Click HERE to read more.

Click HERE to view the approved fee schedule

Click HERE to view the full Impact Fee Ordinance 

On Thursday, September 24th, The Forsyth County Impact Fee Advisory Committee met to draft final recommendations for the Board of Commissioners on updates to the County's Impact Fee program. The Council for Quality Growth was in attendance at the meeting and is closely monitoring the progress of the new fees. The Council is concerned by the proposed Roads Fee, which is much higher than any other municipality in the region at $7,288 for residential units and $9,392 per 1,000 sq. ft. of commercial. The Committee voted 5 to 3 to phase in the roads fee over 5 years, where once adopted the first year the Roads Fee will be 50% of the maximum ($3,644 per residential unit), 75% of the maximum the second year ($5,466 per residential unit), and 100% of the roads fee will be charged in the third year ($7,288 for roads, totaling $8,961 per residential unit). This recommendation will be presented to the Board of Commissioners next month. The first work session is scheduled for October 21st at 2:00 in the afternoon.

The Council for Quality Growth will attend the Board of Commissioners work session to encourage the creation of an equitable, balanced impact fee ordinance. The Council hopes to ensure that landowners already vested in Forsyth County with planned and platted projects will not be subject to the proposed fee increases and that the proposed Roads Fee will remain capped at 50% of the maximum for an extended period of time. Click HERE to read more.

To download the complete 2015 Impact Fee Study by Duncan and Associates, click HERE.

To view a table comparing the proposed fees with other existing and proposed impact fees in the region, click HERE

For any questions or concerns regarding Impact Fee proposals please contact policy analyst, Chelsea Hagood at 770-813-3374 or
Four Pillar Tribute Honoring Dan T. Cathy Monumental Success!
On October 1 the Council for Quality Growth presented Dan T. Cathy, President & CEO of Chick-fil-A, Inc., with its 26th annual leadership award at the Four Pillar Tribute at the Georgia World Congress Center before an audience of more than 1,300 people. The lively event was punctuated by appearances from Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; United Way COO Donna Buchanan, Chick-fil-A Executive Vice President of Operations Tim Tassopoulos, City of Refuge CEO Bruce Deel; and Master of Ceremonies and featured performer, Jeff Foxworthy.
Watch the 2015 Four Pillar Tribute Highlight Video!

2015 Tribute Chairs and Speakers with 2015 Four Pillar honoree Dan Cathy (L-R) Jack Harris, Tim Tassopoulos, Donna Buchanan, Bruce Deel, Jeff Foxworthy, Dan Cathy, Tim Lowe, H. Jerome Russell, Virginia Hepner, Ted Blum, Michael Paris, Rodney Bullard
Cathy has been a vocal proponent of investment and community improvement in Atlanta's underserved areas, especially its Westside neighborhoods. The evening's event highlighted organizations working in this area, including Bearings Bike Shop, City of Refuge, Friends of English Avenue, Peace Prep Academy, Raising Expectations, Westside Works. Interactive installations invited guests to learn about each organizations' mission and work in Atlanta's Westside.  "We are proud to support Dan and his vision to revitalize and rejuvenate the Westside, said Council for Quality Growth President & CEO Michael Paris. "We're thrilled that it's brought our Council members the opportunity to be a part of reinvestment in this historical and important part of Atlanta."

See the full length Tribute Video "Climb with Care & Confidence" HERE, where Dan Cathy personally describes his passion for revitalizing the Westside.

To view more photos, click HERE. 
Council hosts City of Atlanta Commissioner Tim Keane for Atlanta Advisory Committee
The Council for Quality Growth hosted Commissioner Tim Keane at the Atlanta Advisory Committee on Wednesday, October 7th. Commissioner Keane presented a vision in which permitting and other services offered by the City are done in a transparent, just, and pragmatic manner which exemplifies the highest respect for customer's experience.

To accomplish this aim, the Commissioner and other City of Atlanta representatives present at the meeting expressed strong interest in shrinking the City's well-meaning but historically ineffective regulatory footprint. Unlike the reform climate in years past, it was made clear that Atlanta today has fiscal strength, resources, and political will to make significant, large scale changes wherever they may be most needed. It was also made clear that BKD is being asked to make forward thinking, rather than reactionary, recommendations which the City can use to create a permitting system which is not simply tolerable, but instead something Atlanta can be proud of.

The meeting concluded with strong support for the Commissioner's vision and calls for additional discussions on how the City plans to address capacity concerns and shape design standards as Atlanta continues to grow as a regional employment center. The preliminary response from the City is that sooner rather than later there will be a need to hold city-wide conversations about density. It was stated that density could prove of particular importance for revitalizing Westside neighborhoods, whose strategic location, low levels of traffic and large tracts of underutilized land presents ample opportunity for developers willing to invest in the area.

The Council for Quality Growth thanks Commissioner Keane for his participation in Wednesday's Atlanta Advisory Meeting. 

Council hosts Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis for DeKalb Advisory Meeting
The Council for Quality Growth hosted Dunwoody Mayor Mike Davis at the DeKalb Advisory Meeting on Thursday, October 8th. Mayor Davis updated Council members on a number of projects underway in the City of Dunwoody. Key projects include:
  • State Farm is constructing 600,000 square feet of office, 25,000 square feet of retail, and 200 hotel rooms at the corner of Hammond Drive and Perimeter Center West. 
  • 1201 Hammond Drive will soon be the site of 780,000 square feet of office, 300,000 square feet of retail, 250 hotel rooms and 200 new residential units. 
  • High Street Development located across Perimeter Mall will bring an additional 400,000 square feet of office and retail, a 400 room hotel, and 3000 new residential units.  
To help alleviate the existing levels and future increases in traffic around Perimeter Mall, Dunwoody is also promoting the construction of an East-West Connector that would parallel Hammond Drive. Recognizing the importance of traffic alleviation for business and area quality of life, owners of property at 1201 Hammond Drive have negotiated rights of way with the City to make the project possible. 

Done in conjunction with the I-285 and 400 interchange project, the proposed connector is among the many steps being considered to make the area more walkable. 

In partnership with the City of Chamblee, Dunwoody is considering investing in interconnected trail system that could traverse the region, potentially connecting to the Dunwoody MARTA station. In addition to this, Dunwoody is addressing mobility and accessibility concerns through urban design elements to be conclusion of the City's Comprehensive Plan Update. 

The Council thanks Mayor Mike Davis for his participation in Thursday's DeKalb Advisory Meeting. 

Atlanta Technical Advisory Committee Updated on BKD Stakeholder Engagement and Annual Fiscal Trends
The City of Atlanta Technical Advisory Committee convened at Atlanta City Hall on Tuesday, October 6th. Members of the Committee heard from Ms. Julia Mast and Ms. Janessa Berg, forensic accountants and senior consultants with the firm BKD CPA and Advisors. BKD is working with the City of Atlanta's Office of Buildings to analyze and improve permitting in Atlanta. To date, BKD has distributed 133 employee and 39 customer surveys and has conducted 20+ stakeholder interviews.  On-going data analysis and stakeholder feedback gathered since July is being used to determine both quick fixes and strategic long-term actions which can be taken to facilitate quality development across Atlanta.
In support of this process, the Council encourages all developers, architects, contractors, engineers, and members of the general public to complete the following BKD survey by October 12th. The form takes only 15 minutes to complete and answers are completely anonymous. To begin, click HERE.
Those present at Tuesday's meeting also heard from Mr. Warren Parker. Mr. Harper presented the key trends from the Office of Building's Report for Fiscal Year 2015. The primary take away from this year is that "dollar amounts primarily followed the commercial side, but [new] residential [building] applications generated the greatest volume". It was also noted that construction cost valuation is rising, driven by increases in multifamily construction. Following the presentation, questions were raised about the connection between the type of metrics used and inconsistent planning review practices. City officials acknowledged the problem, and reaffirmed their optimism that BKD's review of presently used metrics and other data would yield recommendations for more appropriate standards for gauging customer service.
The next City of Atlanta Technical Advisory meeting is scheduled for November 3, 2015 on the third floor arborist room in Atlanta City Hall.
Council applauds Appalachian Regional Port in AJC Op-Ed
Source: Georgia Ports Authority

Council for Quality Growth Board Chairman Tim Lowe and Council President and CEO Michael Paris were published in the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Friday, September 25th.Their joint op-ed applauded the creation of a new gateway to the Port of Savannah called the Appalachian Regional Port. 

The article begins as follows:

"It isn't every day that have the opportunity to celebrate an initiative that promises to benefit the economy and the environment. It isn't often that we can applaud a change to leverage relatively modest public and private investment in infrastructure for a potentially significant return. Opportunities to impact multiple parts of Georgia at once are unusual.

This is one of those moments. 

The recently announced Appalachian Regional Port in Chatsworth will create new economic opportunity from northwest Georgia to Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky beyond. Its 388-mile direct rail route to the Port of Savannah will reduce truck travel on our highways- particularly in the congested metro region- and carbon emissions with it. And expanding our state's network of inland ports increases the economic competitiveness of the regions in which they are located and the home to our booming port on the coast."

To read the rest of the article, click HERE.
The ACTivate Gwinnett Place Master Plan Envisions Green Multi-modal Corridors in a Mixed Use District
The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners and the Gwinnett Place CID are interested in making a number of short term and long term investments around Gwinnett Place Mall. The intent of these investments is to revitalize the area as a vibrant, walkable and transit accessible regional mixed use district (MU-R district). This vision and the strategy to bring it to fruition is detailed in the ACTivate Gwinnett Place Master Plan. Adopted by the Gwinnet Place CID on May 2015, the ACTivate Gwinnett Place Master Plan advocates the funding of five key projects:
  • Streetscape improvements and a Grand Promenade lined with multicultural gardens and multi-use paths.
  • A 1,500 foot iconic bike and pedestrian bridge linked to McDaniel Farm Park.
  • A signalized, round-about like roadway with interior public park at Satellite Blvd and Pleasant Hill Rd.
  • An improved regional detention pond with additional storage capacity that could double as an open space amenity.
  • An improved and inviting Transit Center that promotes alternative modes of transportation.
To reduce barriers to rapid and quality redevelopment, the Master Plan calls upon officials to consider using either government-initiated rezoning or an overlay to secure entitlements for properties within the targeted Master Plan area. The overlay option in particular would encourage by-right development, with the provision that proposals adhere to the Master Plan's MU-R district standards. 

To read more, click HERE. 

To view the report from the Gwinnett Daily Post, click HERE

Check out local radio show "All About Gwinnett"
Snellville City Council member, Dave Emanuel, hosts a weekly radio blog discussing issues facing Gwinnett County and the Region. Each week Emanuel hosts a new guest during the show who provides unique perspective and updates at the city, county, region and State levels of influence in Gwinnett.

The show airs live on Sunday evenings at 6:30 and all episodes are available at

To listen to the interview with State Senator PK Martin, Click here.

To listen to the interview with Commissioner Tim Echols, Click here.

To listen to the interview with Congressman Rob Woodall, Click here.

Atlanta Regional Commission's Millennial Advisory Panel Begins Conversation about Region's Future
Last March, the Atlanta Regional Commission convened the inaugural meeting of the Millennial Advisory Panel, which tasked a group of  135 young professional's in their 20's and 30's, from the 10-county area, who represent the next generation of residents who will live and work in the region, to research discuss and formulate policy recommendations to the ARC on the following topics: world class infrastructure, innovation, economy and healthy livable communities.  Over the last six months, the millennial panels were broken up into sub-groups to tackle various issues surrounding those topics and present recommendations to the members of the ARC Board and public. 
On September 14th, the Millennial Panel unveiled their various recommendations to the Panel at large and ARC Board Members and staff.  You can read a recap in the Saporta Report HERE.  A sub-group that was tasked with focusing on championing a unified regional transportation system, made up of millennials from across the region, that James Touchton, Director of Policy & Government Affairs serves on presented their recommendations to the Panel on Tuesday.  Committee Members Nicholas Juliano and Danielle Elkins presented the recommendations from the group (which can be viewed here) that culminated in the formation of a new coalition, AdvanceAtlanta.  Click here to read more.
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 HEREor contact James Touchton at


October 8, 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