Updated Water Management Manual Supports Metro Atlanta Region's Continued Growth and Economic Development

The US Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) Water Control Manual and Environmental Impact Statement for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin released last week, finally provides scientific analysis supporting Georgia's request for increased water withdrawals from the Chattahoochee River south of Lake Sydney Lanier to meet the needs of the Atlanta Region's continued population and economic growth. The plan's proposal would substantially increase the water withdrawals from Lake Lanier and the Buford Dam and also allow withdrawals from the Glades Reservoir that would satisfy Georgia's future municipal and industrial water supply needs projected for the year 2040. Last updated in 1989, the ACF Basin Water Control Manual Update is a result of a federal action following the July 2009 federal district court order in the case In re Tri-State Water Rights Litigation, involving USACE and the States of Georgia, Alabama and Florida, which have been in litigation over the ACF Water Management for over 25 years. 

USACE will be holding a series of public hearings to discuss the Manual update, the first of which will be held in Gainsville, GA on Monday, October 26th at 4:00 at the Gainesville Civic Center. The Council for Quality growth will continue to closely monitor the update and the role it plays in ongoing state litigation and the Metro Area's economic development and growth. Click HERE to read more
To view the full Manual, click HERE
To view the project specific appendices and relevant court decisions, click HERE

Forsyth County Proposes Highest Impact Fees in Region
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 3 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 ch@councilforqualitygrowth.org.
City of Milton Adopts Impact Fee Program
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 adopted Fee Schedule
Click HERE to view the draft Impact Fee ordinance presented at the meeting

Council Hosts Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood and Sandy Springs Community Development Director Michelle Alexander at North Fulton Advisory
The Council for Quality Growth hosted City of Milton Mayor Joe Lockwood and Sandy Springs Community Development Director, Michelle Alexander at the North Fulton Advisory Meeting on Friday, October 9th.

Mayor Lockwood spoke on the rising recognition of the City of Milton brand in the years following its incorporation. Milton is now on the map as an agricultural-residential area with rising commercial demand. Mayor Lockwood explained that while some residents are actively engaged in the protection of the existing neighborhood character, there is a pent-up demand for expansion of public spaces and retail which continues to grow as new residents move in. The City hopes to continue to guide any growth that occurs through incentives rather than regulation. A great example of these incentives is the new Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) program now offered by Milton.

Sandy Springs Community Development Director, Michelle Alexander, spoke about changes in zoning procedures being made to facilitate development in Sandy Springs.  A principal change is that project applicants will now be required to attend one public meeting prior to their application process, as opposed to the present practice of needing to participate in two community meetings during review of their plans. The final date to conduct a pre-application meeting with planning staff in accordance to the two community meeting system will be on Tuesday, October 27th.  Sandy Springs is also revamping its comprehensive plan and has launched "The Next 10" online campaign to help generate community and stakeholder engagement. There is particular interest in revisiting subarea plans for Roswell Road. The aim of the revamp is complete modernization of the zoning code.

To read more on Sandy Springs' "Next 10" campaign, click HERE.

The Council for Quality Growth thanks  Mayor Lockwood and Michelle Alexander for their participation in Friday's North Fulton Advisory Meeting.
2015 Gwinnett Redevelopment Forum a Huge Success; Check Back Next Week for Full Report and Presentations
Partnership Gwinnett and the Council for Quality Growth successfully co-hosted the 2015 Gwinnett Redevelopment Forum on Thursday, October 15th, 2015. Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners chairman, Charlotte Nash welcomed attendants to the Studio Movie Grill in Duluth. Ms. Nash made clear that the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners is open to development ideas which involve extra density and which promote multi-modal connectivity throughout the region. President of Blue Landworks, LLC, Mr. Taylor Anderson, followed Chairman Nash's welcome with an historical overview of the Gwinnett's evolution from sleepy bedroom community in the 1970's to the major regional employment center it is today.

The event's keynote speaker was Mr. Tim Eachus, managing regional director for the Washington D.C. office of Jones Lang LaSalle. He began the morning by sharing lessons from his 18+ years of experience facilitating public-private partnership arrangements. Mr. Eachus highlighted that successful P3s are those in which all partners benefit. To achieve that success, however, requires that the public sector bring to the table a unified and bold vision which, though introduced by charismatic and change-agent style leadership, is sustained by a staff strongly committed to seeing the project to completion. Private sectors in successful p3s are most commonly found playing a significant but supportive role - in this way, public trust in the project isn't distorted or brought to a halt by discussion of developer motives.

Following Mr. Eachus, were retail and housing experts who shared their perspectives on the opportunities and challenges facing revitalization of key County corridors. These experts included:
  • Mr. Kirk Buttle, Senior Vice President of CBRE, 
  • Mr. Harold Shumacher, President and Managing Broker of The Shumacher Group, 
  • Mr. Leo Wiener, President of Ackerman Retail and Ackerman and Company 
The retail panel was moderated by Mr. Scott Meadows, President of Wheeler/Brand.

Audience members also heard from:
  • Mr. Joe Allen, Executive Director  of Gwinnett Place CID, 
  • Mr. Jim Brooks Executive Director of Evermore CID, 
  • Mr. Doug Stacks, Community Development Director of City of Lilburn,
  • Ms. Lisa Sherman, Community Development Director  of the City of Lawrenceville. 
Executive Director Chuck Warbington of Gwinnett Village CID moderated the discussion about the recent accomplishments within each speaker's jurisdiction.

Mr. Warbington also moderated the final panel on "Gwinnett's Top Accomplishments" which featured presentations from:
  • Mr. Al Holbrook, CEO of Solomon Development Services, 
  • Mr. Davis Hunt, Principal of Solomon Development Services,
  • Mr. Jimmy Baugnon, Division Executive of Terwilliger Papas Multifamily Partners, 
  • Ms. Lisa Anders Executive Director of Explore Gwinnett. 
This final panel discussed senior and multifamily housing projects in the City of Sugar Hill and City of Suwanee, as well as the vision presented in the Infinite Energy Center Master Plan.

Closing remarks to the 2015 Redevelopment Forum were provided by Dr. Dan Kaufman, President of the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce.

The Council for Quality Growth will feature a Full Report on the 2015 Gwinnett Redevelopment Forum next week. Members are encouraged to check back for more details! 

City of Atlanta Seeks Developer Input in Survey on Permitting Process
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. 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.
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. 

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 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, aj@councilforqualitygrowth.org, 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 www.CouncilforQualityGrowth.org 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 | jt@councilforqualitygrowth.org 
5901-C Peachtree Dunwoody Road
Suite 500
Atlanta, GA 30328