Forsyth County Proposes Highest Impact Fees in Region
On Wednesday, October 21st, The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners held a special work session to discuss the Impact Fee Study prepared by consultant Duncan and Associates. The Council for Quality Growth and several Council members including land use attorney Doug Dillard, were in attendance at the meeting and are closely monitoring the progress of the new fees.

The Commissioners decided to move forward with the Public Hearing on November 19th; however, they also asked the Impact Fee Advisory Committee to reconvene before that hearing to discuss the impact the proposed fees may have on economic development. The Impact Fee Advisory Committee is instructed to seek consultation from members of the commercial development community and others in order to draft a new recommendation to the Board of Commissioners at the Hearing on the 19th.

The Council for Quality Growth will be in attendance at the Impact Fee Advisory Committee meeting, to be scheduled next week, in order to make certain that the Committee understands the detrimental impact the proposed fees could have on the County's economic viability. 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 40% of the maximum for an extended period of time. Click HERE to read more.

Click HERE to view the Council's key concerns with the proposed fees, presented to the Board of Commissioners. Click HERE to view a table comparing the proposed fees with surrounding communities in the region.

For any questions or concerns regarding Impact Fee proposals please contact policy analyst, Chelsea Hagood at 770-813-3374 or
Upcoming Municipal Elections May Result in New Leadership in Key Areas
On November 3rd, municipal elections will be held for Mayor and City Council positions around the Metro area. While many cities will not be holding their scheduled elections as all candidates are running unopposed (Alpharetta, Milton, Duluth), several seats are facing substantial challenges this year. The Cities of Dunwoody, Brookhaven and Smyrna may have new Mayors in office next year, while the city of Roswell could see turnover in three City Council seats. Click HERE to read more about the candidates and their proposals.

Click HERE to see all contested offices and candidate lists in Cobb, Cherokee, DeKalb, Forsyth, Fulton and Gwinnett.

Sandy Springs Implementing Zoning Process Changes
The City of Sandy Springs has been revamping its zoning application process in an attempt to address issues and obtain public input earlier in the zoning process, which will apply to rezoning, zoning condition modification, and use permit applications. Michelle Alexander, Director of Community Development, spoke to the North Fulton Advisory Committee earlier this month regarding the update. 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. This is intended to create a more efficient process and allow applicants to receive staff and community feedback at earlier stages in order to address concerns in a more timely fashion. The final date to conduct a pre-application meeting with planning staff in accordance to the two community meeting system will be next Tuesday, October 27th. Click HERE to view the additional submittal deadlines.
Sandy Springs is also updating 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.

Forsyth County Proposes to Hire New Building Inspectors
The Forsyth County Department of Planning and Community Development is proposing major upgrades to increase efficiency of the building permitting and inspections process. The Department submitted a proposal to the Board of Commissioners to increase the 2016 budget in order to hire three new inspectors, a new staff member to run the front desk, and interior upgrades and redesign of the front office. The County currently receives an average of 900 third Party Inspections per month due to lack of internal staff capacity. The three new inspectors are expected to add a capacity of 1,000 inspections per month to what the current staff can complete, reducing or eliminating the need for third party inspections in the County.

The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners will discuss this proposal at their Work Session next Tuesday, October 27th.

2015 Gwinnett Redevelopment Forum a Huge Success!
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! 

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

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 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 22, 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