Don't forget to register to attend this milestone occasion on Friday, December 4 --- featuring a keynote by Governor Nathan Deal, plus many more special guests and program pieces to honor the Council's first 30 years!  

Sponsorships are still available -
Contact Amanda Janaskie, aj@councilforqualitygrowth.org
Council to Host Special Development Focus Group for BKD Audit of City of Atlanta Office of Buildings
The Council for Quality Growth will be hosting a targeted focus group during the City of Atlanta Advisory Committee Meeting on Wednesday, December 2nd, to gather input to inform the audit and business plan being developed for the City of Atlanta Office of Buildings. With discussion facilitated by the Council, Consultant BKD will engage members of the Atlanta Advisory Committee on concerns and recommendations related to everything from a complete overhaul of the City's code, consistency between office of buildings and planning and zoning, updating the fee structure from Table 100 to a local cost structure and implementing more efficient internal policies.

While some Council members have participated in BKD's stakeholder interviews and individual surveys, this is an opportunity to collectively influence the recommendations that will guide the improvement of the City's zoning and permitting processes and department overhaul. After meeting with the Atlanta Advisory Committee, BKD will prepare an initial report identifying immediate changes that can be made to improve departmental efficiency to be delivered at the end of the year, followed by a full report with recommendations and a complete business plan in January.

The Council thanks Michael Nagey, Interim Director of Office of Buildings and Planning and Community Development Commissioner, Tim Keane for supporting the Council's engagement in the BKD audit and recommendations.

Forsyth County Proposes Highest Impact Fees in Region

The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing on Thursday, November 19th, to discuss the proposed impact fee increases. The proposed Roads Fee is significantly higher than any other municipality in the region at $7,288 for residential units and $9,392 per 1,000 sq. ft. of commercial. Forsyth County has not previously collected Roads Impact Fees.
James Touchton, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at the Council for Quality Growth addressed the Board of Commissioners to express concerns and request additional information about the proposed fees. Because the Fees were not calculated from an existing project list and transportation plan, the Council requested that the County DOT prepare an up-to-date transportation needs assessment that accounts for the $200 Million infrastructure bond and the recently announced $156 Million in matching funding from GDOT as well as how funding from House Bill 170 (State Transportation Funding Bill) will be used to construct prioritized transportation improvement projects. Until the need for this additional impact fee revenue is clearly identified, the Council cannot assess or support the proposed ordinance. Touchton also requested that the ordinance include a provision to vest projects that have already made major investments in the County to include any developments that have submitted a complete Land Disturbance Permit (LDP), Final Plat, Preliminary Plat, or Zoning Application, requiring that all vested projects apply for a building permit within 18 months. Click HERE to view the formal letter submitted by the Council to the Board of Commissioners.
After hearing from Touchton and others including Council member and Land Use Attorney, Doug Dillard, the Board of Commissioners moved to send the ordinance back to the Imapct Fee Advisory Committee to consider the new transportation funding and legal concerns brought to their attention. The Board will revisit the ordinance at a second public hearing on December 17th. The Council for Quality Growth will continue to work with the Board of Commissioners to ensure that a balanced, transparent impact fee ordinance is passed.

To view the Council's key concerns with the proposal, click HERE

To read more about the proposed fees and the Impact Fee Advisory Committee recommendations, click HERE.

Click HERE to view the draft ordinance.

For any questions or concerns regarding Impact Fee proposals please contact Policy Analyst, Chelsea Hagood at 770-813-3374 or ch@councilforqualitygrowth.org.

Sandy Springs Implementing New 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. Project applicants will now be required to facilitate one public meeting prior to their application submittal, as opposed to the present practice of needing to participate in two community meetings during review of their plans. Once the application has been submitted, a second public meeting is required to address any changes in the plans. These changes are intended to increase efficiency and allow applicants to receive staff and community feedback at earlier stages in the process in order to address concerns before the project goes before Mayor and City Council.

Click HERE to view the new Application

Click HERE to view a flow chart of the new process

Click HERE to view current submittal deadlines

Federal Transportation Bill in Bicameral Negotiations 
Congress has appointed 15 Senators and 28 members of the House of Representatives, including Rep. Rob Woodall of Gwinnett who represented Georgia on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, to negotiate and come to an agreement on the nation's first long-term transportation legislation in over a decade. Earlier this month, the House of Representatives successfully passed the Surface Transportation Reauthorization and Reform Act of 2015 (H.R. 3763). Similarly to the Senate's DRIVE Act passed in July, the bill authorizes surface transportation and infrastructure improvement spending over six years from fiscal years 2016 through 2021. The House and Senate Bills provide $325 and $342 Billion respectively, neither of which is sufficient to maintain the baseline funding needed for a 6 year bill. To address this shortfall, conference committee members are considering additional funding sources as well as a 5 year version of the bill that could allow for a higher year-by-year baseline increase in order to provide greater stability and predictability for state and local transportation project planning and implementation.

The Congressional committee is expected to reach an agreement and finalize the bill next week in order to get final Congressional approval and reach the President's desk before the December 5th deadline.

To view the  summary of the House bill, click HERE , and  HERE for full text of the  bill

Council Hosts Mayor Max Bacon of the City of Smyrna

On Wednesday, November 18th, the Council for Quality Growth Hosted City of Smyrna Mayor Max Bacon at the Cobb Advisory meeting. The Mayor expressed his excitement about the direction his hometown is heading towards and new developments the next four years will bring. Projects currently underway include a 47,593 sq. ft. shopping plaza,  The Shops at Belmont; a 153 single family home community, the Village of Belmont; and a luxury apartment complex, Alta Belmont, with rents starting at $1,105 for a 604 sq. ft. studio. Constructed by Halpern Enterprises, David Weekly Homes, and Wood Partners, the 48 acre mixed use development sits on the site of the new Smyrna Elementary School and is less than 2 miles from the location of the new Braves' stadium.

The Mayor excitedly regarded the many signs pointing to the City of Smyrna's continued prosperity with Google Fiber installment across the City, new grocery stores under construction and an easily accessible new Well Star Hospital. Scheduled to open in 2017, the new health park will be located less than 2 miles from the site of now shuttered Emory-Adventist Hospital. The Mayor concluded his update by reiterating he is excited about the opportunity to engage residents, old and new, in the visioning process for Smyrna's future.

The Council for Quality Growth thanks Mayor Max Bacon for this participation in Wednesday's Cobb Advisory Meeting. 

Council Seeks Spring Policy & Marketing 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 spring unpaid internships.
Policy Interns
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. 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.  
For a complete overview of the POLICY internship requirements click HERE or contact James Touchton at

Marketing Interns
Will work on a variety of projects that leverage and develop creativity and  communication skills in a real world environment. Applicants studying Marketing, PR, English or related fields are preferred.

For a complete overview of the MARKETING internship requirements click HERE or contact Amanda Janaskie at

Please Note: Internships are unpaid. Working schedules are flexible due to the responsibilities classes demand.

November 27th, 2015

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


Contact Amanda Janaskie, aj@councilforqualitygrowth.org, for sponsorship opportunities. 






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