Cherokee State of the County, a Huge Success!
 Cherokee County Chairman, Buzz Ahrens (Photo by John Humphreys)

Over 200 Council Members, elected officials and guests attended the 4th Annual Cherokee State of the County on Wednesday , January 27th. County Chairman, Buzz Ahrens gave the Keynote address discussing the County's past, present and future successes and challenges, and Misti Martin, President of the Cherokee Office of Economic Development gave an economic overview of the County's recent accomplishments and opportunities for continued growth moving forward. Martin highlighted the County's record business prospect activity in the last year and the need to remain focused on providing high paying jobs, desired housing types and commercial development to the County, specifically targeting the County's growing millennial population. Click HERE to view Misti Martin's full presentation

Chairman Ahrens' address was focused on the success of the County being critically tied into providing superior service to residents and businesses alike and focusing on continuous improvement across all areas. The Chairman promoted the major invesments in maintaining excellence and improving upon the County's public schools and colleges, water resources and reservoir planning, parks and recreation, public saftey and fire emergency services and transportation infrastructure planning and implementation.

Thanks to the Chairman's leadership, County and Agency staff dedication and invested residents, Cherokee County is a thriving, growing community with an exciting future ahead. Chairman Ahren's credits this success to the "Package of Predictability" residents and business have come to expect created through the County's commitment to service, which encompasses Jobs, Great Schools, Low Taxes, Growing Parks and Recreation, Service Excellence, Best Water/Sewer Operation in Georgia, Five Great Cities, Ethical Leadership and Professional Management. To view the Chairman's full presentation, click HERE.

The Council thanks Chairman Ahrens and Misti Martin for speaking and all of our sponsors for making this Cherokee State of the County the best one yet.
(L-R) Steve Garrison, Jr., Chairman, Cherokee Chamber; Scott Condra, Chairman, Council for Quality Growth; Misti Martin, President, Cherokee Office of Economic Development; Buzz Ahrens, Chairman, Cherokee County Board of Commissioners; Michael Paris, President & CEO, Council for Quality Growth; Jerry Cooper, County Manager, Cherokee County; Rick Bradshaw, Principal, TPA Group; Pam Carnes, President & CEO, Cherokee Chamber (Photo by John Humphreys).
Council Provides Public Comment on Cobb County Code Amendments
The Cobb County Board of Commissioners held the first of three public hearings on proposed code amendments on Wednesday, January 27th. The Council for Quality Growth was in attendance at the meeting to express support for some of the proposed amendments as well as shed light on amendments that could hinder quality development in Cobb County.

James Touchton, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at the Council for Quality Growth provided public comment before the Board of Commissioners. Touchton raised concerns regarding the proposal to eliminate the current CCRC classification (Continuing Care Retirement Community) and amendments to the RSL (Residential Senior Living) Supportive and Nonsupportive classifications. The Council is concerned that the proposed amendments to the RSL districts do not sufficiently provide for the development of high quality assisted living and senior housing developments that are possible with the current CCRC zoning. The proposed changes limit density and restrict development to specific areas in the County, which could in turn affect affordability and access to healthcare and amenities for residents. Some of these changes include reducing height restrictions from 4 and 5 stories to just two stories, reducing the maximum allowable units, and doubling parking requirements. These restrictions could make developing senior housing in Cobb County overly cost prohibitive, creating a barrier to residents' ability to 'age in place.'

The Council also expressed concerns with a proposed amendment to the Zoning Code which would require noise and visual abatement measures around all non-residentially zoned property when adjacent to or nearby residentially zoned property. Touchton explained that this amendment would have unintended consequences on a significant amount of development in the County and could negatively impact the aesthetic quality and sense of place that can be achieved by allowing for the development of a mix of land uses within an area. To view the letter submitted by the Council, click HERE

Chairman Tim Lee, requested that Community Development staff review the public comments submitted and revise the amendment package prior to the next public hearing, which will occur on February 9th at 7pm in the Board of Commissioners meeting room at 100 Cherokee Street in Marietta. 
To view Cobb County's complete code amendment package, click HERE

Roswell City Council Enacts Moratorium on Certain Residential Development: Council for Quality Growth Actively Opposed before City Council
Yesterday morning, in a hastily called special City Council meeting (called at the Monday evening Roswell City Council meeting), the City Council on a 4-2 vote (with City Council Members Nancy Diamond and Jerry Orlans dissenting), imposed a maximum 90 Day moratorium on zoning applications for Rezoning Districts RS-9, RS-6, RS-4, R-TH, and CC. The moratorium could end sooner if proposed changes to the UDC (passed last year after a 2 year process and a cost of over $300K) are approved.  The number of changes proposed, (which can be viewed HERE ), seeks to remove categories for multi-family, including townhomes.  The Council staff is working on an in-depth analysis of the effects if all changes proposed were enacted. 
James Touchton, Director of Policy and Government Affairs with the Council for Quality Growth testified before the City Council Wednesday Morning and expressed concerns with the implications of the moratorium and the effects the proposed changes to the UDC, if passed, would have on not only future development, but the message it sends to those who would look to retire, age in place or to the young professional seeking to start out in a multi-family unit in Roswell.  Many citizens, including Mayor Jere Wood, also expressed their concerns as to what message this moratorium would send to future residents and developers alike.
Roswell has become a place for those who wish to downsize (as Councilman Diamond expressed), retire or those seeking to begin those next steps in life (i.e. educated, higher incoming earning young professionals). In fact, one website ranked Roswell as the #3 town as the best for millennials.  With a vibrant downtown filled with unique dining options, events such as 'Alive After Five' and where the median household income is $79, 579  and the median rent is $995 per month, sending a message that the City is closed for certain types of development, whether through the moratorium or the soon to be discussed proposed UDC changes, is the wrong one to send.
The Council will continue to work with the City elected officials and staff as discussions begin around the proposed UDC changes and will be seeking out Council Member input throughout the process.  If you have comments/concerns over the proposed UDC changes listed above, please email James Touchton at or Chelsea Hagood at  

Click HERE to view the resolution, as adopted
The Council Congratulates Attorney General, Sam Olens on being Named Georgian of the Year and Council Members Recognized as Most Influential Georgians
Georgia Trend's 2016 Georgian of the Year: Attorney General, Sam Olens

Georgia Trend Magazine recognized Attorney General, Sam Olens as their 2016 Georgian of the year. The Council congratulates Attorney General Olens on this honor and thanks him for his long-standing ethical commitment to the State. Georgia Trend cited that Olens was selected for his passionate work leading Georgia's Department of Law and his focus on matters that affect the well-being of Georgia citizens. To read the full article on 2016 Georgian of the year, click HERE 

The magazine also released a list of the 100 most Influential and Notable Georgians in 2016. The list includes several Council members and Board members. The Council is pleased to congratulate its members on this notable recognition and thank them for their continued support in promoting balanced and responsible growth in our region. The list includes:

Council Board Members
  • State Senator Brandon Beach
  • President and CEO, Cobb Chamber, David Connell
  • Executive Director, Atlanta Regional Commissioner, Douglas Hooker
  • President and CEO, Gwinnett Chamber, Dan Kauffman
  • President and CEO, Atlanta Beltline Inc., Paul Morris
  • Executive Director, Cumberland CID, Malaika Rivers
  • Executive Director, Buckhead CID, Jim Durrett
Council Members
  • President and CEO, Georgia Power, Paul Bowers
  • President and CEO, Cousins Properties, Larry Gellerstedt III
  • President, AT&T Georgia, Beth Shiroishi
  • Chairman and CEO, Synovus, Kessel D. Stelling Jr.
  • CEO and Superintendent, Gwinnett Public Schools, J. Alvin Wilbanks
  • President and CEO, Midtown Alliance, Kevin Green
  • Executive Director, Central Atlanta Progress, A.J. Robinson
  • Executive Director, Gwinnett Village CID, Chuck Warbington
  • President, Perimeter CID, Yvonne D. Williams
  • Atlanta City Council President and Counsel with DLA Piper LLC., Ceasar Mitchell
To view the full lists of most Influential Georgians, click HERE and Notable Georgians, click HERE
TONIGHT - Advance Atlanta Hosts Free Young Professionals Event on Transit with State Senator Brandon Beach
The Coalition to Advance Atlanta is a citizen-driven grassroots advocacy coalition dedicated to building support for regional transit and championing existing transit resources. Advance Atlanta brings together businesses, residents, and other community partners to advocate for transportation solutions that will advance the region we are all proud to call home. To view the Board of Directors, click HERE
Advance Atlanta believes that the future of the metro region will be driven in large part by strategic investments in transit. If metro Atlanta is to remain competitive it will need to provide residents with comprehensive transit options capable of efficiently moving residents where they need to go when they need to be there. The Coalition to Advance Atlanta is proud to join together with Senator Brandon Beach to discuss plans to further connect the Atlanta region through mass transit during the 2016 Georgia legislative session. If you are a supporter of mass transit, or want to learn more, please come out and join us! North Fulton residents are especially welcome and encouraged to attend, as the event will cover the proposed northward rail expansion being discussed.

Click HERE to register

Click HERE to learn more about Advance Atlanta and sign up for updates
Register Now for 2016 South Metro Development Outlook 

Council Member, The Collaborative Firm will host the 2016 South Metro Development Outlook on February 18th at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park. This event serves as a platform to convene elected officials and industry professionals with a common interest in examining and discussing relevant growth-related issues in the southeast crescent. It highlights the following South Metro counties and the southern part of Atlanta: Clayton, Coweta, Douglas, Fayette, Henry, Spalding and South Fulton. Some of this year's speakers include Executive Director of the Development Authority of Fulton County, Al Nash, Executive Director of the Atlanta Regional Commission, Doug Hooker, Atlanta City Council President, Ceasar Mitchell, Clayton County Chairman, Jeff Turner and Fulton County Chairman John Eaves.

Click HERE to register
Council Member Feedback Requested on Sandy Springs Underground Utilities Proposal
The City of Sandy Springs is proposing and ordinance amendment that would require underground installation of utilities on any development projects in the City. This would apply to the installation of new utilities as well as existing utilities located on the property being developed or in the adjacent right of way.The Council is concerned for the potential economic impact this requirement may have in terms of delays and overall development cost. 

The proposed amendment was discussed at the City Council work session on January 5th and is expected to go before City Council next month. The Council for Quality Growth has concerns and will be in attendance at the meeting and appreciates any member feedback that can be incorporated to further quantify the impact this requirement would have on your current, planned or past projects in Sandy Springs or the surrounding area.

Please contact Policy Analyst, Chelsea Hagood at or 770-813-3374 with any comments or questions.

To view the proposed ordinance amendment, Click HERE.
Council Provides Public Comment on Corps of Engineers Water Control Manual Draft
The Council for Quality Growth provided public comment on the US Army Corps of Engineers' (USACE) Water Control Manual and Environmental Impact Statement for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin. The update provides scientific analysis supporting Georgia's request for increased water withdrawals from the Chattahoochee River and Lake Sydney Lanier to meet the needs of the Atlanta Region's continued population and economic growth and confirms what Georgia and Metro Atlanta water supply providers have long understood: that Georgia is not to blame for the collapse of the oyster industry or other related problems in the Apalachicola River, the Bay or Florida - and that attempts to blame Georgia are rooted in politics and not science.
The water supplied by Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River plays a crucial role in the balanced and responsible growth of State of Georgia and the metro Atlanta region. In the Draft, the Army confirms that the entire amount of Georgia's requested 2050 water demand is needed. However, the proposal does not grant the full amount of water supply requested from Lake Lanier. The Draft proposes to grant only 225 mgd from Lake Lanier without establishing a rational relationship between this proposal and any project purpose or environmental impact.  While the Council is pleased the Army has proposed to provide the full request of 408 mgd from the Chattahoochee River below Lake Lanier, the Draft Water Control Manual should be revised to meet the entire projected demand of 242 mgd for withdrawals from Lake Lanier. The Council is concerned that the Army's proposal to not grant the entire request from Lake Lanier will hamstring and foreclose future economic opportunity.
The Council appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Draft and will remain committed to assisting the Atlanta Region in addressing its important water needs. Click HERE to read the letter submitted by the Council.
Click HERE to read more about the draft update and how it relates to the Tri-State Water Rights Litigation
Click HERE to view the USACE Draft 

January 28th, 2016

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

770-813-3381, for sponsorship information.

The Council is hosting SEVEN State of the County events this year!
Save the date for more details to come for:

Clayton State of the County
March 30, 11:30 AM

Fulton State of the
April 28, 11:30 AM

Forsyth State of the County
May 19, 11:30 AM


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