Council's Emerging Leaders Initiative Launches this Month!
The Council is launching a new program that will Educate, Engage and Empower the Emerging Leaders within the Metro Atlanta area's growth and development industry - the Emerging Leaders Initiative.
ELI members will explore the industry through events lead by senior executives from engineering companies, developers, law firms, CIDs, utilities and other industry sectors. ELI will allow emerging leaders to expand their networks, plus knowledge of the development industry and regional policy issues. The Council wants ELI to equip our members with the depth and breadth of connections and information so that they are prepared to serve as the leaders of tomorrow.
JOIN TODAY so you can attend the FIRST ELI Reception on February 24. Contact Amanda Janaskie,, or James Touchton,, for more information.
Long-Awaited City of Atlanta Office of Buildings Strategic Plan Released this Week
The City of Atlanta's Office of Buildings permitting processes and organizational structure has been under review for the last 6 months by consultant BKD. The final report and Strategic Business Plan was presented at Tuesday's City of Atlanta Office of Buildings Technical Advisory Committee meeting. The Council for Quality Growth and the Technical Advisory Committee were very involved in overseeing the development of the plan recommendations. The plan outlined immediate priorities for the City to undertake as well as six "Principles of Change" that must be at the forefront of the department overhaul.

Some of the immediate priorities include bringing on Council Member, SAFEBuilt, which kicked off in January and has immediately resulted in "seamless collaboration" according to City leadership. Other short term priorities include implementing the Process Redesign Implementation Team and fully evaluating the strategic business plan, hire a permanent Director for the Office of Buildings, establish Service Level Agreements and develop and refine a cost of service plan. The six "Principles of Change" that serve as overarching goals for the department overhaul are 1. Focus on Applicant Experience; 2. Improving Communications (internally and externally); 3. Developing Staff Capacity; 4. Becoming More Data Driven; 5. Reducing the Overall Regulatory Burden.

Commissioner of Planning and Community Development, Tim Keane, has set a deadline of May 1st to have many of the immediate priorities listed in effect as well as visible organizational culture improvements. Commissioner Keane will address the Council's Atlanta Advisory Committee on March 2nd to discuss the implementation progress.

The Council was very pleased to see that recommendations from the Council's City of Atlanta Advisory Committee meeting, which doubled as a stakeholder interview with the consultant team, were incorporated into the final recommendations. Click HERE to view the full Office of Buildings Strategic Business Plan
Council Hosts Council Member Mary Norwood at Atlanta Advisory
On Wednesday, February 3rd, the Council's Atlanta Advisory Committee hosted City Council Member, Mary Norwood. Council Member Norwood is the Chair of the Planning and Zoning Committee and is closely involved in the City's Zoning Ordinance Re-write initiative. Click HERE to learn more about the Zoning Ordinance Re-write and to provide feedback via the online survey. Council Member Norwood asked the advisory committee for specific issues, concerns and examples of problems that should be prioritized in the zoning re-write.

Some of the concerns brought up by Council for Quality Growth members in attendance included fixing the broken SAP process, which is triggered on almost all development projects in the City, as well as a lack of coordination or consistent interpretation when multiple overlays affect a project (i.e. near Beltline and in a historic district). Council members also brought up the broken nature of the NPU system. The 26 NPUs in the City all operate differently and do not understand the role their role in the development process, which can result in delaying a project 6 to 12 months prior to permitting resulting in huge expenses. The committee suggested that NPU leadership be educated on their advisory role and have a maximum of 2 months to make recommendations on a project. Additionally, Neighborhood Blueprint plans adopted by City Council repeatedly disregard property rights of developers and commercial property owners. Council members also reiterated a recommendation from the Office of Buildings Technical Advisory Committee, that one building should house all departments relating to zoning and permitting to minimize confusion, improve internal and external communication and ensure greater clarity of regulations and more transparent processes.

The Atlanta Advisory Committee stressed the need to accomplish the zoning ordinance re-write in a timely, efficient manner, ideally with the new code fully evaluated and adopted in 18 to 24 months. In order for the changes that are being implemented from the Office of Buildings Strategic Business Plan to be truly effective, the new zoning code must be in place as soon as possible.

In addition to the zoning Ordinance re-write, City Council Member Norwood is also working on a resolution to address combined sewer overflow issues and associated fees across the City as well as a resolution that will prohibit the City from using eminent domain on greenspace. 

The Council thanks City Council Member, Mary Norwood for her commitment to promoting balanced and quality growth and development  in the City of Atlanta and her continued involvement with the Council for Quality Growth.
Senator Brandon Beach Discusses Transit Expansion at Advance Atlanta Event
Advance Atlanta hosted Senator Brandon Beach at event in North Fulton last Thursday evening  to discuss plans to further connect the Atlanta region through mass transit during the 2016 Georgia legislative session. Click HERE to view a video of the event.

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. Click HERE to read Atlanta Business Chronicle's article on Advance Atlanta.

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. Click HERE to learn more about Advance Atlanta and sign up for updates
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 next Tuesday, February 9th at 9 am 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
Last Wednesday 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
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.

The Council's North Fulton Advisory Committee will be discussing the proposal at our next meeting on Friday, February 5th.

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

To view the proposed ordinance amendment, Click HERE.
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).
February 4th, 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