Council Hosts Atlanta Regional Commission's, Mike Alexander at North Fulton Advisory
At the North Fulton Advisory meeting on Friday, February 5th, recently named the Director of ARC's Center for Livable Communities, Mike Alexander gave a dynamic overview of the demographic and economic outlook for North Fulton County. 

Mike Alexander led a data-driven discussion on Metro Atlanta's strengths like overall job growth, particularly in Atlanta and North Fulton, as well as weaknesses like transit and wage growth. He also gave demographic overviews for each city in North Fulton. Interestingly, Sandy Springs has more residents age 20-29 than any other age group while John's Creek has fewer residents age 20-29 than any other age group in the City. He also discussed how North Fulton communities have become increasingly more diverse and the ARC's projections show that this trend will continue as the metro area grows. 

Click HERE to download the full presentation and editable data set

North Fulton Advisory Committee Members discussed policy issues facing North Fulton Communities that could inhibit quality growth and development, such as the recent moratorium announced in Roswell and the Sandy Springs proposal to require developers to bear the cost of burying power lines on all permitted projects. Advisory Committee members discussed how, in light of the data presented regarding the future of North Fulton, policies and decision makers must work to actively support quality development that meets the needs of today's and future residents.

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.
TSW's Bill Tunnell Talks Smart Medium-Density Development Practices at Cherokee Advisory

On Wednesday, February 10th, Founding Principal at TSW, Bill Tunnell, spoke to the Cherokee Advisory Committee. Tunnell's presentation focused on providing design and development solutions for "the Missing Middle" or middle density communities. He explained that metro Atlanta has expertise and experience developing urban centers and residential subdivisions, but tend to struggle with understanding and codifying developments that fall in the middle. 

Tunnell described how these developments can take the form of "Pocket Neighborhoods," where several houses on smaller lots surround a shared community greenspace. Tunnell showed the group how larger subdivision lots can be retrofitted for three or more of the smaller 'mew' lots around a central greenspace. Developers have also found that land cost savings from building on the smaller lots allow the home product to have more upgrades and high quality materials and design at the same price point as a traditional single family home. TSW has worked on several of these "middle density" housing developments in Cherokee County and across the region including Woodstock, Cobb Town Center, Marietta and City of Atlanta. 

Tunnell also highlighted municipalities in the region that are taking steps toward codifying pocket neighborhoods and smaller multifamily developments that provide medium density housing. Cities like Decatur and Alpharetta have adopted codes that allow for these types developments.  Cherokee County Community Development Director, Jeff Watkins, brought up that the County has had success with conservation subdivisions and hopes that these development trends will continue to gain momentum regionally and in Cherokee.

To view the full presentation, click HERE
Council Provides Public Comment on Cobb County Code Amendments
The Cobb County Board of Commissioners held the second of three public hearings on proposed code amendments on Tuesday, February 9th. 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.

Dana Johnson, Cobb Community Development Director, presented the Cobb County Planning Commission recommendations on the code amendments. One of the recommendations supports a request by the Council for Quality Growth to table the  proposed zoning code amendment which would require noise and visual abatement measures around all non-residentially zoned property when adjacent to or nearby residentially zoned property.

The Council for Quality Growth provided public comment before the Board of Commissioners to reiterate 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.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 final public hearing, which will occur next Tuesday, February 23rd at 7 pm in the Board of Commissioners meeting room at 100 Cherokee Street in Marietta. 
To view Cobb County's complete code amendment package, click HERE

Register Now for Next Week's 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
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 last 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.

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.
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.
February 11th, 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