Atlanta Building News
April 19, 2011

Governmental Affairs Update

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Impact Fees

The city of Atlanta has hired a team of consultants to revise the city’s impact fee program. The study highlights that exemptions granted to affordable housing developers accounted for more than 40 percent of uncollected fees.  The report seeks to revise how exemptions are granted as well as redefine service areas.  In addition the plan recommends that the new fee structure charge impact fees based on dwelling unit size instead of a flat fee.  Fees will likely increase, however the city will phase in the increases over time to allow developers time to adjust.  For a copy of the proposed impact fee report, click here.

Permit Task Force Recommendations Progressing

Last year Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed commissioned a task force to review the city’s permitting process and make recommendations.  The committee drafted a report that, in summary, suggested creating a one-stop streamlined process that allows permit applicants to receive all necessary reviews through one department, the Bureau of Buildings.  The reorganization will involve a consolidation of positions in the Watershed Development department and the Bureau of Buildings, a move that would likely reduce or eliminate some positions.  The recommendations are expected to run concurrent with the upcoming budgetary process, which must be approved by July 1, 2011. 

City Continues work on Comprehensive Development Plan

The city continues to work on its Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) to guide the direction for land use and economic development in the city for the next 3-5 years.  This will be the most important document the city will adopt this year as numerous regulatory changes will be implemented to achieve the goals outlined in this document.  Last November the city’s planning department completed a draft of the plan and will begin hosting meetings for public input beginning at the end of January.  The planning department just completed their second round of meetings, but is still looking for input on the plan. For a one-page fact sheet of the CDP click here.   For additional detailed information about the CDP, go to the city of Atlanta’s website or click here.  The CDP must be adopted by October 2011 by the Atlanta City Council. 


Incentives for Development

DeKalb County is hosting a meeting April 14, at 9 a.m. in the Clark Harrison Building, 1st floor, Conference Room A (330 W. Ponce de Leon Avenue).  DeKalb officials want to engage the building community to discuss how the county can entice builders to complete partially developed subdivision.  For more information contact April Atkins at


Comprehensive Plan Amendments

The county is currently updating their Comprehensive Plan to guide future development and the direction of the county for the next 20 years.  They are seeking input to allow residents an opportunity to view the plan and provide comments.  The next meeting is scheduled for April 28, from 6-8 p.m.  The meeting will be held at the county administration building, 110 E. Main St., Suite 220.  To view the county’s proposed plan go to the county’s website.  Adoption of the plan is required by June 30, 2012. 


Property Registration Ordinance

The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners voted adopt their property registration ordinance.  The ordinance requires that all vacant property owners pay a registration fee to the county.  The ordinance would apply to all property types, including single-family and multi-family residential, commercial, office and industrial.  Fees are based on property type.  The ordinance will be challenging for the county to enforce.  For a copy of the ordinance, click here.

Unified Development Code

Gwinnett County is in the process of creating a Unified Development Code.  The code would integrate existing regulations into one document.  Unified Development Code’s are considered to be easier to use and interpret.  The county has created a committee to review consultant recommendations.  The committee will meet throughout the year and conclude in December when the code is expected to be adopted.   


NPDES Enforcement Protocol Circulated to Local Government

In an effort to ramp up enforcement of NPDES General Permit for Storm Water Discharges Associated with Construction Activity, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources circulated enforcement protocols to local governments earlier this year. Enforcement protocols are clear and require that new owners of previously inactive subdivisions are required to file Notice of Intent even if the site was previously permitted under the 2003 NPDES General Permit and renewed under the 2008 General Permit revisions.  The protocols provide several scenarios under which enforcement should occur. It’s important to note that enforcement is expected to increase as it could potentially generate considerable revenue for the state and local government. For a copy of the protocols, click here.

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