This Newsletter is intended to keep the people of Cobb County aware of the happenings around the Community Development Agency and how it impacts you: as a citizen, business owner, and/or investor in Cobb. This is a monthly newsletter; every quarter a special is released, presenting an extensive overview of the business within the Community Development Agency.
- Implements federal, state, and county environmental mandates
- Advises the Board of Commissioners and general public on development and planning issues as they affect the environment, financial, economic, legal, and social welfare of Cobb County
- Responsible for maintaining and increasing the quality-of-life in the County as deemed necessary by the Board of Commissioners and county residents
As the development coordinating agency for Cobb County,
Community Development fulfills its role by providing and when necessary, enhancing the programs administered by its seven (7) divisions: Administration, Business License, Code Enforcement, Erosion Control, Development and Inspections, Planning, and Zoning.
In effort to modernize our processes and streamline content, our website has been remodeled and content has been restored. Many Community Development forms will be available for online submission soon. Forms that require notaries must still be submitted in-person.
Beginning in October, Community Development will be awarding an exceptional employee through our new "Employee Spotlight" in our Newsletter's Quarterly Special.This employee must demonstrate unprecedented customer service, teamwork and leadership within our employee community.
Nominations are welcomed from both co-workers and Cobb County citizens. To nominate a Community Development employee, Click Here.
BOAG 2017 Inspector of the Year
Congratulations to Kelly Duncan for winning the Building Official Association of Georgia’s (BOAG) 2017 Inspector of the Year. Members of the Northwest Georgia Inspectors Association recognized Kelly’s rich, certified background and passed their nomination up to the main Georgia chapter, BOAG. This is the highest award given to any field inspector in Georgia.
Kelly began his career as a temporary engineer’s aid with Cobb County while enrolled full-time at Southern Technical Institute majoring in Architectural Engineering in 1979. At that time, Kelly obtained his residential building inspector certification through the Southern Building Code of Congress (SBCC), now known as the International Code Council (ICC). After graduation, Kelly moved on to the private sector as a self-employed business owner and certified building inspection contractor. From 1985 to 2000, Kelly Duncan helped administer the Cobb County Community Development block grant program awarded by the United States Government. This program was proven to be a very successful Housing and Urban Development project, assisting low-to-moderate income homeowners with housing upkeep. At the start of the recession, Kelly adopted employment at several smaller government agencies around Metro-Atlanta. During this time, Kelly received more than ten (10) inspector-certifications, ranging from residential-electrical to the Georgia State duct and envelope certification. A complete list of his certifications can be seen below.
Kelly joined the Cobb County Community Development Agency team as a Nuisance
-Abatement and Housing Complaint Coordinator in March of 2017. “I’ve been following the work of Kelly Duncan during his employment with smaller cities; I learned of his skills, abilities, and work-ethic. Kelly is the ideal combination inspector and sets a standard of continued improvement, through education and training, for his fellow inspectors here at Community Development. He is a self-starter and extremely code-conscience. He’s a delight to have on my team, and I know great things are to come from his work at Cobb County.” – Lee McClead, Deputy Director / Chief Building Official
When asked, “what advice do you have for your younger constituents and coworkers looking to move forward in the workplace?” Kelly humbly states,” Never stop learning. Get as many certifications as you can, when you can – you never know where that knowledge may take you.”
Kelly Duncan’s ICC Certifications:
- Residential Combination:
- Commercial Building
- Commercial Mechanical
- Residential Plan & Energy Code
- International Property Maintenance Code
- GA State Duct & Envelope
The Community Development Agency would like to announce the retirement of JT Jones and Jeff Prather from the Erosion Division. We are sad to see these two excellent employees go, but are exponentially proud for what they’ve accomplished. “JT and Jeff have been model employees, setting a high standard for all Cobb County Inspectors. The both will be greatly missed by Cobb County Government; it has truly been a joy to supervise them.” – Frank Gipson, Erosion Control Division Manager
JT began his career at Cobb County as a building and grounds inspector with the Water Department in October 2001. After 8 months of employment, he transferred to Community Development in 2002. JT has left his mark on the Erosion Control Division, having helped the us enter into the computer age. His last day is on Thursday, June 1, 2017. “The best thing about my employment at Community Development has been working alongside this great group of men and women. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.” – JT Jones
Jeff has been with Cobb County since September 1989. He was hired on as a crew worker II with the Parks and Recreation Department and was promoted to crew chief before transferring to the Community Development Agency in 1999. As a part of the initial team, Jeff helped frame the erosion control inspection process and created a quality standard for the division and State. He was the first Erosion Control inspector to focus on the high-maintenance, ground breaking Erosion Control areas of Cobb County. His last day is Friday, July 3, 2017. “I love coming in everyday and working with my coworkers. My favorite part about working at Cobb County has been working with the public and meeting new faces every day. “– Jeff Prather
Permit Forms through ACA
Online Sign Permitting is now available through our Acella Citizen’s Access (ACA) online platform. You must register before applying for a sign permit.
EDIT: COMMERCIAL PERMITTING IS NOT YET AVAILABLE
Follow Cobb County Government on FaceBook and catch our #codetiptuesday. Every Tuesday we share commonly violated county ordinances to keep the community well informed. #growcobbco
Cobb County Distillery & Brewery Tour
In conjunction with Cobb Travel and Tourism, Cobb County Information Services has developed an interactive driving tour map for local breweries located in Cobb County. Nine (9) breweries are featured, with three routes listed: Northern Tour, Southern Tour, and All sites. Brewery Hours, Website, and Contact information are available for each location. Please Drink Responsibly.
Community Development Agency is hosting a "Blue Jean Friday" every other Friday for employees. Employees who choose to wear jeans on non-payday Fridays must donate $1 toward this quarter's charity, The Wounded Warrior Project. If you're interested in donating, drop your donation in a can placed in the Community Development lobby.
The Cobb County 2040 Comprehensive Plan: Vision for a New Era
With progress comes change. As Cobb County grows it becomes increasingly important to promote positive community characteristics and the area's ambiance. Comprehensive plans serve as road maps for the future of communities. The Cobb County 2040 Comprehensive Plan: Vision for a New Era is an update to the existing 2030 Comprehensive plan. It cultivates guidance to the community and maintains protection of vital resources while steering growth into appropriate areas.
The Comprehensive Plan is a long-range, community designed growth strategy that promotes Cobb County as an attractive place to invest, conduct business, and raise a family. The current plan was adopted in 2007 and includes subsequent annual amendments, covering the time period between 2007 and 2030. The update will extend the current plan's growth outlook to the year 2040. The 2040 Comprehensive Plan will help Cobb County manage projected population and employment growth and coordinate land use policy, major public investments in Public Safety, Transportation, Community Facilities, and other important elements that make Cobb a great place to live, work and play.
County staff has prepared a draft of the 2040 Comprehensive Plan document that includes needs and opportunities, goals and policies, and a community work program for each planning element contained within. Creation of the draft plan was aided by data compiled via research from various sources, as well as via feedback received from the public by way of a community engagement process, which included the following activities:
- One public hearing
- Ten community meetings and workshops
- Over 40 interviews
- A phone survey with 2,500 respondents
The draft plan is currently under staff review. A 30-day public review period for the draft plan is anticipated to begin in early June, followed by two public hearings, one held by the Planning Commission and the other by the Board of Commissioners. The purpose of these hearings is to brief the public on the contents of the plan, provide an opportunity for additional public comment on plan contents, and to provide the Planning Commission and Board of Commissioners the opportunity to make final suggestions, additions or revisions to the draft plan document. (Note: The Planning Commission is a recommending body whose actions are non-binding, while actions by the Board of Commissioners are final.) The completion of these hearings will result in the submission of the draft plan document to the Atlanta Regional Commission for procedural review. Once the draft plan has been found to be in compliance with the Minimum Planning Standards and Procedures set forth by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, the Board of Commissioners can officially adopt the 2040 Comprehensive Plan as policy. This must occur in order to maintain the County’s Qualified Local Government certification, which is critical to the County’s eligibility for various federal and state funding programs.
Design guidelines enhance aspects of the physical environment and provide a strategy that raises the standards for how public and private developments contribute to the holistic appearance of the built and natural environment and the overall quality of life of an area. They assist County staff and other professionals such as architects, engineers, planners, developers, and community members in making more informed design decisions for either private developments or public facility investments.
Cobb County has existing design guidelines established along the Atlanta Road, Canton Road, Dallas Highway and Macland Road corridors. Currently, the Planning Division of Cobb County Community Development is in the process of creating design guidelines for Vinings Village. Additionally, staff is in the process of completing design guidelines along Mableton Parkway and Veterans Memorial Highway in Mableton and have plans to develop guidelines along Austell Road. To view the presentations held from meetings and workshops, visit the Community Development Home Page.
In addition, staff is working to develop a coordinated streetscape standard along the Cobb Parkway corridor between Windy Hill Road and Cumberland Boulevard, in an effort to integrate existing standards currently in use in the general area that have been established by the City of Smyrna, the Cumberland Community Improvement District, and the Atlanta Braves (The Battery Atlanta and SunTrust Park), respectively. Upon completion of an existing conditions analysis and project summary, County staff and representatives from the aforementioned entities will work together to develop an implementation strategy for the new coordinated streetscape standard.
There have been two sites nominated and accepted by the Historic Preservation Commission and Board of Commissioners to be inducted into the Cobb County Register of Historic Places.
Shoupade ParkShoupade Park, consisting of 2.35 acres, is located on the east side of Oakdale Road, approximately ¼ mile north of South Cobb Drive and ¾ mile north of I-285. The park is found between two residential developments, sitting on a ridge and contains earthworks built during the Civil War. Views of the Atlanta skyline are visible from the ridge. The parcel contains two examples of a unique type of Civil War redoubt, known as Shoupades, built in Cobb County by the Confederate Army during the summer of 1864. An artillery redan is located between the two Shoupades.
New Friendship Baptist ChurchNew Friendship Baptist Church was founded in 1881 by Reverend Alexander Penn. It is one of the oldest African-American churches in Cobb County. James T. Echols sold the property to the Trustees of New Friendship Baptist Church for $25.00 on May 8, 1891. The deed states the property was sold for church and school purposes. The historic New Friendship Baptist Church is currently not regularly used by the congregation, due to an accommodation made for a growing congregation. However, the building remains an integral part of their history.
The New Friendship Elementary School, built c. 1881, educated children from the first through seventh grades and was located on the property. The building is no longer in existence and it is unknown when the school closed and was demolished. A 1910 survey indicates the existence of the school and locates it near the western property line, due west of the church.
New Friendship Baptist Church, being one of the oldest African-American churches in Cobb County, is an excellent example of a religious institution and its historic use as a spiritual, educational and social center within the African-American community.
Interested in Nominating your historic home or property to be listed on the Cobb County Register of Historic Places? Once inducted into the register, you gain exclusive historical resource protection. Incentives and programs may be available once added to the register. For more information, contact Mandy Elliott, Historic Preservation Planner, at 770-528-2010.
The purpose of the South Cobb Redevelopment Authority (SCRA) is to foster activity that promotes revitalization and redevelopment in areas that have experienced under-investment. The goal of the SCRA is to promote and create favorable locations for trade, commerce, industry, and employment opportunities in southern Cobb County. Currently, there are several initiatives focused on spurring redevelopment that are underway in South Cobb.
Riverside (formerly Six Flags) Community
In 2016, the process of rebranding the area generally referred to as Six Flags was rebranded as the Riverside Community. This involved the re-naming of multiple roads within the area that included “Six Flags” in the name. These changes were finalized in conjunction with the completion of multiple roadway infrastructure projects conducted by the Cobb County Department of Transportation. The changes are as follows:
- Cityview Drive – formerly Six Flags Drive between Six Flags Parkway and Riverside Parkway
- Riverside Parkway – Formerly Six Flags Drive from the newly re-named Cityview Drive to Blair Bridge Road (extends northwestward the Riverside Parkway name from where it previously existed south of I-20)
- Premier Lane – A private drive formerly known as Six Flags Parkway (not connected to the existing public roadway known by the same name)
Additionally, the SCRA has been charged with implementing projects authorized by the $10 million Six Flags Area Redevelopment Bond. The first of these was the acquisition and demolition of the Magnolia Crossing Apartments. The property was purchased in October 2015 and by May 2016, all residents had been successfully relocated (with help from several community partners). By October 2016, all buildings on the site had been demolished, paved surfaces had been removed the site had been stabilized. The property is currently being marketed for sale and redevelopment.
More recently, the SCRA has begun the initial phase of implementation for another project from the Redevelopment Bond. The project consists of beautification and landscaping improvements at the two I-20 interchanges in South Cobb (Six Flags Parkway and Riverside Parkway). An engineering/landscape architecture consultant was hired to develop a design concept, which has been approved by the SCRA Board. In addition to plant material, the improvements will include a pilot-basis implementation of gateway marker signage for South Cobb, which was conceptualized and designed as part of the South Cobb Marketing and Branding Strategy of 2015/2016 and approved for use by the Board of Commissioners in the summer of 2016. A Request for Proposals (RFP) will soon be released by the SCRA for installation and maintenance of the landscaping material. A separate RFP will be released for the fabrication and installation of the signage, the timing of which has yet to be determined.
A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a computer-based tool that is used to store, analyze, and display data relative to people and spatial locations. In Community Development, GIS data is used to aid in making informed land use-related decisions based on trends and patterns. The GIS Section, which is housed within the Planning Division of the Agency, is responsible for maintaining and mapping various data sets, including Zoning, Future Land Use, Addressing, and the Municipal Boundaries of the six cities located within the County. Many steps of the development and redevelopment review process are streamlined between different departments through the use of GIS.
GIS works directly with Emergency 911 Dispatchers by providing them with a thorough database of active addresses tied to buildings and/or parcels of land. This helps direct emergency responders to precise physical locations, providing reduced response times to those who call for assistance.
Since January 2017, the GIS section has been utilized by many projects, including:
- Assignment of street addresses to properties within The Battery Atlanta. Completed by Community Development’s GIS Section.
- Creation of 3-dimensional renderings of The Battery Atlanta and SunTrust Park. In progress
- Aiding Economic Development in updating the inventory of Redevelopment Sites throughout the County. In Progress
- Historic Preservation is updating the database of Demolished Historic Structures. This information is stored in a GIS layer. This can be viewed on a physical map, and will soon be available through an online Story Map. In progress
- The Planning Division is finalizing the 2040 Comprehensive Plan document, and the GIS Section will be assisting with the creation of an online Story Map to accompany it. In Progress
Our staff is hard-at-work supplying our citizens with single-family residential, multifamily, and commercial permits. Since January, we have issued over 1,000 permits in total, accumulating over $220 million in valuation.
Our inspectors have made over 30,000 inspections since January. The most common inspection is the electrical, with over 6,000 inspections.
Site Plan Review
Staff has been diligently working to streamline the Plan Review Process, encouraging developers and contractors to submit plans online to be reviewed by each department of Cobb County. The Accella Citizens Access (ACA) portal is now open to developers seeking a small-scale Land Disturbance Permit. Large-scale projects are still encouraged to utilize our in-person One-Stop Plan Review system in order to receive feedback and approval.
Cobb County is a staple leader in the efficiency of our plan review process. The original One Stop Plan Review system required developers to visit each department separately in an effort to get plans reviewed and final stamps given. In the mid 1990's, this process was changed to benefit the developer. The One Stop Process begins with an initial meeting with the developer or contractor, Plan Review Manager, Erosion Control Manager, Zoning Department Representative, Water Department Representative, Fire Marshall and Department of Transportation Representative. This meeting is a exemplary representation of teamwork and collaboration between Cobb County Government and its citizens. Once all requirements are met by the developer, a second meeting is held to supply each department's final stamp all at once. The new online Plan Review process has been proven to be more convenient for the applicant, saving them time and money. Visit www.cobbcounty.org/comdev to learn more.
The Erosion and Sediment Control Division improves and protects Cobb County's urban soil and water resources by reducing the amount of erosion from urban development sites. This division is responsible for the enforcement of state law and the county ordinance for erosion & sediment control to preserve the natural resources in Cobb County.
In February 2017 the Erosion Control Division manager, Frank Gipson, assisted in coordination of the 2nd Annual Georgia Urban AgriScience and Outdoor Recreation Expo. This event was held at Cobb County’s Jim Miller Park. Our inspectors were recertified through hands-on training and active presentations.
Zoning Division Community Development has created a universal "HOW-TO" for all things zoning. Educate yourself by watching "Zoning 101." Visit www.cobbcounty.org/comdev and select "zoning." Click on the image icon. YouTube access must be allowed. Calendars 2017 zoning cycle and variance schedule calendars are available through our website. Visit www.cobbcounty.org/comdev and select "zoning."
Like and Follow Cobb County Government's Facebook page to be informed regarding official county ordinances that may catch you by surprise. Every Tuesday Community Development shares a post, signed with #codetiptuesday and #growcobbco. These posts are meant to educate our followers about commonly violated codes reported by citizens.
Donation Drop Box Ordinance
All Donation Drop Boxes located in unincorporated Cobb County must abide by the Official County ordinances. Failure to properly register or maintain a donation drop box may be in violation of the Official Code of Cobb County and may be subject to enforcement and fines pursuant to section 134-287 (5).
Words from the Director
Thank you for reading the premier edition of the Community Development monthly newsletter; this presents an exciting opportunity to consistently engage with the community and educate residents, businesses, and visitors about our role with the county.
As the development coordinating agency, Community Development has a strong role in the economic progress of Cobb County. We take this responsibility very seriously by embracing our passion to oversee quality growth, advance economic opportunities to all citizens, and promote job creation. We work with developers and neighborhoods to ensuring that new development fit into the fabric of the community. We assist with the environmental stewardship of our land and waters to ensure a quality natural environment. Our seven (7) divisions are committed to assisting the private sector builds quality buildings; are constructed safely and properly; and maintain ordinance compliance as we strive to balance the rights and desires of the community against the rights and values of the property owner.
If you are not yet subscribed to this publication, and would like you to be, please Click Here.
Dana Johnson, AICP
Cobb County Community Development Agency Director