The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) has expanded to 11 counties with the addition of Forsyth County, a fast-growing part of the region's northern suburbs. The move became official today when a measure (HR130) passed by the state Legislature earlier this year became law.
The Forsyth County Commission began the process in 2019, when the board voted to leave the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission (GMRC) and join ARC.
ARC serves as metro Atlanta's regional planning agency and serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention, and resources on key regional issues. ARC is responsible for working with local governments to plan new transportation options, manage water resources, encourage the development of healthy, livable communities, and develop a competitive economy.
With the addition of Forsyth, ARC now includes the following counties: Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry, and Rockdale.
"Forsyth County is one of the most dynamic and important parts of metro Atlanta. In many ways, the county's fast-growing and evolving population reflects the future of our region," said ARC Board Chairman Kerry Armstrong. "This growth also brings ever-increasing challenges in long-range planning. We look forward to having Forsyth join our efforts in improving the quality of life for everyone in the Atlanta region."
Forsyth County Commission Chairwoman Cindy Jones Mills said that after decades of a fruitful and mutual relationship with GMRC, the county looks forward to the regional partnership that ARC will bring.
"The transition to the Atlanta Regional Commission will give Forsyth residents a stronger voice about our future in key areas, including transportation planning and water quality," she said. "I would like to express my gratitude to my fellow board members and to the local legislative delegation for the many months of hard work that made this possible."
By moving to ARC, Forsyth will have a voice and votes on metro Atlanta growth policies which already affect the county. The county and the City of Cumming will also be able to compete for assistance through ARC's Comprehensive Development Assistance Program (CDAP) and be able to utilize ARC's Research and Analytics Group and associated programs, such as Neighborhood Nexus.
Residents, meanwhile, will be eligible to participate in ARC leadership programs, including the Regional Leadership Institute, Arts Leaders of Metro Atlanta, Model ARC, and LINK.
Forsyth County will remain a part of the Atlanta Metropolitan Planning Organization, which is administered by ARC and is responsible for coordinating transportation planning for 21 counties in the greater Atlanta region.
The ARC board will add two board members: the Chair of the Forsyth County Commission, and the Mayor of Cumming, the county's only municipality. This will bring ARC membership to 41.
The boundaries for ARC's citizen member districts will be redrawn to include Forsyth, and citizen member elections held, within 90 days of the release of the 2020 U.S. Census, which is expected in September. The number of Citizen districts will remain at 15, and the new Citizen member districts will be effective Jan. 1, 2022.
The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) is the official planning agency for the 11-county Atlanta Region, including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale counties as well as the City of Atlanta and 74 other cities. The Atlanta Regional Commission serves as a catalyst for regional progress by focusing leadership, attention and planning resources on key regional issues.