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New ARC Program Offers Planning Assistance to 13 Communities Across Region

(ATLANTA – June 4, 2018) The Atlanta Regional Commission announced today that it will provide critical planning support to 13 communities in metro Atlanta that aim to improve quality of life for local residents.

The projects were selected through ARC’s new community development assistance program (CDAP), which solicited proposals from cities, counties, and non-profit organizations across the Atlanta region.

“We were greatly impressed with the diversity of projects submitted. Collaborating with local communities is a key way ARC is helping move the region forward,” said Mike Alexander, Director of ARC’s Center for Livable Communities.

ARC has long provided planning support to local communities, considering individual proposals as they arose. The community development assistance program takes a much more deliberate approach, dedicating resources on an annual basis in a way that enables the agency to serve even more communities.

“The community development assistance program enables ARC to be more strategic in how we provide planning and technical assistance at the local level,” said Sam Shenbaga, manager of the agency’s Community Development Group. “Through the solicitation process, we were able to clearly communicate our agency’s capabilities and better meet community needs.”

Applicants were asked to utilize one or more of the following four ‘lenses’ to help explain their request for assistance:

Equity – promoting diversity or inclusion in the community.
Prosperity –fostering economic and cultural vitality.
Resiliency –contributing to protection of local natural resources.
Mobility – improving circulation and connectivity.

In addition to utilizing staff resources, ARC is partnering with regional partners, including the Urban Land Institute, SouthFace Energy Institute, Georgia Power, and Georgia Tech, to provide assistance to additional communities.

The following projects have been offered assistance through the CDAP program:

Acworth Planning Commission & City Council Training

The city of Acworth and ARC will organize a day of planning-related training for city staff, elected officials, and appointed officials, such as planning commission members. Content will include the foundations of planning and zoning in Georgia, best practices, and regional issues. The event, which will also be open to similar individuals from other communities in the northwest part of the region, will also offer opportunities for networking and the sharing of best practices.

Alpharetta Placemaking Plan

The city of Alpharetta and ARC will develop guidelines for the creation of public spaces and the installation of public art in the area around North Point Mall, as well as engaging the community to determine what would appeal most to residents and visitors.

Chattahoochee Hills Stormwater Management Assessment

ARC will help the city of Chattahoochee Hills assess its current stormwater management regulations. The goal is to assist city officials in establishing a district-wide stormwater management plan that complies with recent updates to the Georgia Stormwater Management Manual.

Clayton County Zoning Training

ARC will host a day of training for Clayton County’s Board of Zoning Appeals and its Zoning Advisory Group. The group will study the foundations of planning and zoning in Georgia, best practices, regional issues, and various topics around future growth and development. Participants will also be given opportunities for networking and exchanging ideas.

East Point Downtown Overlay District

In an effort to promote development opportunities in downtown East Point, ARC staff will work with East Point officials to evaluate and rewrite the design standards and regulations for the area and to recommend zoning changes.

Fairburn Creative Placemaking Plan

ARC and Fairburn staff will develop guidelines for building an environment conducive to quality arts and cultural experiences for residents and visitors. The guidelines will include policies for community engagement, implementation, and using local resources that are readily available.

Grove Park Visioning and Housing Assessment

Looking to guide growth and development in their historic Atlanta neighborhood, the Grove Park Neighborhood Association and the Grove Park Foundation asked ARC to help residents envision the community they desire and then set policies to reach that vision. The process will begin with an assessment of current housing conditions and the creation of a guide to protect the neighborhood’s character.

Hampton Economic Development

ARC will use an existing market study and the previous work of the city, local civic organizations, and citizens as the basis for an economic development vision and plan for the city of Hampton. The city will use this vision and ensuing plan as a roadmap for action to spur development.

Hapeville Affordable Housing Memo

ARC staff will evaluate the affordability of housing in the city of Hapeville and project today’s trends into the future. Once the assessment is complete, Hapeville staff and elected officials will be presented with a report that informs them of current conditions and identifies issues and opportunities requiring attention in the near term.

Hapeville Parking Study

ARC will assess current parking inventory at commercial properties in the city of Hapeville and future parking needs based on development projections. The report based on the study will also include recommendations for zoning based on parking availability and needs.

Kennesaw Stakeholder Facilitation Plan

ARC will help the city of Kennesaw highlight the historic significance of its cemetery, in existence since 1863, and help the city present the cemetery and its greenspace as a community asset and a tourist attraction.

Stone Mountain Downtown Parking Study

The city of Stone Mountain is exploring paid parking in its downtown and asked ARC to assess current on- and off-street parking options and policies to determine the feasibility of paid parking.

Tyrone Downtown Ordinance Code Audit

ARC will help the staff and elected officials of the city of Tyrone bring their downtown zoning ordinances into alignments with their current comprehensive plan. This process includes an evaluation of zoning ordinances and suggested changes, if warranted.

Union City Community Garden Strategy

With a goal of improving food access, strengthening community networks, and supporting a healthy urban environment, the city of Union City aims to establish a community garden. ARC will work with the city to plan and design the garden and evaluate potential locations.

*ARC has offered assistance with these 14 projects. Several await approval from jurisdiction administrators and/or governing bodies.