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With review-related questions on DRIs in the 10-county ARC region or the 13-county GRTA jurisdiction, please contact Andrew Smith at asmith@atlantaregional.com.

 

With questions related to the ARC/GRTA agreement, contact Annie Gillespie at agillespie@georgiatolls.com.

 

Developments of Regional Impact

ARC DRI Review

Under the Georgia Planning Act, large-scale and certain types of development projects that are likely to generate impacts beyond a host local government’s boundaries, are subject to review as a Development of Regional Impact (DRI).

DRI review is intended to foster communication and coordination between local governments and other relevant agencies and to provide a means of identifying and assessing potential impacts before conflicts relating to them arise.

The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) maintains Alternative DRI Rules and Requirements that are specific to the 10-county ARC region and include thresholds for determining whether a project warrants review. ARC's rules are in accordance with Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) DRI rules. DCA also maintains DRI rules for areas outside the 10-county ARC area.

To maintain Qualified Local Government (QLG) status, a local government must submit information on potential DRIs to ARC for review and comment. With input from neighboring local governments and other potentially affected parties, ARC produces an advisory report detailing comments and recommendations. After the review is complete, the local government retains its authority to make the final decision on whether or not to approve the development.

GRTA DRI Review

Effective February 10, 2017, ARC provides staff support, under contract, to the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) for the administration of GRTA’s DRI review process.

See this two-page summary for full details.

With questions related to the ARC/GRTA agreement, contact Annie Gillespie at agillespie@georgiatolls.com.

The GRTA review focuses on traffic impacts of proposed projects and potential mitigation measures. The agency’s focus and process are related but distinct from those of RCs.

ARC administers the GRTA process according to GRTA’s existing Principles and Procedures for DRI Review and DRI Review Package Technical Guidelines, which remain in effect. GRTA continues to exercise executive oversight of its DRI process. GRTA also maintains authority and responsibility over its DRI Notices of Decision (NODs), including any conditions included therein.

This transition applies to reviews in all 13 counties in GRTA's jurisdiction, which includes three counties in three RCs outside ARC’s state-designated 10-county RC footprint. GRTA DRI reviews in these three outer RCs, while administered by ARC, do not preempt or replace the DRI reviews performed by those RCs. Rather, the GRTA DRI process continues to occur in tandem with the RC process, as it has in the past. This transition only means that staff of those three RCs interact with ARC staff for purposes of coordinating GRTA's review.

Reference Materials

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Review materials are available for review and download online. Files include DRI reviews dating back to 2005.

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DRI Pre-Review/GRTA Methodology Meeting

The pre-review meeting is an important initial step in determining whether a proposed development warrants regional review as a DRI. It is also typically combined with the GRTA DRI methodology meeting, in which assumptions for a GRTA-required traffic study are discussed and solidified. Pre-review/methodology meetings are typically held on Monday afternoons at ARC, upon request from the host local government. For more information, contact the DRI Review Coordinator, Andrew Smith, by e-mail at asmith@atlantaregional.com or by phone at 404-463-5581.

Background on 2012-2013 DRI Rules Revisions

In late 2010, recognizing changes in the business and development climate affecting communities across the state, Georgia DCA began exploring the potential need to revise some of its planning program rules. At the encouragement of the Governor and the General Assembly, the Board of Community Affairs established a task force to research and recommend specific revisions to DCA’s rules, including those for DRIs.

In April 2012, DCA adopted revised DRI rules, based on recommendations from the task force, which went into effect in July. These rules included the flexibility for Regional Commissions (RCs) to “establish alternative DRI requirements, specifically tailored to the needs of their region…[t]hese alternatives may include 1) alternative DRI thresholds; 2) alternative set of reviewable development types qualifying for DRI review; 3) amendments to the DRI Communication procedures.”

Throughout 2012, ARC discussed potential alternative DRI procedures and thresholds for the 10-county region, with input from local governments in the entire 18-county region through its Land Use Coordinating Committee (LUCC), Environment and Land Use Committee (ELUC - now the Community Resources Committee or CRC), and the ARC Board.

ARC's Board unanimously approved the draft alternative DRI procedures and thresholds and voted to transmit them to DCA for review and approval by the DCA Board. In February 2013, the DCA Board voted unanimously to approve the ARC Alternative DRI Rules and Requirements. These new rules went into effect on March 1, 2013. The rules were revised as of March 1, 2014, along with DCA's statewide DRI rules. The purpose of the revisions was to conform with changes to state law removing the need for RCs to assign either a positive or negative finding to each DRI.

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