Under the Georgia Planning Act, development projects that are likely to have an impact beyond the host local government’s jurisdiction are subject to review as Developments of Regional Impact (DRI).
New DRI Procedures and Thresholds
In late 2010, recognizing the recent changes in the business and development climate affecting communities across the state, the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) began exploring the potential need to revise its 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 Developments of Regional Impact (DRIs).
On April 4, 2012, DCA adopted revised DRI rules, based on recommendations from the task force, which went into effect on July 1, 2012. 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.”
In January of 2012, ARC began discussing 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), and finally the ARC Board.
The ARC Board unanimously approved the draft alternative DRI procedures and thresholds and voted to transmit these alternatives to DCA for review and approval by the DCA Board. On February 6, 2013, the DCA Board voted unanimously to approve the ARC alternative DRI procedures and thresholds. These new rules went into effect on March 1, 2013.
The DRI review is intended to improve communication among governments on large-scale and certain types of developments, and to provide a means of identifying and assessing potential impacts before conflicts relating to them arise. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has established thresholds by size and type of development for determining whether a development qualifies as a DRI.
To maintain its Qualified Local Government (QLG) status, a local government must submit potential DRIs to ARC for review and comment. With input from neighboring local governments and other agencies, ARC reviews the submission and makes a finding regarding whether the DRI is in the best interest of the region and, therefore, of the state. After the review is completed, the local government retains authority to make the final decision on whether or not to approve the development.
DRI Pre-Application Conferences
Conferences are held Monday afternoons beginning at 1:00 p.m. at ARC's offices the week after the required Department of Community Affairs (DCA) form has been submitted. For more information, visit the DCA Developments of Regional Impact page or contact the ARC Review Coordinator by email or phone at 404-463-3307.