GPA Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Date: December 7, 2006

Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Members In Attendance:
Dan Reuter  
Stan Harvey
Frederick Gardiner
Phil Clark
Paul Forgey
Kenwin Hayes
Eric Clarkson
Fred Boykin
David Kirk
Tim Preece
Bill Drummond
Rob LeBeau
Kathleen Field
Gary Cornell
Glenn Coyne
Kellie Brownlow
Debbie Miness
Steve Cover

Attendance by Proxy:
Kip Padgett to Dan Reuter
Tracy Dunnavant to Glenn Coyne
Ellen Heath to David Kirk

President Dan Reuter called the meeting to order at 1:20 p.m. Proxies were presented and it was determined that a quorum was present.


The Board extended a warm welcome to Debbie Miness, President-Elect and congratulated her on her new job with the Georgia Conservancy.


The minutes of the October 12, 2006, Board of Directors meeting were unanimously approved as drafted.


LeBeau informed the Board that the spring conference will be held March 8th -10th at the Sheraton Buckhead. He added that the Thursday program would be a dual event involving GPA, the Georgia Chapter of ASLA and the Congress of the New Urbanism Atlanta Chapter. LeBeau said AIA had been somewhat receptive to becoming involved, but had some issues to resolve before committing. He mentioned that Ellen Dunham-Jones of CNU planned to invite Peter Calthorpe to be the keynote speaker. LeBeau said Thursday would be a stand alone event with Friday and Saturday being a typical GPA conference. The Board discussed the possibility of holding a joint reception and commented on the types of sessions that would be offered. LeBeau said ASLA was taking the lead on negotiating the contract. He said there will be two separate contracts, one for ASLA and one for GPA. He added that CNU and ASLA had agreed to commit funds, but AIA was still unsure. LeBeau reminded the Board that the goal of the conference was to break even.
He said GPA’s $2,000 contribution will be used to secure the keynote speaker. LeBeau added that they may need to consider other organizations that may be interested in the event.

LeBeau said the fall conference would be held at the Marriott Riverfront in Savannah. He added that contracts had already been executed. LeBeau informed the Board that GEDA would be having their fall conference at the same time at the Hyatt. He discussed the possibility of cross-coordination in term of an event.

LeBeau asked the Board to start thinking about spring and fall locations for 2008. He added that on the preference survey Augusta and Valdosta each received twenty votes, but the largest tally was for returning to the coast. He added that five or six people suggested the North Georgia mountain area. The Board discussed logistical needs. Clark said GPA had not been to Augusta in a long time. LeBeau said Augusta’s facility was very nice and had a good deal of meeting space. The Board also discussed Lake Oconee as a possibility. LeBeau said he would explore August in more detail and seek a recommendation from the Programs Committee. He suggested maybe looking a heading back to the coast in 2009.

Reuter reminded the Board that the national APA conference would be held in Atlanta in 2014 and the national CNU conference would be held in 2009.

Brownlow discussed Planning Commissioner participation at the fall conference. The Board discussed student attendance and how their conference rate could be reduced for each hour worked.

Hayes told the Board that the Georgia Tech Student Planning Association had held World Planning Day. He added that between seventy and eighty people attended the event. Hayes said a summary had been sent to APA.


Reuter informed the Board that Sharon Caton had moved out of the state. He said the bylaws require the Directors to appoint a replacement at their next meeting. Reuter said he would send out an e-mail to the members in that district to determine interest. The Board discussed asking Wayne Kilmark to serve in that capacity since he was familiar with the duties.


Reuter said ASLA Past-President, Dale Yeager, had contacted him regarding North Georgia Water Management District rules limiting a landscape architect’s ability to plan stormwater facilities. He added that this function would be limited to professional engineers. Brownlow said the rule had just been approved and gave details. Reuter suggested that GPA remain neutral on this issue.


Reuter said he was looking for a way to bring members together who may share a specialized area of interest such as urban design. He said APA typically calls these groups divisions. Reuter suggested as an initial step, GPA could create an area on the website for division information and have members sign up to participate. Harvey suggested having them sign up for a particular division when they joined GPA. Clark asked how we could notify members about the divisions. The Board discussed using the website and the e-newsletter. They mentioned using the divisions as a basis for future conference programs.

Reuter reminded the Board that the bylaws were amended last year to bring GPA’s functioning committees into line with its actual committees. He said the operational committee duties are clear, but not the non-operational ones. The Board discussed the difference between committees and divisions. They suggested each committee could get a certain budget allocation and expectation for conference sessions. Harvey said he would check the APA divisions’ appropriateness for Georgia and report back at the next meeting.


Reuter presented draft text proposing district director responsibilities. Miness said a map and a listing of the members in each district should be provided as well. Reuter also distributed a list of expectations. Clark discussed the need to add a recruiting letter from the President. The Board discussed the possibility of each district director chairing a committee. Miness suggested at least serving on one. Reuter said he would wordsmith the text one more time and then provide it to the Board for approval. He listed that he would change the first heading, clarify representing GPA at non-GPA functions in the district, add district membership lists and a district map as a resource, and draft a membership recruiting letter.


Reuter reported that the inverse condemnation and infrastructure development district (IDD) bills would be considered in the next session. He gave background on each issue. Reuter said APA and Smart Growth America have developed a site with links to all the state web sites for and against these issues. He added that many of the sites had video clips that were fairly informative. Reuter discussed a statement of purpose for Georgians for Community Protection which had been endorsed by ACCG, GMA, Georgians for Preservation, Georgians for Wildlife Protection and the Georgia Conservancy. He explained why these issues were important and stressed the need to keep the membership informed.

Reuter addressed the infrastructure development districts. He explained that master planned developments issue bonds for on-site (and sometimes off-site) infrastructure, obligating future homeowners. Reuter informed the Board that Florida has a more rigorous growth management system under which even rural developments fell under greater scrutiny. He added that these are different from Georgia CIDs because of the ability to tax non-residential properties. Reuter said IDDs allow the development of master planned communities without the local government having the burden of financing the infrastructure. The Board discussed the impact on local government if this bill was adopted. They reached an informal consensus to wait and review the proposed language prior to taking a position.

Reuter informed the Board that the next session would include a bill that would attempt to define a taking as any loss of property value as a result of government action. Kirk said under current Georgia law, a property owner has to prove the loss of value is greater than the public benefit to be deemed a taking. Reuter mentioned that the issue originated with stream buffers. He added that one problem with the legislation is the lack of guidance from EPD on variance criteria.

Forgey said DCA is proposing significant rule changes related to developments of regional impact (DRIs) and other regional planning issues. Miness said it was her understanding that GPA had been invited to join the GCP steering committee.

Reuter suggested being proactive in terms of GPA’s legislative agenda. He suggested monitoring the IDD legislation as well as the transportation funding bills that will impact local governments. Reuter said there were two competing concepts: (1) counties have an added sales tax for transportation (supported by contractors and builders) and (2) a local option gas tax.

The Directors discussed other items related to the legislative agenda. Kirk wanted better wording for continuing legal education for lawyers. Miness advocated supporting the planning act definition of a qualified local government. Clark mentioned deleting the solid waste goal since the state no longer has a recycling goal. Boykin expressed his support for school participation in the comprehensive planning process. Kirk expressed some concern over the last sentence on page four not being legally correct. Reuter said he would revise the agenda and submit it back to the Board for an e-mail vote.

Harvey said Paul Farmer had asked GPA to participate with the Hawaii and Arizona chapters in a branding effort. He added that APA had hired a branding consultant to determine what is and isn’t working. Harvey reminded the Board that AIA and ASLA both have a consistent new look. He asked the Board if they would be interested in participating in the pilot program. Harvey said the new logo would be square and APA would pay for the redesign of the chapter logo. He also mentioned that they may ask GPA to officially become the Georgia Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Harvey advised the Directors that GPA now had 20 sponsors, but zero non-Atlanta sponsors. He welcomed suggestions for new sponsors from the Board. Harvey added that current sponsorship is $300 per year. He also asked for information to include in the student section of GPA’s website and mentioned that an e-mail link would be added to the website as a means of contacting the entire Board.


Cornell said the results for the professional development survey were in the packet. He said the PDO committee would be studying the survey and bringing back recommendations to the Board. The Directors discussed means of addressing the findings.

Cornell discussed AICP certification maintenance. He said e-mail interact had a report regarding continuing education for AICPs as a requirement. Cornell felt attending the state conferences would probably provide enough credits to maintain AICP status.


Reuter said the Georgia Conservancy has asked GPA to restate its membership in Blueprints. He added that they needed a representative for quarterly meetings on Friday mornings. He said partners typically contribute in-kind services and sometimes money. The Directors agreed to keep Heath and Reuter as representatives.


Reuter informed the Directors that if the membership approves a dues increase at the spring conference, it would go into effect in July. He said they are looking at a $10 increase, which would raise roughly $10,000. Clark felt $10,000 was not much money in terms of a salary. Boykin asked if the organization could continue to run with just volunteers. Reuter said that the Atlanta Regional Commission has been great in terms of letting himself and LeBeau do GPA related work. He cautioned that not every president will have this level of organizational support. Reuter suggested hiring someone part time by contract. He proposed a budget of $15,000 without benefits. Boykin suggested a standing committee to supervise.


Reuter informed the Board that GPA had actually made $18,000 more than anticipated in revenue and spent $6,000 less than anticipated in expenditures for 2006. He added that the budget he provided in their packets for 2007 was simply copied from 2006. Reuter asked the Board for input on each item. LeBeau said he felt the 2006 totals did not reflect all outstanding expenditures.

The Board discussed the following:

  • The AICP rebate would be removed.
  • The total revenue for website maintenance and newsletter would be $5,000 and would be broken down by category.
  • $500 would be added for both revenue and expenditures for shirt sales.
  • Revenue for the fall conference would be $45,000 with expenditures being shown as $40,000.
  • The spring conference would break even at $15,000 in each column.
  • $1,000 would be included for elections.
  • Expenditure for travel would be $3,000.
  • The total in the revenue column would be $90,700. The total in the expenditure column would be $97,500.

Kirk asked if the dues increase would cover the cost of an administrative person. Cornell said he felt it would be helpful to have information regarding other Chapters over 1,000 members in terms of administrative help. Reuter said he would be happy to research this issue.

Clark said he felt adopting a deficit budget would be setting a dangerous precedent. Gardiner mentioned utilizing more of GPA’s student resources. Drummond cautioned about continuity of the work depending upon other obligations and requirements.

Harvey made motion to adopt the budget as amended for 2007. Seconded by Cornell. All in favor.


Reuter mentioned the possibility of having a monthly GPA book or an occasional showing of a planning-related movie.

Reuter distributed copies of the CPI agenda. He said four CPIs would be held next year. Brownlow said she did not feel like GPA was a true partner. She asked the Board to consider revisiting the original agreement. Brownlow said there was a lack of communication with DCA that needed to be addressed. Reuter said the Directors really needed to determine GPA’s role. Cornell said he felt the main issue is whether the actual delivery of material was successful. Miness suggested asking the curriculum committee to meet more frequently and continue pursuing the advanced curriculum.

LeBeau asked about nominations for the next election. He stressed the need to move forward with putting together a nominations committee. The bylaws specified that Miness would be in charge of this task.


The Board agreed to hold their next meeting on a Friday in mid-February or mid-March. The exact date will depend upon the AICP exam review date.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:29 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Tracy S. Dunnavant, AICP