By Richard Osborne, AICP
GPA Planning Officials Development Officer and City of Adairsville Community Development Director
Planning & Zoning in Georgia continues to move forward despite restrictions and process modifications based on COVID-19. In March, Governor Kemp issued an Executive Order regarding private / 3rd party plan review and inspections. Based on the Executive Order, applicants now have the option to immediately use the services of a private professional provider rather than a local government plan reviewer or inspector. However, the private professional provider will need to still follow the provisions outlined in OCGA 8-2-26(g). (See DCA for additional information and the full order.)
Regarding public meetings and public outreach, here are some resources to consider:
- APA has Online Tools for Public Engagement
- ICMA has a webpage on the topic of public meetings with COVID-19
- Information from the Consensus Building Institute, a nonprofit facilitation group, regarding Public Participation in the Throes of Coronavirus
Local governments are grappling with best methods to keep customers, staff, and officials safe while maintaining services. Many jurisdictions have limited their government buildings to employees only, while some cities and counties have sent all nonessential employees home to telework. Some local governments have imposed a temporary moratorium on public hearings/meetings, while others are exploring various methods to have meetings while keeping to the guidelines of avoiding gatherings.
GPA appreciates our partnership with ACCG and GMA for updates on legislative information affecting planning and zoning in Georgia, especially in this time of changing guidelines, restrictions, etc. In addition, GPA encourages local government officials and staff to use resources available through its Regional Commissions.
[from April 2020 GPA newsletter]