President’s Message – Isn’t it nice to be at the table?

GPA President Whitney Shephard testifies before Savannah City Council in support of an ADU zoning amendment.

Quality housing supply, sustainable infrastructure, and resilience – I have been talking to local, state, and national partners a lot lately about how planning promotes these laudable goals. And here’s what we’re trying to answer: how do we get decision makers to adopt and implement plans that work? 

Across the state, major economic development wins are quickly and drastically changing the need for transportation, water, sewer, housing, and other services. And much of the responsibility to meet those needs is landing in local planning departments and agencies. 

Anyone else feel like we can meet our economic development goals – and our quality of life goals – with forward-thinking coordinated plans followed up by accountable implementation? Anyone else feel like we should be at the table before the ribbons are cut on new projects? Y’all, we need to tell our stories. Our communities need both economic development and community development.  And we can’t be a part of progress if we’re not at the table. 

In our coastal region, I chair a grassroots housing coalition. We are celebrating the City of Savannah and the Metropolitan Planning Commission staff who have worked with us tirelessly to adopt a zoning amendment that promotes Accessory Dwelling Units. ADUs are an important tool to promote housing choice while preserving neighborhood character. Thank you fellow GPA members Bridget Lidy and Marcus Lotson for your partnership. What planning wins are you celebrating locally?

Let’s talk. #ItTakesAPlanner

Whitney Shephard, PE
GPA President