South Metro Advisory Roundtable Recap
October 17th, 2023
Speaker: Commissioner DeMont Davis, District 4, Clayton County
On Tuesday, October 17th, 2023, The Council welcomed Commissioner DeMont Davis of Clayton County’s District 4. Thank you Commissioner Davis for your time today and thank you CERM for sponsoring the meeting.
District 4 is the largest district and tax base in Clayton County, encompassing Jonesboro, portions of Riverdale, Lovejoy, and Morrow. Of note, Clayton County is the third smallest county by land mass but the fifth most populous. Commissioner Davis’s presentation contrasted his county’s former weaknesses and current strengths. He then discussed initiatives to bring Clayton County’s unique opportunities to light.
Clayton County has a solid foundation: the Hartsfield-Jackson airport, a large workforce, a 90.8% high school graduation rate, and “the best water system in the state.” According to the Office of Economic Development, Clayton County is currently ranked #6 for jobs (out of GA’s 159 counties) with over 130,000 workers across all industries. Commissioner Davis hopes to increase this number with higher paying jobs. More jobs, more development.
Clayton County is open for business, Davis says, and his team is reviewing zoning initiatives for what needs to go and what needs to change. He says they are flexible. While counties around Atlanta struggle to solve their post-COVID office space struggles, Clayton County is blessed by warehouses that can be easily redefined and repurposed. The film industry, for example, has brought hundreds of jobs to the county via studios and studio service groups. Commissioner Davis also promotes the “warehouses of new” for robotics, engineering, and upscale industry skillsets, and wants to revitalize the 19/41 corridor with a new reputation for medicine and medical technology. Other projects on the horizon includes a vertical farming business, medical cannabis manufacturing, mixed used developments, and hotels by Marriott and Sheraton.
More jobs also require more homes, so today’s meeting transitioned to Clayton County’s housing shortage. Commissioner Davis noted that under 40% of residents own a home and that more affordable housing is needed. He mentioned tiny homes and building more homes on smaller properties, but expressed his disinterest in multifamily dwellings. According to a spokesperson for Clayton County’s Housing Authority, they have started a path to more home ownership and will have some important updates at next month’s South Metro roundtable.
When the Commissioner asked today’s audience for recommendations, there was a resounding focus on process efficiency and clarity. Businesses and developers want permitting processes to be streamlined and predictable. This initiative, as shown on Davis’ powerpoint, is an investment focus for Clayton County’s economic development team. Commissioner Davis was also asked by the audience about impact fees, which he says are going through the process of being considered and approved.
Click here to access Commissioner DeMont Davis’ presentation.