On November 17, 2020 at 10am, Council for Quality Growth members heard from Andrew Spiliotis, Transportation Planner at State Road & Tollway Authority (SRTA). Andrew discussed the changes to the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority (GRTA) Developments of Regional Impacts (DRI) Review Procedures Initial Draft. This was an excellent opportunity for members to learn firsthand the changes to the DRI process and be able to provide comments to be implement into the final draft.
On November 19, 2020 the Council for Quality Growth submitted a letter with several comments for GRTA to consider as they are refining the final draft version. Please see the Council’s comments below.
- The Alternative Study Option is a significant improvement in the process to recognize the context of urban redevelopment projects. We would like to clarify what is required in the study and have a better understanding of what the outcomes might be – what kind of conditions could/would be imposed? This option by itself would be a welcome change to the DRI process.
- We would like to see more clarity in the proposed application of these rules. There is some ambiguity in what is being provided for informational purposes and what is being provided for analysis and potential improvements/conditions. Also, some of the requested information could be burdensome for projects, especially those in the early stages of design.
- One of the challenges in real estate development is the ability to predict risk or costs for development. The DRI process has been a source of great risk for development projects and the proposed changes to the process appear to increase the exposure to risk. We would like to work with you to find ways to introduce predictability in the process so developments can predict and better anticipate potential costs before beginning a public process. We are not opposed to increased rigor of review, but rigor should be paired with predictability or options.
The Council for Quality Growth thanks GRTA for presenting the DRI updates and allowing the Council and our members to provide input. The Council appreciates the work that GRTA has done to improve the quality of development in the Metro Atlanta Region and recognize the significant effort taken to improve the DRI process with the proposed changes.
Friday November 20, 2020 is the last day to submit any comments to be incorporated into the final draft that will be released in early December 2020. GRTA will have another 30 day public comment period if you voice has not yet been heard. Please send any comments to Andrew Spiliotis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-893-6171.
The DRI program evaluates developments exceeding established thresholds for their land use and transportation impacts and their consistency with established local, state and regional plans. Under the Georgia Planning Act of 1989, any large-scale development, or one that is likely to impact neighboring jurisdictions, is subject to review as a DRI. These procedures are designed to improve communication between affected governments and to provide a means of revealing and assessing potential impacts of large-scale developments before conflicts relating to them arise.
The purpose of these GRTA DRI Review Procedures is to:
- Implement GRTA’s responsibility for the review of DRIs within GRTA’s jurisdiction pursuant to O.C.G.A. §50-32-14
- Ensure that Projects (proposed DRIs) will, to the maximum extent practicable, contribute to improved regional mobility, air quality, and land use practices within GRTA’s jurisdiction
- Establish an orderly and efficient process for the review of DRIs by GRTA
- Establish review criteria by which GRTA will determine whether a Project and the expenditure of state and federal funds for Land Transportation Services and Access improvements required to serve the Project are consistent with and further GRTA’s goals and objectives to promote the efficient use of limited state and federal resources, ensure that regional transportation plans and air quality standards are implemented and to improve regional mobility and air quality
- Establish the technical guidelines for data and analysis required to be submitted to GRTA in order to determine whether a DRI should be approved