DeKalb County Board of Commissioners Adopts New Zoning Code

On Tuesday, August 25th, the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners approved by unanimous consensus a new zoning code for DeKalb County. The zoning code update represents nearly seven years of intensive planning and community engagement efforts. The updated ordinances are consistent with and provide a strong platform for the implementation of policies detailed in DeKalb’s Comprehensive Plan. All changes become effective on September 1, 2015.

Prior to the final vote, four revisions were made to the zoning code draft released on April 14, 2015:

  1. A height restriction of 24 feet was placed on accessory dwelling units.
  1. Planner’s written recommendations must now be made available to the public online and six days prior to any open meeting held by the zoning board of appeals, the planning commission or the board of commissioners.
  1. Site plans may now cease to be conceptual if specific aspects of the site plan or the site plan itself is approved as a separate zoning condition.
  1. The definition for an ‘aggrieved person’ was expanded to include members of the governing authority of DeKalb County, “…in whose district the subject property is located and whose substantial interest is his/her responsibility to insure faithful administration of the law.”

According to Luz Borrero, Deputy Chief Operating Officer for Development, the final zoning document is intended to serve as modern, comprehensive guide for developers, architects and engineers. As such, it contains a user-friendly, illustrated zoning code to make information on the recent changes more readily accessible.

The highlight of the new zoning code, however, is its improved set of design standards. Design is standardized across new zoning districts and old consolidated districts.  Also, incentives are provided to increase densities to higher levels in appropriate areas of the County.

These new tools are intended to support sustainable approaches to development and new urban living trends such as walkability and urban agriculture.

To view technical memos or for additional information on the new zoning code, click here.

The Council for Quality Growth recognizes DeKalb County Planning & Sustainability staff, and the Public Work’s divisions of Transportation and Engineering and Economic Development for their diligent work towards the finalization of the new zoning document.