Sustainable Building Ordinance

A new draft of the Sustainable Building Ordinance was released on September 2nd.  The changes are outlined HERE.

The City of Atlanta is working with Sustainable Atlanta to make revisions to their Building Code to promote more environmentally friendly and energy efficient buildings.  CQG staff served on the stakeholder committee to assisting Sustainable Atlanta in creating the ordinance.  Numerous drafts of the ordinance have been developed.  Each one generated feedback from CQG’s Atlanta Advisory Committee and meetings with Sustainable Atlanta to address the concerns of our members.  Council staff presented concerns over the ordinance through the Metro Atlanta Real Estate Trade Group (MARTG).

Draft 4 of the Atlanta Sustainable Building Ordinance (ASBO) was released on July 10th.  CQG staff’s review of Draft 4 of the ASBO found that:

  1. The bond requirement has been removed.  Instead a letter of credit, escrow deposit or bond in the amount of 1.2% of construction costs will be allowed.
  2. The implementation time frame is one year from adoption.  Projects with a LDP prior to the implementation date will be grandfathered.
  3. The ordinance now includes an administrative variance process with a reasonable time frame for decision making
  4. Compliance is mandatory and no incentives are included.

Draft 4 Atlanta Sustainable Building Ordinance

The Metro Atlanta Real Estate Trade Group (MARTG), which includes the Council for Quality Growth, the Atlanta Apartment Association, the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association, the Board of Realtors, the Commercial Board of Realtors, ICSC, BOMA, NAIOP, IREM, SIOR and CCIM sent a joint letter to City Council on July 14th outlining our concerns with the ASBO.  July 14 MARTG Letter to City Council CDHR met on July 14th for first reading of the Atlanta Sustainable Building Ordinance (ASBO).  Although no public hearing was scheduled, they allowed us to speak at the meeting and voice our concerns with the ASBO.  Robert Broome, from the Board of Realtors, and Jahnee Prince, from CQG, met individually with Jim Maddox, the chair of CDHR, to discuss our concerns about the ASBO.

On July 22nd, several MARTG representatives (including CQG staff) met with Sustainable Atlanta to discuss the possibility of a five year phased-in ordinance which would include at least one year of education for the development community and three years as a voluntary ordinance with incentives.  The ASBO would become mandatory in phases starting at year four and into year five, based on the size of the building.   Possible incentives were discussed but not finalized.

Atlanta City Councilmember and chair of CDHR called a special City Council Work Session on July 23rd to discuss the ASBO, inviting the entire City Council to attend.  City Councilmembers present included Jim Maddox, Ivory Lee Young and Clair Muller.  The work session was a public meeting and both MARTG and Sustainable Atlanta were given an opportunity to speak for 15 minutes on our respective positions and answer questions.

The Metro Atlanta Real Estate Trade Group, including CQG met with the City’s CFO, Jim Glass, on August 13th, to discuss incentives for the Atlanta Sustainable Building Ordinance.  The CFO was unwilling to consider any incentives that would cost the City money.  However that still left us with several options such as density bonuses, frozen permitting fees, date certain (15-30 day) expedited permits etc. and CFO Glass instructed several City departments to investigate and report back to him on those incentives.  Sustainable Atlanta was in agreement with MARTG on all of the incentives and urged the City to consider them all.

Sustainable Atlanta sent a letter to Robert Broome (from the Commercial Board of Realtors—he was our speaker at the meeting with the CFO) outlining the status of each of the incentives and give the anticipated timeline for the ASBO to go back to CDHR (September 15th) and to City Council (September 21st).

You can read the letter from Sustainable Atlanta here.

Sustainable Atlanta will be presenting yet another draft of the ordinance on September 2nd to address the continuing concerns of the Council for Quality Growth and MARTG.