In 2012, the Atlanta City Council, with the support of the Council for Quality Growth and MARTG partners, passed an ordinance that created the Office of Buildings Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), with Mayor Reed appointing a key advisory committee to oversee the Enterprise Fund, a provision left from the overhaul of Atlanta’s Building Permit Reform package.
The TAC, chaired by Scott Selig, of Selig Enterprises, is composed of nine members appointed by the Mayor, with seven of the appointments stemming from recommendations of interested stakeholder groups. It is charged with advising and making recommendations to the Mayor, the Commissioner of Planning and Community Development and the Director of Office of Buildings on service levels, procedures, fees and staffing, along with providing insight into the permitting process and monitoring revenues and expenses for the Office of Buildings Enterprise Fund. The committee meets monthly to discuss updates, reports, and potential reforms to the City’s operations.
The members of the TAC include:
· Bobby West of TriBridge Residential, nominated by Atlanta Apartment Association
· Dennis McConnell, a home builder, nominated by the Greater Atlanta Homebuilders Association;
· Katherine Molyson, of Cousins Properties, nominated Council for Quality Growth; (Secretary)
· Scott Selig, of Selig Enterprises, nominated by the International Council of Shopping Centers; (Chairman)
· Michelle Dixon, of Cohen, Pollock Merlin and Small, nominated by BOMA ;
· Kevin Curry, of Selig Enterprises, nominated by the Atlanta Commercial Board of Realtors;
· Angela Priest, of Kimley Horn, nominated by the American Council of Engineers;
· Charles Taylor, a real estate lawyer and developer, appointed by the Mayor; (Vice-Chairman)
· Scott Taylor, president of Carter, appointed by the Mayor.
Atlanta’s Chief Operating Officer Michael Geisler had this to say about the Technical Advisory Committee’s role in reforming the City’s permitting practices: “The City of Atlanta sincerely appreciates the invaluable assistance and guidance from the members of the Office of Buildings’ Technical Advisory Committee. As many of you are aware, the Office of the Internal Auditor initiated a performance audit of the permitting review process in the fall of 2014. The primary audit objective was to determine if appropriate controls were in place and if the City’s permitting practices were consistent with the City’s code and ethic requirements. The audit review included an analysis of the City’s permitting operational and financial data from FY2012 – FY 2014.
The Office of the Internal Auditor has completed its review and has identified 11 recommendations that address operational and system improvements. Under the leadership of Mayor Reed, we have already undertaken critical reforms in the Department of Planning and Community Development. We acknowledge there are challenges with permitting in the Office Buildings, and we have a plan in place to address those challenges. That’s why Mayor Reed recruited and hired one of the nation’s leading urban planners, Tim Keane, to serve as the new Commissioner. The first steps are to conduct an operational analysis and a best-practices review, which will inform the changes the City of Atlanta will make to address these problems. The Department has already allocated the funds to implement operational improvements. Providing top-notch customer service to all customers of the City of Atlanta is a top priority, and the Department of Planning and Community Development is working to ensure the Office of Buildings delivers on this promise.
As we work to implement corrective actions for the audit recommendations, we will continue to rely on the Technical Advisory Committee to provide industry expertise to the Department of Planning and Community Development in order to address problems quickly and efficiently.”
On Tuesday, July 7th, the TAC met and discussed the progress of the committee and its findings. The new Commissioner of Community Development, Tim Keane, was introduced to the committee at this meeting as well. Representatives from Southface discussed the Energy Efficiency Ordinance and its requirements for larger commercial buildings in the area. Southface is offering assistance services to property owners for this new process.
The committee also discussed the requirements surrounding third party inspections in the state, especially when pouring concrete for detached single family construction. An audit update was given at this meeting as well and BKR Consulting has been retained to look into operational efficiency. This process will start in the next two weeks and will continue for the next six months.
A quick year in review overview occurred at the end of the meeting. A document is being sent out soon that will include information on both the permitting fund and the trust fund, in addition to year over year performance info. There was also a suggestion that the next TAC meeting be a full “Year in Review”.
The next TAC meeting will be on Jul 21st at 10:00am-12:00pm in the 3rd Floor Arborist Conference Room. We commend the Mayor and Staff for their hard work and for the work of the TAC and look forward to continuing the progress the City has made in these arenas.