Under the Georgia Planning Act, a development project that is likely to generate impacts beyond the host local government’s jurisdiction is subject to review as a Development of Regional Impact (DRI).
The DRI review is intended to improve communication and coordination between government entities and other agencies on large-scale and certain types of developments, and to provide a means of identifying and assessing potential impacts before conflicts relating to them arise.
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has established a set of DRI rules, including statewide thresholds by size and development type for determining whether a development qualifies as a DRI. Following 2012 revisions to the DCA DRI rules giving Regional Commissions enhanced flexibility, the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) developed and enacted alternative DRI rules, including thresholds, specific to the 10-county ARC region.
To maintain its Qualified Local Government (QLG) status, a local government must submit information on potential DRIs to ARC for review and comment. With input from neighboring local governments and other potentially affected agencies, ARC produces a report detailing all comments and recommendations for intergovernmental or interagency coordination. After the review is completed, the local government retains its authority to make the final decision on whether or not to approve the development.
Search DRI Review Database
Review materials are available for review and download online. Files include DRI reviews dating back to 2005.
DRI Pre-Review Meeting
The pre-review meeting is an important initial step in determining whether a proposed development warrants regional review as a DRI. Pre-review meetings are typically held on Mondays at 2:00 p.m. at ARC's offices, upon request from the host local government. For more information, contact the DRI Review Coordinator, Andrew Smith, by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 404-463-5581.
Background on 2012-2013 DRI Rules Revisions
In late 2010, recognizing changes in the business and development climate affecting communities across the state, Georgia DCA began exploring the potential need to revise some of its planning program rules. At the encouragement of the Governor and the General Assembly, the Board of Community Affairs established a task force to research and recommend specific revisions to DCA’s rules, including those for DRIs.
In April 2012, DCA adopted revised DRI rules, based on recommendations from the task force, which went into effect in July. These rules included the flexibility for Regional Commissions (RCs) to “establish alternative DRI requirements, specifically tailored to the needs of their region…[t]hese alternatives may include 1) alternative DRI thresholds; 2) alternative set of reviewable development types qualifying for DRI review; 3) amendments to the DRI Communication procedures.”
Throughout 2012, ARC discussed potential alternative DRI procedures and thresholds for the 10-county region, with input from local governments in the entire 18-county region through its Land Use Coordinating Committee (LUCC), Environment and Land Use Committee (ELUC - now the Community Resources Committee or CRC), and the ARC Board.
ARC's Board unanimously approved the draft alternative DRI procedures and thresholds and voted to transmit them to DCA for review and approval by the DCA Board. In February 2013, the DCA Board voted unanimously to approve the ARC Alternative DRI Rules and Requirements. These new rules went into effect on March 1, 2013. The rules were revised as of March 1, 2014, along with DCA's statewide DRI rules. The purpose of the revisions was to conform with changes to state law removing the need for RCs to assign either a positive or negative finding to each DRI.