The Atlanta Board of REALTORS® and the Atlanta Commercial Board of REALTORS® are opposing legislation before the Fulton County Board of Commissioners that could add a costly and time-consuming layer of bureaucracy to land development actions in the unincorporated portions of the county.
Under the proposed amendment to the county's Zoning Resolution, all requests for rezoning, use permits, land disturbance permits, and building permits would be subject to an Environmental Justice Review (EJR) conducted by the Fulton County Office of Environmental Justice. If the EJR determines that there are potential disproportionate environmental impacts on overburdened communities, then distance separation requirements would be applied.
The proposal does not define what constitutes a "disproportionate environmental impact," fails to adequately define which areas of the county are to be considered "overburdened communities," does not specify a timeframe for completion of the EJR, and does not include provisions for appeal of a decision by the Office of Environmental Justice.
Current law already requires an Environmental Site Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Report for all zoning and use permit applications, as well as distance separation requirements between residential areas and certain land uses, such as airports, landfills, transfer stations, and recycling facilities.
The proposal would expand the list to 69 “environmentally adverse” industries and land uses, and uses not specified in the list would be subject to separation distances to be determined by staff on an ad hoc basis.
ABR and ACBR governmental affairs staff submitted the legislation to the NAR Land Use Initiative, which utilizes the nation's preeminent land use law firm, Robinson & Cole, to conduct a legal, planning, economic, and environmental issues analysis of proposed zoning and land use legislation. Staff anticipates the analysis to be complete by March 1. View the request
On February 19, the Fulton County Community Zoning Board voted 7-0 to recommend that the Board of Commissioners adopt the proposal. The Board of Commissioners could take action on the legislation as early as March 6.
By Robert Broome
Governmental Affairs Director