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Intergovernmental Coordination

About Intergovernmental Coordination

Intergovernmental Coordination involves activities that foster working relationships with other governmental and quasi-governmental agencies. Ongoing activities are often requirements of state law and/or legal arrangements called Intergovernmental Agreements (IGA). 

Among the ongoing activities, state law requires Cobb and jurisdictions within the county to have a Service Delivery Strategy (SDS).

One IGA establishes a procedure for annual review of land use policy, planning, and boundaries. One of the most common interactions between the county and municipality occurs when applications for annexation are submitted. The county is provided the opportunity by state rules to comment on annexation applications, Developments of Regional Impact (DRI), applications under the Metropolitan Rivers Protection Acts (MRPA), and Comprehensive Plan updates of adjoining governments. 

Functions that arise from mutual concerns include:

  • Determination of precise county boundaries where they potentially have an impact on emergency and other services.
  • Researching of IGAs regarding development specific to limited areas of the county
  • Preparation of applications, research, and provision of data for area studies
  • Participation on city and regional committees
  • Coordination with regional entities such as the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) and the U.S. Census Bureau to assure that the interests of Cobb County residents are represented

Inter-Governmental Review and Comment

The County receives notices from any Regional Commission providing the opportunity to comment on Inter-governmental documents. The commissions are required by various federal and state laws and regulations to review and comment on many proposed developments, comprehensive plans and applications for federal assistance. 

The four most common notifications are for local government comprehensive plans, Capital Improvement Elements (CIE), development applications through the Metropolitan River Protection Act (MRPA), and Developments of Regional Impact (DRI).

Intergovernmental Coordination Efforts

Comprehensive Planning

Rules of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, Chapter 110-12-1 et seq., "Minimum Standards for Local Comprehensive Planning," provide details about the required components of comprehensive plans and the process for their creation and adoption. These standards are intended to ensure that local comprehensive plans embody the will of the community and provide the foundation for all decision-making by local government officials and other community leaders. 

Capital Improvement Elements (CIE)

Capital Improvement Elements are required for local governments that charge impact fees. Although not required, it is encouraged for all other local governments. When fees are charged, a detailed CIE must be prepared yearly to meet the Development Impact Fee Compliance Requirements (DCA Rues 110-12-2). 

Metropolitan River Protection Act (MRPA)

In 1973 the Georgia General Assembly adopted the MRPA, which protected a 48-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River between Buford Dam and Teachtree Creek by creating a 2,000 foot buffer along both banks of the river and its impoundments. The Act was amended in 1998 to extend the corridor an additional 36 miles to the downstream limits of Fulton and Douglas counties. 

Developments of Regional Impact and Applications

A Development of Regional Impact (DRI) is a large-scale and/or specific type of development that is likely to generate impacts beyond the boundaries of the local government in which it is located. The Georgia Planning Act of 1989 (O.C.G.A. 45-12-200, et seq., and 50-8-1, et seq.) authorizes the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) to establish procedures for the review of DRIs to help the state prepare for growth and development in a coordinated, rational manner. DCA delegates DRI review management to each Regional Commission. These reviews look at potential impacts such as traffic, stormwater, flooding, and other environmental aspects that could be otherwise imposed on the residents of Cobb County. Recent examples of these include logistic centers in Douglas County, apartments and townhome developments in Woodstock, and a firearms training center and range in Polk County.

Service Delivery and Land Use Coordination

Every county in the State of Georgia is required to have a Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) with its municipalities. The purpose of this agreement is to ensure that local governments look carefully at the services they provide in order to identify overlaps or gaps in service provision and develop a more rational approach to allocating services, delivery, and funding. The SDS is negotiated between Cobb and its six cities once every ten years. The current SDS is not due to expire until 2024.

In addition to service delivery, the IGAs also formalize a framework for coordination of land use and annexation so that there is consistency and mutual understanding between jurisdictions. Along with state laws, this assures the Comprehensive Plan policies of the county are considered when municipal limits are expanded. Annexation and De-annexation applications are submitted to the city, so if a person has a question about a specific annexation proposal, they should contact that city to get more details.