Broad Community Input Helps Set Development Code Agenda

Earlier this year when City Council green-lighted the update of Snellville’s development code, Mayor Tom Witts made clear that the effort would be responsive to community aspirations and concerns.

“We need to understand what people want and what they’re concerned about,” he said at the time. “So Job One is listening. There’ll be all kinds of opportunities to contribute—meetings, focus groups, even a dedicated project website with ongoing updates.”

Since that time, TSW, the city’s consultant partner on the project, has been hard at work meeting the Mayor’s mandate. And through a series of one-on-one conversations, focus groups, and the city’s widely attended Towne Center gathering, a broad cross section of the community — from residents and neighborhood groups, to builders and developers, to members of our faith communities, to small business owners and entrepreneurs — has made their priorities known.

We’ve now had opportunity to distill those comments into some broad themes. Guiding the consultant team as they begin considering the nature of appropriate development code updates will be, as of this writing, the following community considerations:

Modern and user-friendly: Many of Snellville’s current regulations were written and formatted to serve the needs of another time. The Unified Development Code must meet the needs of today, looking ahead to tomorrow.

Foster quality redevelopment: As a city, we’re nearing the point of being built out. Progress in the coming decades will be primarily redevelopment. But let’s not settle on building for building’s sake. We must regulate for the right projects in the right places.

Innovation: As times change, so too does the nature of business, how people want to work, and the ways in which we organize to meet market demands. The updated code should serve as a tool to meet these changing times and help Snellville remain competitive.

Stormwater: With redevelopment comes water management issues that need to be addressed carefully.

The Towne Center: We’ve crafted our vision and laid out our plans. The time is now for development regulations better suited to helping us get it built right.

Better design: Certain standards of quality need to be reflected as Snellville further develops.

More living options: How people want and choose to live is forever in flux. The Unified Development Code should provide for sufficient types of housing to meet shifting demand.

Want to help put a finer point on these guiding principles? Submit your thoughts here.