DeKalb County's questions, answered!
The following are questions that were submitted
by the public during the Strategic Economic Development Plan process.
If you submitted a question that hasn't been answered yet,
keep an eye on this space!
Q: "Is there a plan for the Memorial Drive corridor? There are so many code violations there. What is the approval process for developments in this area?"
A: DeKalb County currently has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to examine the Memorial Drive Corridor through a separate study, likely in early 2019. SEDP staff will forward your questions to the appropriate County staff to make sure they are included in the report.
Q: "What resource services are in place for foster teens ageing out of the system?"
A: While not directly related to economic development, we contacted the DeKalb County Division of Family and Children Services. The following services are currently available through the Human Services Office of Youth Services and the Office of Grants: Transition Z Program; Drop-In Center; Disabilities Services Care Program; LifePrep Academy; Little Debbie's Home; WorkSource DeKalb, and others. More details are available here:
Q: "Do you think that simplifying the business license renewal process to resemble a flat fee (like the State of Georgia's) or tier-based fee might help attract more business to DeKalb County?"
A: Any strategy that reduces complexity, fosters greater predictability, and lowers the cost of doing business will benefit the County's effort to attract and retain businesses. The County has taken substantial strides in this area. The SEDP will provide recommendations for DeKalb County to consider as the look to further this effort.
Q: "What part(s) of the strategic plan for DeKalb is in regards to non-profit organizations?"
A: The SEDP focuses on retaining and attracting businesses of all types - the recommendations should benefit both for-profit and non-profit businesses. That said, the plan will not address ways to help any specific business enterprise, regardless of profit-status.
Q: "Are there any immediate plans to rezone Old Covington Road between Layton Drive and Evans Mill Road?"
A: Economic development planning does not address specific land use/zoning designations. However, the SEDP will provide strategic recommendations for established and emerging employment centers throughout the County. These recommendations can then help inform municipal/county land use decisions both within the employment center and immediately adjacent to it. The area mentioned in this question is adjacent to both the Lithonia Industrial Cluster and Stonecrest Center employment centers.
Q: "Is there a comprehensive master plan for the City of Stonecrest? How can we access it?"
A: The City of Stonecrest is in the midst of its first master plan, titled the Stonecrest Comprehensive Plan 2038. The project kicked off in January 2018, and is targeting adoption in February/March 2019. THe Plan is being led by The Collaborative Firm. For more information on the Stonecrest Comprehensive Plan 2038, please visit:
Q: "Will you consider the 260 opportunity zones announced in April 2018 as part of the new development for DeKalb County?"
A: There are 8 federally established opportunity zones within DeKalb County (www.eig.org/opportunityzones). This designation offers tax deferment and forgiveness benefits to entities with capital gains obligations that invest in opportunity zones. Employment centers fully or partially within these opportunity zones should be marketed as such as a means of attracting investment interest.
Q: "What is the proposed plan to increase economic growth in the community, e.g. health food stores, more stores, housing, etc."
A: The SEDP will establish an Action Plan for Decide DeKalb and other decision-makers to help create the best environment to both retain existing jobs and to attract potential employers to the area. Attracting and retaining jobs requires building communities with diverse housing, high quality of life, and robust infrastructure. The SEDP can help DeKalb officials to lay the groundwork for different types of economic development – but it also aims to clarify the market realities that affect different parts of the county in different ways. Stores and housing locate in communities not because government tells them to, but because they see a strong local market for what they are selling. Attracting these amenities to a community may require additional housing, employers, or both. Communities that make forward-looking decisions regarding zoning, incentives, and approval processes can set themselves up to attract new investment in housing and jobs – and subsequently the amenities like stores, restaurants, and entertainment that are often cited as goals.