What is the DeKalb County Community Council Meeting?

After the Pre-Submittal meeting, the second official public zoning meeting is the Community Council meeting. Community Councils in DeKalb County are volunteer citizen advisory groups appointed by the Board of Commissioners. These 5 groups, one for each of the five districts in DeKalb, review rezoning, special land use permits (SLUPs), and land use amendment requests. The meetings are run in a town hall format, giving the community a chance to present ideas, voice their opinions, and ask questions of the applicantRefers to a developer, investor or landowner who is seeking a change in zoning or land use to their property.. The Council will then vote on each application based on public input they receive. This vote is passed along as a recommendation to the Planning Commission & Board of Commissioners. You can read the official Bylaws of the Community Council on the DeKalb Planning website here [PDF] (Updated 2010).

When & where is the Community Council meeting held?

Each community council meeting is held in one of the five districts located in DeKalb County. All meetings are public and take place at a public library within each corresponding Commission District. The meeting dates and times are scheduled a full year in advance. Each district holds one Community Council meeting every cycle (or every two months). The meetings start at 6:30pm and frequently end when the library closes at 8pm. You can find the complete Community Council schedule on the DeKalb Planning website here [PDF].

 Find your district from the list below and learn more about each location. 

Not sure what district you’re in? Find out here!

District 1

Chamblee Public Library [Info & Hours] 
4115 Clairmont Rd, Chamblee, GA 30341 [Get Directions]
770-936-1380

District 2

Toco Hill-Avis G. Williams Library [Info & Hours]
1282 McConnell Dr, Decatur, GA 30033 [Get Directions]
404-679-4404

District 3

Wesley Chapel-William C. Brown Library [Info & Hours]
2861 Wesley Chapel Rd, Decatur, GA 30034 [Get Directions]
404-286-6980

District 4

Covington Library* [Info & Hours]
3500 Covington Highway, Decatur, GA 30032 [Get Directions]
404-508-7180

* In 2018, District 4 Community Council meetings have changed venue from the Stone Mountain Library to Covington as they renovate the Stone Mountain branch.

District 5

Redan-Trotti Library [Info & Hours]

770-482-3821

Who are the members of the Community Council?

District 5 Community Council Meeting

A presentation underway during the District 5 Community Council meeting in DeKalb County, GA.

Community Council members are a volunteer group of DeKalb citizens, interested and experienced in the planning and zoning process. Each member serves a four-year term and is expected to complete a training session sponsored by DeKalb County and the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC). Council members are also required to be a residents of unincorporated DeKalb County and live in the districts they serve. Each district can appoint up to 15 members, although many districts have far less active members. The members volunteer their personal time every 2 months to review current applications. More importantly, and as their name suggests, they listen to the community’s comments and concerns about each item and how those concerns may impact their neighborhood and district.

Here’s a current list of the Community Council members for each district.

What happens during the Community Council meeting?

Each council meeting typically includes one or more zoning applications. The lineup of each meeting can vary but deferred items are almost always heard first. Deferred applications are ones that have gone through the entire zoning process only to result in a full-cycle deferral, sending them back through the process again. You can find the current Rezone Agenda on the DeKalb Planning website.

District 3 Community Council Meeting

Council & community members listen in at the the District 3 Community Council meeting in DeKalb County, GA.

To start the meeting, the applicant of each zoning item (usually a developer, investor or landowner) will make a 5 minute presentation. These presentations can vary from item to item depending on the purpose of the application. For instance, a developer building a large shopping center may display detailed drawings or renderings of their proposed site plan, and address other elements such as landscape, traffic, lighting and drainage issues. Alternately, a home owner opening a small daycare in their home may only present a basic property layout and address fencing or square footage concerns.

Once the applicant has completed their presentation, the Community Council with then take 10-15 minutes for members to ask the applicant questions about the site plan. Once the council is finished with their questions, the chairperson will open the floor to the community. This is the critical time for citizens of DeKalb County to stand in support for or in opposition to the application. The council usually allows a few minutes for each citizen to express their support or concerns. After the community has been given time to express their concerns, the applicant may get extra rebuttal time. This time is used to address any concerns or questions the community might have presented.

Finally, after hearing and considering both the applicant’s presentation and the community’s comments, the council will then deliberate and vote based on their findings. This vote is a non-binding recommendation to be considered by the Planning Commission and the County Board of Commissioners.

Important

Remember, regardless of the voting result by the Community Council (including a Deferral or Denial), the application will still advance to the next Planning Commission meeting (in 2 weeks) and will ultimately be heard the Board of Commissioners.

Community Council Recommendation Options:

According to the bylaws of the Community Council, there are 5 different options they can choose from to make their recommendation:

  • Approve (with comments)
  • Approve (with conditionsConditions are a set of additional written rules or regulations that can be added to a zoning application. Zoning conditions may be requested by an applicant, recommended by the planning department... More and comments)
  • Defer 60 days (full cycle)
  • Deny (with comments)
  • Abstain

Find out what these terms mean in our Zoning Process Overview >>

Community Council Recommendation Options:

According to the bylaws of the Community Council, there are 5 different options they can choose from to make their recommendation:

  • Approve (with comments)
  • Approve (with conditions and comments)
  • Defer 60 days (full cycle)
  • Deny (with comments)
  • Abstain

Find out what these terms mean in our Zoning Process Overview >>

Community Council Meeting Pro Tips:

Remember these important tips to ensure a successful meeting.

Bring a notepad and pen for notes

Taking detailed notes is critical so you can refer to them when you do research & address the Planning Commission & Board of Commissioners. You learn something new at every meeting!

Prepare your remarks in advance

It's helpful to have a prepared speech or written notes when you address the Council. This will help you stay on point and cover as many important topics as possible!

Assign a speaker

If you're part of a group or neighborhood, consider assigning a speaker to represent the lot. This is especially helpful when the meeting is running late or you're short on time. In addition, have your entire group stand when your speaker is talking to show solidarity in the group.

Be respectful to other agenda items

Library meeting rooms can be small. When your agenda item is complete, move outside for any wrap-up conversation. Other folks have important items they'd like to hear!

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Next Step!

The next public meeting is the Planning Commission meeting.
Let’s take a look at what to expect!

Next Step!

The next public meeting is the Planning Commission meeting.
Let’s take a look at what to expect!