Welcome to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs

Program Description


PlanFirst is DCA’s program to recognize and reward communities that clearly demonstrate an established pattern of successfully

implementing their Local Comprehensive Plan.

Any size community is encouraged to apply, provided it has a history of public involvement with development of the plan,

active engagement in plan implementation, and proven progress with achieving the community’s stated vision or goals.

PlanFirst designation is awarded to local governments on an individual basis.  DCA encourages joint local planning; however,

each government is responsible for achieving the activities in its community-specific work program.    Multiple governments

within a county that plan jointly are encouraged to apply for PlanFirst separately.


Press Release  Announcing 2016 PlanFirst Designations.


2016 PlanFirst Designees  (click community for submitted application)

Columbus Consolidated Gov.  (River Valley)

City of Lula   (Georgia Mountains)

City of Dublin   (Heart of Georgia-Altamaha)

City of Porterdale   (Northeast Georgia)

Gwinnett County  (Atlanta)

City of Roswell   (Atlanta)

Liberty County   (Coastal)



2015 PlanFirst Designees  (click community for submitted application)

Athens-Clarke County (Northeast Georgia)

Jones County (Middle Georgia)

City of Braselton (Northeast Georgia)

City of Madison (Northeast Georgia)

Coweta County (Three Rivers)

City of Suwanee (Atlanta)

City of Gainesville (Georgia Mountains)

City of Vienna (River Valley)

Johnson County (Heart of Georgia)

City of Woodstock (Atlanta)


Program Guidelines

Applications are submitted once a year on May 15.

The PlanFirst Application for the 2017 round will be available in early 2017.
Please check back later.

Links to Hints for filling out  application.

Completed applications should be scanned and e-mailed to adriane.wood@dca.ga.gov

Applications Submitted for 2017 designation.

Pre-requisites for Program eligibility:  


1.   (a) An eligible community must be a Qualified Local Government (QLG), which   means having an adopted comprehensive plan,

            and having historically maintained this status.

      (b) The community must also be current on its required reports to DCA, including the current Report of Local Government Finances. 

            To check the status of both, please visit: http://www.georgiaplanning.com/planners/planreview/default.asp      

2.    An eligible community must have attained the Minimum Standard for performance as called for in their

       regional commission's regional comprehensive plan.

An eligible community will be evaluated against set performance criteria.  These criteria may be found at Performance Criteria

The community must have given careful thought to development of their community vision or goals, as the basis for their community

work program. This work program must consist primarily of measurable, specific action items that will help realize their hoped for future. 


Once an application is received, it will be reviewed by a multi-agency panel made up of DCA, other State agencies, and organizations

such as ACCG, GMA and the GA Planning Association. Those communities that show promise in meeting these criteria will receive a

site visit from the panel and DCA staff. The PlanFirst Program is about good community planning, and this site visit is the community’s

chance to make their case for successful local planning and implementation.

PlanFirst designation will continue for three years. Communities are encouraged to reapply to potentially extend access to the incentives

for longer periods of time.

PlanFirst designation brings significant recognition and rewards, including eligibility for the package of incentives listed below:

  • Statewide recognition as being an exemplary, PlanFirst, community;
  • The ability to apply for CDBG annually during the designation period;
  • Bonus points on DCA programs such as the Redevelopment Fund or Employment Incentive Program or the

          Downtown Revolving Loan Fund;

  • Hands-on assistance from DCA staff to help implement community work program activities, and
  • Other incentives are under consideration and will be announced as they are approved.

View Full List of Program Incentives


Contact Information

For more information about the PlanFirst program, please contact Adriane Wood at adriane.wood@dca.ga.gov


Georgia Department of Community Affairs
60 Executive Park South, N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30329-2231

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