Georgia Honors PlanFirst Designation Recipients
The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is awarding five new communities and nine returning communities its PlanFirst Designation. PlanFirst is a program designed to reward communities that effectively create and implement their Local Comprehensive Plans. The program is a partnership between DCA, the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia, the Georgia Municipal Association, the Georgia Planning Association, University of Georgia Archways, the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority, the Georgia Historic Preservation Division, the Environmental Protection Division, and 12 regional commissions. Comprehensive plans present a vision for the future with long-range goals and objectives for planning and zoning activities that affect the local government.
The newly designated cities are Woodbury, Fort Valley, Cochran, Waycross, and Carrollton. The nine communities receiving PlanFirst redesignations are the cities of Sylvester, Toccoa, Roswell, Griffin, Hiawassee, Chamblee, and Gainesville. Cook County and Columbus Consolidated Government are also redesignation recipients.
Program awardees receive statewide public recognition, the eligibility to apply for Community Development Block Grant Funds and other financial incentives, low-interest loans, and technical assistance from DCA staff. Since 2015 dozens of cities and counties have been recognized.
“The PlanFirst Program is truly the linchpin of DCA’s planning efforts,” said DCA Commissioner Christopher Nunn. “In 1989, the Georgia Legislature enacted the Planning Act, recognizing the critical importance of sound planning as we envision the future of our communities. DCA is pleased to recognize those communities that stand out in their abilities to plan and execute. I am particularly proud of this program and delighted to recognize five first-time designees and nine returning communities that have been redesignated. Earning this distinction demonstrates the communities’ ability to manifest the vision of its future,” he added.
All communities are encouraged to apply, provided they have a history of public involvement with the development of their comprehensive plan, active engagement in plan implementation, and proven progress with achieving the community’s stated vision or goals. The next application deadline is May 15, 2022.