Planning, Community & Economic Development

Comprehensive Planning

The Georgia Planning Act of 1989 requires each local government to update their comprehensive plan every five years to maintain eligibility for state loans, grants, and permits.  In partnership with Georgia Department of Community Affairs, NWGRC assists local governments to prepare joint comprehensive plans that present the local vision and goals, list each community’s needs and priorities, and develop a five-year work program to address those needs.  We encourage counties and municipalities to prepare a joint comprehensive plan that provides a framework for working together.  The comprehensive plan covers most governmental service areas, providing opportunity for coordination among related projects, such as between housing and transportation.   For a local project to qualify for state funding or permits, it must be included in the comprehensive plan.  The comprehensive plan depends on input from local leaders and the public, ensuring broad support for implementation.  We look forward to assisting you to update your joint comprehensive plan for successful implementation.

Local Comprehensive Plan Update Schedule:

  • Bartow County- February 28, 2023
  • Catoosa County- June 30, 2021 (one-time extension)
  • Chattooga County- June 30, 2021 (one-time extension)
  • Dade County- June 30, 2022
  • Fannin County- October 31, 2022
  • Floyd County- October 31, 2023
  • Gilmer County- October 31, 2024
  • Gordon County- June 30, 2023
  • Haralson County- February 28, 2022
  • Murray County- October 31, 2023
  • Paulding County- June 30, 2022
  • Pickens County- June 30, 2023
  • Polk County- February 28, 2022
  • Walker County- February 28, 2022
  • Whitfield County- October 31, 2023

Growth Management

Local governments and planning commissions receive assistance with zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations, and other tools to promote orderly land development.

Historic Preservation

The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission partners with the Historic Preservation Division and local governments to provide a broad range of historic preservation technical assistance to local governments, organizations, individuals, and the State.

Transportation

The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission contracts with the Georgia Department of Transportation for several activities.  The NWGRC carries out a planning work program consisting of pedestrian/cyclist activities including Safe Routes to School, rural transit planning and other activities. There is an active pedestrian/ cyclist advisory committee, Bike-Walk Northwest Georgia, that is promoting and implementing a number of projects throughout the region.   The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission also participates in the transportation planning activities of the Chattanooga/North Georgia Transportation Planning Organization, the Floyd County-Rome Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Greater Dalton Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Cartersville-Bartow County Metropolitan Planning Organization, and the Atlanta Regional Commission Metropolitan Planning Organization.  The Regional Commissions are partnering with GDOT and UGA’s Carl Vinson Institute to improve existing road data and capture road network changes from local governments through the REVAMP or Roadway Element Validation and Mapping Program.

Water Resources

The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission provides staff support to the North Georgia Regional Water Resources Partnership.  The Partnership is an organization of water withdrawal permit holders, local governments, and other entities with an interest in water issues, which  works with the Coosa-North Georgia Water Council to implement the Coosa-North Georgia Regional Water Plan.  The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Division funded a 2011 Source Water Assessment and Protection Plan that identified and assessed potential pollution sources near public drinking water intakes.  Watershed Protection Plans were also prepared. State Water Resource Plan Seed Grants or 319h grants funded the preparation of regional water studies including Redundancy and Emergency Connectivity, Grid Transmission, Agricultural Water Usage, Model Nutrient Monitoring and Implementation Plan for the Soque River, Nutrient Trading Pilot Project, Woodward Creek Management Plan, and the 303(d) Listed Streams Assessment.

Economic Development

The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission is designated a Local Development District by the Appalachian Regional Commission. The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) is a joint federal-state partnership. Appalachian Regional Commission funding is available to local communities for projects that support the creation and/or retention of private sector jobs. Since 1966, the Appalachian Regional Commission has invested over $40 million in public infrastructure and human resource projects in the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission region.

The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission is also an Economic Development District as designated by the U. S. Economic Development Administration. The Economic Development Administration (EDA) funds public works and planning projects for local governments to support creating and/or retaining private sector jobs. Since 1976, EDA has invested over $25 million in the Northwest Georgia region. A Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) is prepared by the NWGRC for the region. The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission Council serves as the CEDS Committee approving and implementing the regional strategy.

Loan Programs

The NWGRC, as the EDA RLF grant recipient, administers its EDA Revolving Loan Fund Program and the NWGRC Loan Committee administers the RLF program by reviewing, analyzing, and processing RLF Loan applications. The Loan Committee consists of private lenders, business operators and economic development/community representatives from the counties in the Regional Commission’s lending area.

State Data and Research Center Affiliate

The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission maintains population data for use by local governments, chambers of commerce, industrial development authorities, and citizens in their planning and development activities. The Northwest Georgia Regional Commission was instrumental in assisting member counties and municipalities with the 2020 United States Census. Population data can be accessed at the US Census Bureau Data site.

Geographic Information System

The geographic information system (GIS) provides counties and municipalities with maps and data in a digital format. This tool results in improved decision-making in the areas of land use planning, transportation planning, environmental studies, zoning enforcement, demographic analysis, and economic development. Digital mapping resources can be accessed on-line from the Georgia GIS Clearinghouse

Federal and State Grant-In-Aid

County and municipal governments are assisted by the Northwest Georgia Regional Commission in preparing federal and state grant-in-aid applications for such projects as economic development, water and sewer improvements, health centers, senior citizen centers, recreational improvements, historic preservation, and solid waste management. A Catalog of State Financial Assistance Programs is available on-line at the Department of Community Affairs.