Fulton Board Adopts Innovative Environmental Justice Policy | Print |

On July 17, 2013, the Fulton County Board of Commissioners voted to amend the Fulton County Zoning Resolution to promote environmental justice and protect environmentally stressed communities in unincorporated Fulton County.

In October 2012, the Board adopted legislation sponsored by Vice Chair Emma I. Darnell directing staff to prepare the zoning amendment in accordance with Fulton County’s environmental justice policies.  Vice Chair Darnell represents District 5, an area that has more “hot spots” or environmentally adverse land uses than any other district in the county.

The new amendment establishes distance requirements between environmentally adverse land uses and pollution points, such as wastewater pump stations, landfills, recycling centers, salvage and junk facilities, transfer stations, quarries, surface mining facilities, airports, and uses that result in the discharge of pollutants.

Procedurally, the amendment establishes an environmental justice review process for businesses or residences seeking rezoning, use permits or land disturbance permits.

“Fulton County has been a leader in the area of fairness and land use decisions since the 1990s,” stated Vice Chair Darnell. “This action supported by the Commission on the Environment and the affected communities is consistent with established board policy and community input.”

The new policy is consistent with Fulton county policy balancing economic and environmental protection goals. The development of the environmental justice amendment included extensive public input as well as collaboration among the departments of Planning & Community Development, Health & Wellness, the County Attorney’s Office, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).