What are The Development Sessions?

The Development Sessions is a multi-platform information program that focuses on hot topics and best practices in Community and Economic Development

It is designed to provide municipal economic and community development professionals with the most current information, tools, professional insight, and resources available to augment economic development efforts and initiatives through departmental collaboration.

By merging the skill sets of a municipality’s economic and community development professionals and their processes, downtown development can be streamlined and approached more aggressively. 

The 2020 Development Sessions

Economic Resiliance Series

Expanding Outdoor Dining 

This Development Sessions webinar features Margaret Woodard, Executive Director of the Augusta Downtown Development Authority speaking about creative ways to provide expanded outdoor dining for downtown restaurants. Conversation will include ordinance revisions and how the public and private sectors can band together to boost economic potential.

Temporary City Ordinances for Long-term Business and Community Development

This Development Session features Courtney Harcourt, Main Street Manager from the City of Newnan speaking on implementing temporary city ordinances and programs that assist business and community development efforts during an economic crisis. 


Economic and Community Development Series

New Market Tax Credits and Georgia Cities

This Development Session features Randy Griffin, President of Georgia Community Reinvestment Fund (GCRF) and a discussion on New Market Tax Credits (NMTC). Randy will explain how GCRF plans to target the next allocation round of NMTC’s to assist low income areas of Georgia.

New Market Tax Credits in Georgia, Part 2


Redevelopment of Malls, Power Plants, and other Large Spaces

Join our practitioner panel of experts as they discuss innovative approaches to redeveloping large vacant spaces. Hosted by: Mayor Matt Seale, City of Ocilla and creator of the Small Town Podcast. The panel features:
Matthew Thomas, Economic Development Manager, City of Alpharetta, Kate Hogan, Director of Economic Development, City of Centerville, and Christian Sottile, Principal of Sottile & Sottile.

The Nuts and Bolts of Hotel Motel Tax in Georgia

This webinar will provide city officials background on the hotel-motel excise tax, which generated nearly $300M in Georgia communities during the last fiscal year. The presentation will discuss the statute empowering local governments in Georgia to collect the tax, the mechanics of restricted spending for tourism promotion and product development, the “nuts and bolts” of making the most of the excise tax, relationships with destination marketing organizations such as CVBs and Chambers of Commerce, the challenges and opportunities of short-term rentals such as AirBnB and VRBO, and examples of successful tourism product development projects from all corners of Georgia. The hotel-motel excise tax is an incredible resource for communities across the state, and this session will be an opportunity to expand your understanding of the benefits it can bring to your city!

This podcast session is a partnership with The Beer Guys Radio, and is a panel discussion that focuses on the economic potential and development processes of downtown breweries and distilleries. Link to Podcast.

Mayor Mike Eason of Dawsonville
Cheryl Wood, Founder of Dawsonville Distillery
Keri Stevens, Assistant City Manager of Avondale Estates
Nathan McGarity, Co-owner and Developer of Oconee Brewing Company
Taylor Lamm, Co-owner and Brewmaster of Oconee Brewing Company
Rob Hopek and Stacia Familo-Hopek of The Lost Druid Brewery

Tim Dennis, Co-host and Co-founder of Beer Guys Radio


This webinar provides participants with a comprehensive tutorial on how to get your community engaged in participating in the Federal Opportunity Zone incentive program. Holly Hunt, from DCA, explains the nuances of the incentive and provides a cache of resources for communities, investors, and developers.



This podcast session focuses on cultivating relationships with Downtown Developers. Downtown professionals are charged with finding development partners that have the skills and resources to assist municipalities with their downtown master plans and vision. Whether they develop one building, an entire block, or a large portion of a master plan, downtown developers are crucial partners in downtown revitalization. 

Monica Callahan, Madison Planning Department Director
Hasco Craver, Newnan Assistand City Manager
Sadie Krawczyk, Monroe Economic Development Director

Mayor Matt Seale, City of Ocilla


This webinar session will provide participants with detailed information about how to fashion an aesthetic and business friendly downtown by creating or modify existing downtown development ordinances. The redevelopment of historic properties, development of infill, implementation of master plans, and land development are all regulated by a municipality’s codes. There are some innovative and flexible tools such as historic overlay districts, preservation ordinances, and form-based codes, that municipalities can implement to better facilitate downtown recruitment and revitalization efforts. This session will focus on what those tools are, what are the benefits of using ordinance-based tools for downtown development, and how to go about adopting and implementing them.

This classroom session provided participants with examples of effective planning and zoning practices to maximize downtown development potential and opportunities.

Katherine Moore, Georgia Conservancy, Vice President, Programs Sustainable Growth Director
Nick Johnson, Georgia Conservancy, Senior Planner

Link to Video
Link to Presentation

This classroom session provides participants with a deep dive examination about how to leverage the powers of downtown development authorities and create sustainable development incentives. 

Stephanie Aylworth-Russell, GMA Economic Development Manager
Sadie Krawczyk, Monroe Economic Development Director

Link to Video
Link to Presentation