APAB Bylaws (Click here) Last updated October 2009
WHAT IS APAB?
The Atlanta Planning Advisory Board commonly and affectionately known by its members as (APAB) is a representative Board of citizens drawn from every Neighborhood Planning Unit district of Atlanta. The Bureau of Planning administers the annual budget.
WHO ARE MEMBERS OF APAB?
APAB is composed of twenty-five (25) delegates and 25 alternate delegates from each of the City's 25 Neighborhood Planning Units (NPU). The NPU Chairperson or official delegate is, by statute, the voting representative of their NPU. APAB elects officers yearly, and its officers, together with its committee chairs, constitute the Executive Committee of the Atlanta Planning Advisory Board. APAB meets at 10:00am on the third Saturday of every month at City Hall. The public is invited to attend any regular APAB meeting. A brief period for public comment is a feature of the monthly APAB session. APAB meetings are televised live on City Channel 26, and are taped for archival purposes.
WHAT IS OUR MISSION?
The primary mission of the Atlanta Planning Advisory Board is to facilitate citizen participation in affairs of city government by drawing on its representation from the Neighborhood Planning Unit system and elsewhere and to advise the City Administration, City Council and others on citywide issues, goals and objectives relative to Atlanta's Comprehensive Development Plan and related concerns. It also advises on ongoing issues related to land use, zoning, transportation, environmental quality, license review, parks and open spaces.
WHAT DOES APAB DO?
· The Planning Advisory Board maintains direct communication with the Commissioner of Planning.
· APAB is the official voice of Atlanta's citizens in the planning process pursuant to provisions of the Atlanta City Charter, and actions of this Board and its membership are subject to the City Code of Ethics.
· The Board assists City agencies in determining priorities; it reviews and makes recommendations on budgetary items and matters of policy.
· APAB often advises the City concerning responsiveness of city government to its citizen organizations and other citizen participants in the planning, administrative and legislative processes.
· APAB may also perform other functions as required by federal law relative to citizen participation where federal law does not mandate assignment to a specific agency, and may perform other duties as assigned by the Mayor and City Council.
· APAB nominates citizens for appointments to seats on numerous City boards and commissions.
HOW DO WE GET OUR WORK DONE?
The work of this volunteer board is conducted primarily through Committees and Work Groups and meetings of the Board.
Under its present by-laws APAB maintains a committee structure that parallels that of City Council. The committees consist of: Finance/Executive, Public Safety, Community Development and Human Resources, Zoning, Utilities, Transportation, and Committee on Council. The President of APAB and the Executive Committee routinely create collaborative committees or work groups from within its delegate pool and from the city at large to facilitate citizen input on specific topics of current concern that are under consideration by city government. APAB committee members frequently work with City Council committees during the amendment phase of legislative papers in order to incorporate citizen concerns before the legislation is enacted.
WHAT ARE SOME PROGRAMS SPONSORED BY APAB?
Citizen Participation Training and Issues Forums are a critical element in creating an efficient and informed citizenry.
· APAB informs and educates citizens by presenting workshops, forums, panel discussions, and other training events and to raise awareness on pending issues of civic concern.
· APAB convenes a Leadership Institute for community leaders to strengthen their knowledge, skills, and effectiveness in providing citizen input within the City's citizen participation system.
· At the beginning of each calendar year, orientation training by the Bureau of Planning is hosted by APAB for all new NPU officers. Other training seminars are held frequently as an adjunct to the monthly Saturday APAB meetings and at other times.
· The Atlanta Planning Advisory Board issues position papers for the benefit of advising City government as to the position of its citizens regarding specific city issues.
· APAB hosts an annual citywide awards event at which Citizens and or groups who have demonstrated outstanding leadership or service to their community are presented the APAB Achievement Award.
WHAT DOES APAB NOT DO?
1. APAB DOES NOT LOBBY. IT IS NOT A LOBBYING ORGANIZATION. Unlike ad hoc citizen groups formed for lobbying for individual interests. APAB’S delegates vote to reflect the broad democratic consensus of the NPU they represent. The City’s Board of Ethics in fiscal and lobbying issues binds the APAB members, NPU Chairs, and officers.
2. APAB’s position on issues does not supersede the decisions on issues taken by Neighborhood Planning Units; however APAB is a resource to NPUs on issues and often provides information and leadership to the NPUs on issues.
3. APAB does not create plans, its mission is to advise and provide citizen input on planned development and issues.
WHICH CAME FIRST, APAB OR THE NPUs, AND WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT?
The NPU system was created first, however the dire need for a citywide collaborative citizen voice lead to the development of APAB. APAB and the NPUs are critical to Atlanta’s health and development. Some say that the NPUs are not needed while others say that APAB is not needed. Let us all remember that a strong democratic republic is one in which the voices of the citizens are represented in its structure, in its ordinances and in the implementation of its policies.
** Article revised from original article written for APAB’s Leadership Training session on April 25, 2009