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Watch: Here's what will change as Forsyth County joins Atlanta Regional Commission
Georgia Regional Commissions

Forsyth County has officially moved from a regional group focused on the mountains of north Georgia to one that deals with issues in the metro Atlanta area. 

Forsyth County and the city of Cumming has joined the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), leaving the Georgia Mountain Regional Commission (GMRC).

With the addition of Forsyth County to the ARC, the regional planning and intergovernmental coordination agency for various metro-Atlanta counties and cities now serves 11 counties including Cherokee, Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Douglas, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Gwinnett, Henry and Rockdale. 

“After decades of a fruitful and mutual relationship with GMRC, Forsyth County looks forward to the regional partnership that ARC will bring,” said Forsyth County Board of Commissioners Chairwoman Cindy Jones Mills. “The transition over to the Atlanta Regional Commission will give Forsyth County residents a stronger voice about our future in key areas, including transportation planning and water quality. I would like to express my gratitude to my fellow board members and to the local legislative delegation for the many months of hard work that made this possible.” 

In Fall 2019, the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners petitioned for the County to move from the GMRC to the ARC. The Georgia Senate and House approved a resolution in March 2021 for a move to the ARC, followed by Gov. Brian Kemp signing HR 130 transferring Forsyth County to the ARC effective July 1, 2021. 

“Forsyth County is one of the most dynamic and important parts of metro Atlanta. In many ways, the County’s fast-growing and evolving population reflects the future of our region,” said ARC Board Chairman Kerry Armstrong. “This growth also brings ever-increasing challenges in long-range planning. We look forward to having Forsyth join our efforts in improving the quality of life for everyone in the Atlanta region.” 

Georgia has 12 regional commissions, or public agencies set up to “assist local governments on a regional basis and to develop, promote and assist in establishing coordinated and comprehensive planning in the state.”

GMRC is made up of Forsyth, Dawson, Lumpkin, Union, Towns, White, Hall, Banks, Habersham, Rabun, Stephens, Franklin and Hart counties and their cities.

A move to the ARC from the GMRC has been discussed since at least 2019 by local leaders, including presentations from officials for both commissions describing what they offer.

Forsyth County Commissioners previously said they favored moving to the ARC due to issues such as growth, economic development, transportation and others that are more similar to metro Atlanta counties than those in the northeast corner of the state.

The realignment will not affect Forsyth County’s designation as a member of the federal Appalachian Regional Commission.