COVID-19: Metro Atlanta License & Permitting Updates

A photo of a sign outside the Dekalb County Government Administration building.
Up-to-date information about the impact of COVID-19 on permitting, licensing, zoning, and land use information for Metro Atlanta.

In this time of confusion and shifting ground, Williams Teusink is working to ensure that our clients possess accurate and up to date permitting, licensing, zoning, and land use information from City of Atlanta, DeKalb County, and other municipalities across the Metro Atlanta area as we experience delays, cancellations, and closures due to COVID-19. Right now, Gwinnett County remains open to the public and has implemented enhanced cleaning and safety measures to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus.  DeKalb County is working to keep essential public functions, including permitting and licensing, operational despite their offices being closed to the public. Many Fulton County departments and facilities have closed to the public and its cities are following that guidance.

As of March 17th, City of Atlanta has closed its offices to the public for the foreseeable future and has instructed staff to work remotely where possible. Although City of Atlanta Office of Zoning and Development and Code Enforcement are entirely closed, City of Atlanta Office of Buildings continues to review residential, commercial, and arborist permitting applications submitted prior to the closing to the public. Similarly, City of Atlanta Trade Inspections Office continues to perform and schedule inspections. A few divisions of City of Atlanta are simply unreachable by phone and it remains unclear whether staff are working remotely or if the division office is simply closed at this time.

Similarly, the City of Sandy Springs continues to process projects and applications already submitted. However, the City’s response is evolving and both the business license offices and building permit offices state they will reevaluate their procedures next week.

DeKalb County is closed to the public. However, its Planning and Sustainability Department Divisions continue to operate and make themselves available by phone for services including planning, zoning, businesses licenses, permitting, land development and arborists, inspections, code enforcement, GIS, and watershed management planning & development. We anticipate long delays and wait times for these services while these divisions are restricted to conducting all business via phone. As of the date of this post, there is no date certain for reevaluation of the closure policy by DeKalb County; however, almost every division is working to move its applications, permits, and licenses forward.

Thankfully, most municipalities and counties provide information via 311 services. Anyone can call these numbers and enquire as to policies and plans for all aspects of government. Williams Teusink will continue to work with our area municipalities and staff to ensure regular and accurate updates as we learn more and policies are updated. Where permitting and licensing services continue, we fully anticipate and will plan that local governments will experience delays and slowdowns as they adapt to the ongoing COVID-19 health emergency.

As always, Williams Teusink will utilize every resource available and continue to advocate for our clients during these uncertain times to ensure that their projects are processed and approved as practical as possible in this uncertain time. Williams Teusink values our clients and prioritizes our community health and welfare. We invite you to contact us using our web form or by emailing if you have any questions or need legal representation concerning any permitting, licensing, zoning, and land use matter.