New Norcross planner Jon Davis to focus on revitalization

Norcross officials have hired Jon Davis as the city’s new community development director.

Davis, a licensed landscape architect and LEED accredited professional, left the city of Snellville to take the job closer to his home, where officials hope to implement a new city vision.

“A project that creates a sense of purpose, place, and community identity is the only acceptable design,” Davis said, describing his design philosophy. “I’m looking forward to taking the city’s goals and establishing conditions and plans that we can use to actually create the environment that has been envisioned.”

Davis’s 38-year career includes creating a 56,000-acre master land use plan for St. Tammanny Parish, La., and coordinating with more than 50 neighborhood organization on a revitalization strategy in Columbia, S.C., as well as designing golf communities in Florida and Tennessee and receiving accolades for mixed-use community designs, a press release said.

After less than three weeks on the job in Norcross, Davis said he hopes to focus his energies on existing zoning ordinances and codes that address redevelopment in the city, which recently updated its comprehensive plan.

“The Comp Plan is an excellent concept of how we as a City want to move forward with development and redevelopment,” Davis said. “Now we need a literal, viable plan that will result in a more planned and less piecemeal approach to implementing those concepts.”

With many opportunities for redevelopment, Davis said he wants to incentivize property owners to update and renovate in ways the add to the historic charm.

“If we don’t provide better tools for developers and landlords, so that it’s profitable for them to renovate and update their property, it won’t get done,” he said. “We have to create an environment of incentives that will inspire the current owners to make improvements and invite new upscale investors as well.”

Davis, who has lived in the Norcross area for 40 years, said he is enthusiastic about the city’s historic area.

“There is tremendous potential here and a receptiveness to creative thinking that encourages and inspires great design,” he said. “This isn’t just a job for me, I’m excited about what I’ve been hired to do. Norcross is my home and I want to see it succeed.”

Snellville Mayor Kelly Kautz wished Davis good luck in his new endeavors.

“It was no secret that Mr. Davis left Snellville to take a job with his hometown of Norcross,” she said in a statement. “Mr. Davis was a wonderful addition to the Snellville staff and I was sorry to see him go. However, I understand that he lives in the city of Norcross and wanted an opportunity to work and help within his own community. I wish him the best of luck. Mayor (Bucky) Johnson and the city of Norcross are lucky to have him.”