Atlanta planning commissioner resigns, accepts job in private sector

City of Atlanta Planning Commissioner Steve Cover has resigned. According to a department spokeswoman, he submitted his written resignation this morning. He’ll officially leave the department on Oct. 3, after which he’ll join HOK Planning Group.

Deputy Commissioner James Shelby will be acting commissioner.

Cover’s department has been at the center of an unlikely controversy involving the firing of Tom Coffin, a senior field arborist with the city. City Hall’s kept mum as to why the arborist was dropped off the payroll — which in itself isn’t too strange, as commenting could lead to a lawsuit. Nonetheless, that silence has helped fuel speculation that Coffin was edged out to appease the development community.

The arborists’ office is part of the bureau of buildings, which is also part of the planning department. In the wake of Coffin’s ouster, City Councilmember Mary Norwood has called for an audit of the bureau.