Comprehensive Land Use Plan
Serenbe Recognized for Commitment to Nature
Chattahoochee Hills balances population of City Council Districts
CHC Master Plan
Master Plan |
“The History of our Nation is the History of its Villages Written Large” - Woodrow Wilson
The Chattahoochee Hill Country is a traditional cultural landscape of striking beauty and is one of the last remaining agricultural landscapes in the metropolitan Atlanta area.
Historically, the essence of the Hill Country has been its rolling pastures, rural homesteads and horse farms, large rock outcroppings, creeks and forests. Today, these natural and built features are equally viable in terms of economic benefit, recreation and natural beauty.
The area’s environmental resources are beneficial to the quality of life and are unique to Fulton County with regards to the number of streams and wetlands, the miles of the Chattahoochee River and its tributaries, and the plants and wildlife that inhabit this area. However, with the Hill Country’s close proximity to both downtown Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, it is simply a matter of time before traditional residential and commercial development sprawls across the landscape, consuming acres of land and thus destroying the very qualities that the residents of this area treasure.
The residents of the Hill Country want to preserve the rural character of their area and to determine the type, form and location of all new development within the 40,000-acre landscape. The current suburban form of development occurring throughout the Atlanta area threatens the natural beauty and resources of this area. Most importantly, the demand for residential development, with its typical cul-de-sac subdivisions and wide roadways, is the most threatening to the Hill Country’s scenic character and environmental resources. Therefore, the demand by the residents to protect the area’s rural character, cultural and sensitive landscapes and habitats from the pressures of future growth is at the forefront.
To preserve the rural landscape, the pattern of growth in this area must change. To do so, the residents of the community created the Chattahoochee Hill Country Community Plan. This plan illustrates innovative concepts, representing a variation in the form of traditional residential and commercial development currently existing in Fulton County. Utilizing the historic Village and Hamlet development patterns, growth is directed into certain locations in order to preserve the surrounding agricultural land. These villages promote an increase in density and a mix of uses in order to provide a ‘center’ for residents to live, work and relax. Hamlets provide an area for local services and residences at a smaller scale. Directing growth to these villages and hamlets preserves the surrounding sensitive landscape and natural amenities, or ‘treasures,’ of the community.
Selecting ‘growth’ areas alone does not adequately protect the rural land and natural resources of the Hill Country. Therefore, the Community Plan provides another level of protection via three preservation buffers. These buffers protect scenic corridors, historic landscapes and water quality at a higher level than currently exists in the County code. By protecting different types of green space throughout the Hill Country’s 65,000 acres, a series of open space networks evolve, providing additional space for residents to recreate and wildlife to inhabit. Open space protection is encouraged in areas of development also. Standards and incentives for conserving a percentage of open space in new residential developments are detailed in these guidelines. The standards will supplement Fulton County’s Community Green Space goal of 20% of protected land.
These planning guidelines promote the community’s vision of a landscape of compact villages and hamlets surrounded by agricultural land and sensitive areas protected by a series of buffers. They detail a model for better development that will create attractive environments, preserve open space and enhance the rural character of the area. The standards presented are essentially a set of incentives for sustainable development and conservation practices. They apply to future development in the Hill Country that seeks greater flexibility in density, uses and form, while conserving the scenic and natural resources. From block sizes to street layout, the elements of this document seek to enhance the built environment by incorporating an ecological sensibility. Included are a number of design and policy recommendations that support natural systems, such as agricultural practices, tree planting, habitat protection and an overall reduction of hardscape materials. The Community Guidelines encourage actions necessary for preserving the area’s agricultural land, open spaces and natural features, as well as provide guidance regarding the suitable pattern, location and density of future development.
The overall intent of the Chattahoochee Hill Country Community Guidelines is to promote:
- The importance of conservation and preservation of green space.
- The continuation of agriculture and its associated rural services.
- Future growth that occurs in a compact pattern with a mix of residential, commercial and retail uses to enhance the surrounding community.
- A range of housing choices to provide options for all incomes and ages.
- Connectivity for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.
- Design that is socially responsible, environmentally friendly and economically sound.