A Comprehensive Plan focuses on key goals to help a community shape its own future in transportation, housing, economic development, and land use. Its design is to be a guide in achieving a community’s goals for a 20-year planning period. Using population estimates from the ARC, the population of 110,975 in the county will grow to over 140,000 by the year 2040, a nearly 30 percent increase.
Among the key points of the update were maintaining rural character, focusing on subdivision entrances, maintaining large lots to reduce traffic and density, the multi-use path system, parks and greenspace, and cultural facilities.
A steering committee, along with stakeholder groups, helped lead the discussion, and public input was sought through an online survey that garnered more than 1,500 responses.
“The perception of the public was that the county was developing too quickly and too densely. It was increasing traffic,” said Planning & Zoning Director Pete Frisina. “Their was a concern about the county losing its rural character.”
Preserving that character became the focal point of the process.
“We want to protect our rural character, our rural suburban character,” said Commissioner Steve Brown, also a member of the steering committee. “It’s a hallmark of Fayette County. We are one of the few 10 core counties that actually have a rural suburban feel. It’s our calling card. A lot of people move here because of it.”
The Land Use Map will be broken down into four categories of varying minimum acreage, with the larger acreage lots in the southern end of the county.
“I would say to my colleagues, I definitely support the map from the steering committee. It is a protected rural corridor program,” said Brown. “It’s protecting the citizens, protecting traffic flow, and protecting rural character.”
Because of limited time to get the Comprehensive Plan approved, the current Future Land Use Plan map and land use categories stay in place.
The county will now send it on to the State Department of Community of Affairs for approval with an adoption date of June 30, 2017. After that point, the Planning Commission has asked to review it further to evaluate the Future Land Use Map and land use category amendments.
“We’ve got some work to do and some money to spend. That’s what it boils down to,” said Commissioner Charles Rousseau. “We’re making the commitment to add these services to enhance our quality of life, not only in keeping rural character but in service delivery.”
The Board voted unanimously to approve the Comprehensive Plan Update.
“I don’t see that it’s a significant change to the Land Use Plan,” said Chairman Eric Maxwell. “It looks like a no-brainer.”
Full details of the Comprehensive Plan update can be found on the county’s website at www.fayettecountyga.gov.