City finishes comprehensive plan

Tue, 10/24/2006 - 4:30pm
By: Ben Nelms

Every community changes with time. Tracking the many local changes and preparing to address the future was the mission of Fayetteville’s now-completed Comprehensive Plan. Now submitted to Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) for review, the multi-faceted plan presents a bird’s eye view of Fayetteville’s future needs and goals.

Significant to the plan was the identification of future issues and opportunities facing the city. Main objectives within the plan were taken from the those issues and opportunities.

Issues identified included population change, economic development, the downtown historic district (DHD), housing, land use, transportation, natural and cultural resources, facilities and services and intergovernmental coordination.

As with all comprehensive plans, the main objectives in the various components often mesh together, reflecting the overall dynamic of the community.

The major trend in the population change component was determined to have been a slow down in growth during the past 10 years. The proportion of population over age 45 is expected to increase in coming years while the average household size will decrease.

Opportunities in this area include encouraging the development of special services and housing tailored to an older population and the development of alternative housing for “empty nesters,” single adults and childless couples.

In many ways economic development and the DHD are linked. With that in mind, the plan’s main objective in these areas calls for a viable approach that promotes stable residential neighborhoods, development of a regional medical cluster, downtown revitalization and regional commercial development along the Ga. Highway 85 corridor.

The city will work to create a vibrant downtown with cultural activities and neighborhood businesses that attract residents and tourists. The city will encourage business and industrial development to support residents and the tax digest.

Providing various housing options to meet the needs of current and future residents under changing population conditions was the main objective for the Housing component. A variety of housing options are expected to be needed to accommodate a changing population.

The plan calls for encouraging a mix of residential types throughout the city and a mix of residential density in the DHD.

In-fill development and mixed use opportunities should be identified, as should affordable housing and the promotion of developments that have convenient access to parks, schools and commercial uses and those that provide pedestrian-friendly residential developments containing trails, paths and open space.

Within the land use component the city will take a management-minded approach to land use development. The focus will be on greyfield, or underperforming, development along major commercial corridors and appropriate small business development in the DHD and near residential neighborhoods.

Mixed use developments will provide a live/work environment in the DHD and a variety of housing options and residential densities for a changing population.

Plans call for the city to encourage conservation of existing natural, historic and cultural resources and to promote the preservation of greenspace in new developments.

In the transportation component objective, the city will increase the availability of alternative forms of transportation and create a pedestrian-friendly network of movement. Better connection between existing neighborhoods and within new neighborhoods is a priority for future development. The goal is to create an environment that is more pedestrian-oriented and less auto-oriented.

The comprehensive plan places natural and cultural resources at the forefront of planning efforts. A high priority was established for the addition of open space throughout the community and the identification of historic resources fit for restoration.

Plans include encouraging connectivity between existing and new greenspace within and between residential developments, supporting protection of sensitive habitats, acquiring new greenspace and protecting surface water supplies by controlling pollution in water supply watersheds.

The main objective for facilities and services focused on continuing to maintain city facilities and offering services for residents. The objective includes creating community facilities to provide additional recreational opportunities in the city and to serve a changing population.

The final component, intergovernmental coordination, commits to work with local governments to coordinate adjacent land uses and ensure efficient provision of services. The plan calls for developing local and regional partnerships to protect greenspace and establishing a relationship with a higher level education institution to investigate the potential to locate a satellite campus in Fayetteville.

One feature new to most comprehensive plans throughout Georgia, but one that will be utilized increasingly in the future, was the on-line comprehensive plan public opinion survey. The survey was used in conjunction with stakeholders’ meetings and public meetings.

While a request but not a DCA requirement, Fayetteville’s use of the on-line survey to obtain public input on current conditions and future planning needs was a good idea and part of small but growing trend across the state, said DCA Director of Planning, Quality and Growth Jim Fredrick.

With a total of 159 respondents, the survey solicited opinions on a range of topics such as length of time in Fayetteville, the city’s desirable characteristics, importance of neighborhood characteristics, employment opportunities, retail options, lot size and greenspace preferences, the level of satisfaction with a variety of city services and amenities, preferences on housing types and architectural design, patterns of commercial development and zoning issues.

The survey included the rating of more than a dozen issues, ranked by priority, that encompass a broad spectrum view of Fayetteville.

Those issues included community character, downtown revitalization, historic preservation of downtown, availability of cultural resources, creating a guideline for future development, alternate transportation, neighborhood commercial development, walkable communities, neighborhood revitalization/redevelopment, environmental protection, recreation, community policing, educational opportunities and traffic.

Residents said highest priorities were traffic, community character, creating a guideline for future development, educational opportunities and environmental protection.

“The survey has been an effective tool since it was available to a large population at a minimal cost. Results of the survey were considered and incorporated into the final draft of the community agenda. The city’s vision of the future, development patterns and future work program are all reflective of the goals expressed by the community,” said Planning and Zoning Director Eldridge Gunn.

The stakeholder committee included representatives from Clairmont Homeowners Association, Highland Park Homeowners Association, Lakemont Homeowners Association, Stonebriar Homeowners Association, Main Street, Home Design Dynamics, Jordan Salvage, Thompson & Co., 692 North Fayette Center, Fayette Board of Education, Fayette County Development Authority, Fayette Chamber of Commerce, Fayette County Board of Realtors, Fayette Community Hospital, Fayetteville biologist Dennis Chase, city of Fayetteville consultants Integrated Science & Engineering, Mayor Ken Steele, Councilman Larry Dell, Planning and Zoning Chair Sarah Murphy and various city staff.

Arranged in three component parts, the community assessment and community participation plan were submitted to DCA in November 2005. The final portion of the comprehensive plan, the community agenda, has been completed and submitted to DCA for review. The city’s submission was four months earlier than the Feb. 28, 2007 deadline.

The comprehensive plan can be viewed in its entirety at

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