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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Feb 17

Planning in Crayon

Posted to Douglas County’s Main Street by Allison Duncan

Understanding the history of development trends that have influenced an area is only the first step.  Understanding how much of an area is likely to change over time is essential to anticipating what may come in the future.  Once something is built, it is often there for a very long time.

Computer technology has allowed unprecedented data visualization.  However, before hat can project a map of the area, you have to know what is on the ground. And sometimes it is easiest to accomplish that with an old-fashioned, hand-drawn sketch.  This image shows a portion of the study area and indicates a preliminary analysis of where we anticipated change; where we didn’t anticipate change; and where we weren’t certain. A complete presentation of these sketches are available here.
Preliminary analysis_SW quadrant

Specifically, greenfield opportunities were examined as a part of this study.  It is an indicator of the capacity of an area to accept new growth.  This sites are the areas in orange below. New development has the potential to bring new residential, commercial and professional uses to an area.  New businesses will need to customers to support them, and new housing can deliver on those new customers.  Looking at the balance of residential and non-residential land uses is essential to understanding the potential of an area to change.

Most of the areas identified for potential changes in land use corresponded to a different variable.  Analysis of environmental considerations substantial areas in the floodplain.  Douglas County prohibits construction in the floodplain, and further imposes buffers around streams or creeks that often feed those areas of floodplain.

So when we accounted for these areas, our final analysis suggested that there was only a modest amount of land in this area that would be susceptible to significant change in the future. This informs recommendations for changes to the Douglas County Future Land Use Map.

Sep 02


Posted to Happenings by TJ Jaglinski

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Apr 13

Intrinsic Qualities, part 2

Posted to South Douglas Scenic Byway by Allison Duncan

Part 1 of our examination of intrinsic qualities focused on archaeological and historic resources.  One commonality to these two areas is that they both document the ways that human activities have changes the landscape. 

This post will focus on the Natural and Scenic Qualities of the Byway. Natural and Scenic Qualities may describe man-made changes, but they also may focus on the abundance of visual features in an undisturbed state along the Byway. 

166 view

Sometimes scenic features are the result of a deliberate attempt by humans to mimic the natural environment.  An example of this is a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway that runs from Georgia to Virginia.  The Parkway is a unit of the National Park Service, and traces its roots to the days when motoring as a pastime was taking hold of America. It was designed by landscape architect Stanley Abbott to include vistas and scenery that exposed a view of rural Appalachian life.  As necessary trees and shrubs were planted to cover vast areas of cut and fill where the road was carved out of the sides of mountains.  Cabins, barns and agricultural buildings were relocated to maximize the view for the motorist, and all of the elements were tied together by a series of Master Land Use Maps.

166 barn

The proposed South Douglas Scenic Byway presents the same opportunities. Much of the Highway 166 corridor runs parallel to the Chattahoochee River.  This has been one of the primary east-west corridors for many years and it offers glimpses of an undulating natural terrain as the topography slopes off toward the river. The area is generally wooded, with areas of pasture, rural homesites and other scenic vistas that break through the forested areas. 

Smith Ferry Road

Some of the most noteworthy interruptions to the wooded canopy occur at the location where the road crosses the water reservoir at the Dog River and in the community centers of Fairplay and McWhorter. These communities include more institutional uses, such as schools and churches, and limited commercial activities. 

The proposed route of they Byway does include new residential development where project entrance monuments for residential subdivisions welcome residents of the area to their homes.  The Byway is not intended to preclude development.  Rather, the Corridor Management Plan developed with this project will document all of those elements that make the Byway a special location and ensure that new development is compatible with the existing landscape.