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Mar 18

The Roadshow Explained - Rural and Residential Areas

Posted on March 18, 2023 at 6:49 AM by Allison Duncan

This post will provide more information on those Character Areas that are primarily rural and residential in nature.  Character Areas are geographical areas that have a similar look and feel.  They may have similar land uses, or they may have land uses that are definitive of a specific time period, purpose or aspiration.

Character Areas

According to estimates developed as a part of the Comprehensive Plan Update, about 80% of Douglas County, or roughly 98,000 acres is zoned for primarily residential land use. This is evident in the geography of our Character Areas that principally follow residential or rural development patterns.

The Traditional Neighborhoods encompass many of the first- and second-generation, suburban single-family homes.  These are largely clustered around Lithia Springs and the city of Douglasville.   First generation suburbs are typically neighborhoods from the 1950s to 1970s comprised of single-family homes on lots ranging from one-half acre to one acre.  They are typical of ranch and split level architecture popular at the mid-twentieth century.  Many are developed in proximity to a central civic use, such as a school, church or shopping center.

Traditional Neighborhoods_Rural Reserve

The Traditional Neighborhood Character Area is in yellow.  The Rural Reserve Character Area is in green. 

Some newer subdivisions from the 1980s and 1990s can be found on the periphery and along corridors of the Traditional Neighborhood Character Area.  However, there is greater prevalence of neighborhoods from this time period further away from city centers into the unincorporated areas.  Houses get larger, but may occupy smaller lots, covering a greater percentage of lot area.  Architectural styles reflect more traditional and less modern elements.  And the neighborhood amenities tend to shift away from civic uses, such as schools and churches.  When present, a prevalence of country club-type facilities is evident with amenities such as swimming pools, tennis courts, golf courses and private clubhouses.

As you move beyond the Traditional Neighborhoods, several Character Areas comprise the rural areas of Douglas County.  These include the Rural Reserve, the Byway Reserve, the Dog River Watershed and the Resort Conservation Area.

The Rural Reserve and Byway Reserve are areas that are characterized mostly by single family residences on large acreage.  A few neighborhoods are developed as traditional subdivisions, but generally this is an area of agricultural and estate residential uses.  The intrinsic qualities of the South Douglas Scenic Byway corridor and the desire to preserve areas for rural-residential uses will guide future development in the future.

Dog River_Byway Reserve_Resort Conservation

The Byway Reserve Character Area is show in blue. The Dog River Basin Character Area is shown in teal. The Resort Conservation Character Area is show in light green.

The Dog River Basin is the area that supports water quality and quantity for the Dog River Reservoir, the county’s primary drinking water reservoir.  Land use restrictions in this area ensure the prevalence of low density development.  Further protection may be warranted through programs that would allow the transfer of density out of environmentally sensitive areas and into places more appropriate for increased density to ensure the preservation of the Dog River Watershed, and the county’s potable water supply, for future generations.

The Resort Conservation Character Area has infrastructure that is available to support some aspects of development that are context sensitive to the rural residential pattern of development in this area.  This includes hospitality, recreational and agricultural uses.  This area will remain primarily residential, but will support limited opportunities for context sensitive economic development opportunities.