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Sustainable Development Overlay

Fulton Co., Georgia
Property Area
40,000 Acres
Land Owners’ Association & County Gov.

Approval process by county gov.
Planning Team
Ecos Environmental Design, Inc.
Associated Engineering Consultants, Inc.
Services Provided
Technical review of existing conditions,
Community interaction, Master planning,
Implementation tools and Design guidelines
Land preservation, watershed protection,
mixed use village nodes, transportation
oriented development, targeted growth areas,


The Atlanta area has experienced extraordinary growth and continues to consume land at rates far outstripping any historical precedent. This area of south Fulton County has been largely passed over
by development until recently. Land owners in the Hill Country area tracked an increasing number of proposed conventional development projects. Residents foresaw their area becoming like the northern end of the county where farms have vanished, unwalkable strip highway development consumes roadside views, and large lot subdivisions consume land and aggravate traffic problems.

These residents responded by forming an association of land owners to partner with the Nature Conservancy and the Fulton County Planning Department to create a 40,000 acre overlay district. The purpose of the district is to preserve the
rural character, provide for riparian corridor and watershed protection, and protect real estate values.

Through a series of public forums and design charette, the stakeholders formulated criteria for the overlay district. The district actually increases development rights in the area at the same time it provides for the
preservation of 50-75% of the land as undisturbed greenspace and farm. The development nodes include Live/Work/Play mixed use villages linked.

P&A participated as partner firm to Ecos Environmental Design in the regional development planning for a 40,000-acre portion of Fulton County, Ga. The planning was a collaborative effort between the property owners, the county planning officials, and elected representatives in a series of community fora.

This planning employed citizen-to-governance techniques to balance land owners’ development rights with cultural resources, open space preservation, transportation planning, existing zoning regulations, and riparian corridor protection. The planning process produced a radical change in the development regulations of the area. The plan enabled a broad Transfer of Development Rights within the 40,000 acres targeting three receiver mixed-use villages.

Currently Ecos and P&A are designing the Development Master Plan for the first of these Villages. This process includes additional citizen participation, economic analysis of mix of uses, traffic analysis, Urban Code architectural guidelines, and master plan map.