Jun 01


Posted on June 1, 2021 at 4:23 PM by Allison Duncan

If you have followed the previous posts on this blog, then the information in the Lithia Springs Small Area Plan will all look pretty familiar.  This small area plan is the basis for a Character Area Study that will inform the next update of the Douglas County Comprehensive Plan. Per the Plan Recommendations, Douglas County applied for some additional technical assistance to continue our planning work. 

Douglas County was awarded a technical assistance grant through the Community Development Assistance Program of the Atlanta Regional Commission. In addition to ARC, this project will be supported by The Georgia Conservancy.

The technical assistance project will have two components.  The first component will be the creation of a resource manual that highlights best practices and case studies of the type of development the community has asked for in the Lithia Springs area.  And the second component will produce a training component for citizens and officials to become advocates for improvements to the Lithia Springs area.

Lithia Springs has a strong sense of place.  As documented in the compilation Portraits of History: Lithia Springs by Earl M. Albertson (and available at the Lithia Springs Library) the natural and built environment have been a complement to the quality of life in the area.  Industry, development and recreation have combined to create the character of the community.  And this same dynamic will be the foundation to define this area moving forward.  
the water plant
the office

Keep an eye on the project blog at this website for more information and future updates.  It is anticipated that the project will get started in July 2021, and extend through the end of 2021. Read the entire press release here.

Photos found in Portraits of History: Lithia Springs by Earl M. Albertson, which is available at the Lithia Springs Library.

Feb 17

Planning in Crayon

Posted on February 17, 2021 at 12:26 PM 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.

Feb 16

Project Boundary

Posted on February 16, 2021 at 4:51 PM by Allison Duncan

The map of the city of Lithia Springs created jointly by the city and Douglas County in the 1990s is the starting point of the analysis for this area. 
Lithia Springs Map for web

Based on stakeholder feedback and the logical boundaries offered by existing streets, the project boundary was expanded. This area is contemplated as the “Historic Lithia Springs” Character Area.  Recommendations for an expanded “Greater Lithia Springs” Character Area are also contemplated as a part of this study.
Litha Springs

At the heart of this assessment is a parcel-by-parcel evaluation of the existing built footprint of the Lithia Springs area. The study area includes approximately 1,919 acres and 2,085 parcels.  Douglas County overall is 128,640 acres and 54,553 parcels.

An assessment of greenfield, greyfield and brownfield development opportunities also pointed to the potential for new  development. 

  • Greenfield” development on areas of vacant or undeveloped land is generally the easiest way to change land use.
  • “Greyfield” development is something in the middle of a greenfield and a brownfield.  Greyfield areas refer to land uses that have faded or deteriorated, often appear abandoned and not maintained.  Market conditions may not make it viable to find a new use or tenant for the property.  Or a landlord may be satisfied with the existing return on his investment, so he doesn’t feel the need to improve the appearance of the property.
  • “Brownfield” development can be the hardest thing to accomplish.  Brownfields are generally areas where a past land use – such as a gas station, cleaners, or manufacturing plant – have left contamination in the ground that makes redevelopment of that site potentially harmful, if not properly remediated. 

The Lithia Springs area, and the greater Highway 78 corridor, have examples of all of these.  And even though greenfield, greyfield, and brownfield parcels may co-exist side-by-side, a development approach needs to be tailored to the unique characteristics of the site.