The Chattahoochee Hill Country is 65,000 acres of beautiful and diverse countryside just south of Atlanta. From the Chattahoochee River to its vast amount of forest and farmland, the Hill Country is home to about 3,000 people who strongly believe in the value of the region and want to stay true to its rural character near nature and agriculture.
The area is only 20 minutes from the busiest passenger airport in the world, Hartsfield-Jackson, but is the last rural region near metro Atlanta that continues to prevent suburban sprawl. Many people leave their suburban and urban lives to escape towards nature, and Chattahoochee Hills provides the convenience of being near to Atlanta but not overwhelmed by its sprawl.
With strong support from the community, the City of Chattahoochee Hills was founded in 2007. It includes approximately 32,000 acres and 2,400 residents. In order for the community to retain its traditional character and culture, residents worked together to establish the Chattahoochee Hills City: Comprehensive Plan.
The City of Chattahoochee Hills’ goal is to develop and implement sound policies that integrate traditional agriculture and preservation strategies with sustainable town and urban living to produce a model for future suburban development.
Download the Excel file “Subjects of Study and Research at Serenbe & Chattahoochee Hills” to learn how both communities offer real world, living laboratories that connect with college and university degree programs. Click on degree fields in the Excel file to open links to U.S. Department of Education program descriptions. Note that Excel can be viewed but is not fully functional on some mobile devices.
In the 1980s, the Georgia Department of Transportation developed the South Fulton Parkway. This plan concerned community members of the Chattahoochee Hill Country who feared it would bring suburban sprawl like that experienced north of Atlanta. Community members and politicians of the Chattahoochee Hill Country kept an eye on the South Fulton Parkway while developing a plan to gain local control of their zoning ordinances.
Before 2005, cities were not allowed to incorporate within three miles of an existing city. The incorporation of Sandy Springs, Georgia changed the law and allowed the community of Chattahoochee Hills to take action. With an extensive effort combining campaigning and public assemblies led by community leaders and the Chattahoochee Hills Civic Association, the City of Chattahoochee Hills was incorporated on June 19, 2007. The City, as a municipality in Georgia, was now able to take control of its own local zoning ordinances—allowing the preservation and conservation of the land and enabling sustainable growth and development.
The collective vision and work of Chattahoochee Hills’ residents led to creation of their city. Elected and appointed public officials collaborated with a comprehensive plan task force comprised of community leaders, landowners and citizens, all of whom volunteered their time to think critically and listen to the wants and needs of those in the Hill Country to develop the Chattahoochee Hills: Comprehensive Plan and Community Agenda. The plan creates the framework for an adaptable, sustainable, and livable community while preserving the rural character of Chattahoochee Hills.
“The future will belong to the nature-smart — those individuals, families, businesses and political leaders who develop a deeper understanding of the transformative power of the natural world…” — Richard Louv
Chattahoochee Hills demonstrates an effective land use plan in response to the desire to protect and preserve the natural and agricultural surroundings while promoting growth.
Eight character areas are defined within the city’s Comprehensive Plan: town, village, mixed-use hamlet, crossroad community, residential hamlet, farmette, agriculture & rural residential, and agribusiness/industry. Each of these character areas has its own unique qualities and requirements in order to protect and preserve the land, most having a minimum requirement of keeping 60% of the land as open space.
Economic development is crucial to increase the region’s tax base and provide employment opportunities for City of Chattahoochee Hills’ citizens. In order to maintain the region’s rural character, the Comprehensive Plan Task Force identified the need to create a branding program focused closely on attracting business and industry supporting agribusiness and rural living.
The inclusion and development of mixed-use hamlets and with high walkability quality also provide an economic development opportunity by facilitating ease in accessibility for residents and business consumers.
Chattahoochee Hills demonstrates great value in preserving a vast amount of green space. About 71% of the land is devoted to preservation of agricultural and forest lands. This is done so in order to provide a healthy environment for citizens and to protect surrounding natural resources such as the Chattahoochee River and its streams and tributaries, as well as to preserve the vegetation and wildlife of the area. By conserving large amounts of green space, natural ecosystem services continue to cleanse the environment.
The development of the Regional Greenway System is intended to connect towns to various parks and green space through a 98-mile project of greenway trails throughout the City of Chattahoochee Hills, Fulton County in which the City is located, and the surrounding counties of Douglas, Carroll and Coweta.