Comprehensive Plan (2012 - 2032)

The purpose of the Comprehensive Plan is to guide the intensity, location and timing of development and to ensure compatibility with existing uses, infrastructure and economic trends while protecting natural and cultural resources.

Forsyth County's Comprehensive Plan serves as a policy guide as decisions are made in relation to growth and land use change. The plan addresses critical issues and opportunities through the incorporation of a shared vision for the community's future.

According to the Standards and Procedures for Local Comprehensive Planning from the Rules of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), Chapter 110-12-1, the county is required to undergo an update to the Comprehensive Plan every 10 years. Consequently, a plan update was approved by the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners on March 15, 2012. The plan contains three components: The Community Assessment, Community Participation Program and Community Agenda. The Community Assessment is a snapshot of existing conditions that assisted stakeholders during the update process with envisioning the county over the next twenty years as growth occurs. The Community Participation Program was the public participation plan that was followed as the county underwent a 15 month public process for the update. The Community Agenda encompasses the community's vision, based on identified issues and opportunities that guided the future development map and narrative, which is supported by implementation measures intended to achieve the vision reached through public input. These measures include the policies section of the plan along with the short term work program, which is a five-year action plan created to incrementally attain long term goals. The short term work program is updated annually as implementation measures are addressed.

Please access the links below for the different components of the Forsyth County Comprehensive Plan, including the Future Development Map. Note that blank pages are intentional within each chapter and the document as a whole for printing purposes.

Census 2010 Snapshot

2014 Supplement: Short Term Work Program (STWP) and Capital Improvement Element (CIE) - A STWP sets out the specific actions the local government intends to take during the next five years to implement the Comprehensive Plan. Each item listed in the STWP includes information on the responsible party, funding sources and estimated cost. Not all action items can be addressed in the next five years. These items will be included as part of the work program at some point over the twenty-year period.   

Service Delivery Strategy - The Service Delivery Strategy (SDS) is a document required by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA), which outlines the services that Forsyth County and the City of Cumming provide in order to ensure that service delivery allocation and funding of these services is as efficient as possible. 

Update Meetings

Comprehensive Plan Q&A

What is the Comprehensive Plan?

The Comprehensive Plan is a document that addresses critical issues and opportunities within a community that incorporates a shared vision for the community’s future. The plan reviews past trends, evaluates current conditions, describes a preferred future scenario for growth and provides an implementation plan to achieve desired goals and objectives. A Comprehensive Plan is a result of public planning processes that involve members of the community who work together to visualize the desired shape and distribution of growth through a collaborative dialogue.

Why must we have a Comprehensive Plan?

The Georgia Planning Act of 1989 requires a local government’s comprehensive plan be updated at least once every ten years. Forsyth County’s Comprehensive Plan went through a major update in 2003-04 and a partial update was adopted in May 2009 to maintain the county’s qualified local government status. The current mandatory update will meet revised state planning requirements and must be adopted by June 30, 2012. This deadline was changed in March 2011 to October 31, 2012, but the public participation schedule will remain as originally designed. The Comprehensive Plan, once adopted, serves as a policy guide as decisions are made in relation to growth and land use change. Local planning rules and procedures are administered through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA). DCA will review the update and must approve it before the revised Comprehensive Plan can be adopted by the county and go into effect.

What are the different components of the Comprehensive Plan?

The Comprehensive Plan must include three components for a jurisdiction the size of Forsyth County. These components include the Community Assessment, Community Participation Program and Community Agenda. The Community Assessment is an objective and professional analysis of data pertaining to population, housing, economic development, land use, transportation, community facilities, natural and cultural resources and intergovernmental coordination. The assessment focuses on current conditions with a review of former trends as well as future growth projections. The assessment provides a foundation upon which the community vision is based. The Community Participation Program outlines the strategy for public involvement during the Community Agenda portion of the plan. This program is intended to ensure a diverse representation of stakeholders assist with the development of the Community Agenda. The Community Agenda incorporates the community’s vision for the county and how it will be achieved. Since this component of the Comprehensive Plan provides guidance for future decision-making, it is essential that the public participates as this part of the plan is being created.

Forsyth County is asking for public participation through a series of community workshops beginning in the fall of 2010 and running through 2011. It is essential that the county hear from individuals, groups and institutions that are vested in the future of the county. Stakeholders are indispensible to the public planning process since they will be affected by the Comprehensive Plan’s recommendations. We encourage you to participate and make contact as the Community Agenda moves forward so that the community vision will be based on as much citizen input as possible.

Character Areas Q&A

What are Character Areas?

Specific geographic locales that have unique, recognizable characteristics that are different from adjacent areas. Distinctions are based on the form, pattern and intensity of land development.

Why are Character Areas important?

Character area designation is required by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) as part of the Community Assessment component for the major update to the Comprehensive Plan. These areas may contain special features to preserve or enhance; have the potential to develop into a distinctive district through planning and appropriate implementation measures; or require special consideration due to specific development concerns.

How are Character Areas identified?

 Existing physical characteristics and uses are assessed including lot configuration, intensity of development, interaction of land uses, natural features and level of existing infrastructure. Current land use and zoning are also evaluated with planned expansions for transportation as well as water and sewer facilities so that recommended future development areas can be properly selected.

What impact does this map have on Future Land Use?

The character area map will be reviewed as the future development map is generated during the Community Agenda element of the Comprehensive Plan update, which will take place in 2011. Through public participation, character areas will be adjusted as stakeholders offer feedback concerning the vision for future development within the county. A list of specific land uses will be connected with each character area once these areas have been modified as a result of public input. The vision for future development within the county is a collaborative process between community stakeholders and appointed and elected officials with guidance provided by the steering committee and project management team.

What is the difference between a FDM and FLU map?

 A future development map (FDM) is based on character areas and descriptions of the types, forms and patterns of development that are supported by the community’s vision of preferred growth. The relationship between zoning categories and character areas is established as part of the Community Agenda. A future land use map (FLU), created according to former state requirements, uses conventional land use categories to indicate the location of particular land uses without addressing the environment’s character or appearance.  A future land use map is no longer required by DCA.

Contact Us

 Address: 110 East Main Street
Suite 100
Cumming, GA 30040
 Phone: 770-781-2115
 Fax: 770-781-2197
 Email: Contact Us

Our Mission

Our department's mission is to develop partnerships with all members of the community in an effort to provide valuable planning and development services that promote quality development and help create communities that will be enjoyed for generations to come.