© 2002-2005 Hart County Board of Commissioners 


Protection of Hart County's Greenspace

Goats and turkeys eat together


One of Hart County's Creeks


Shoal Creek

Hart County, Georgia, has traditionally been an agricultural area, however the quality of life and 215 miles of Lake Hartwell shoreline has drawn many to the County. The Hart County Comprehensive Land Use Plan (1995-2015) predicted a County population at the end of the 20-year planning period to be 23,471 people. By the year 2000 the County’s population had exploded to almost 23,000 reaching the twenty-year projection in only 5 years. This type of substantial growth creates a need for protection of rapidly vanishing greenspace.

Hart County is fortunate to be eligible to participate in the GA Greenspace program so early in the growth cycle of the County to circumvent the negative effects of this phenomenal growth. Through this program, Hart County has an opportunity to plan for the impacts of the intense growth that has occurred before such impacts create irreversible damage to the quality of life of its Citizens.

The City of Hartwell has elected to participate in this program. As per the goals of this program, Hart County is seeking protection of 30,154 acres over a 30-year period. Only 0.6% of the County (1000 acres) is currently eligible protected greenspace.

The primary types of lands that the County may seek protection for are Water Quality Lands (50%), Passive Recreation Lands (10%) and Agricultural Lands (28%). To preserve lands, the County will utilize easements, acquire land in fee simple, agreements with other agencies, and pursue donated conservation easements.

Because this is the first greenspace program initiated by Hart County, the barriers to reaching the goals of this program have not yet been encountered. Potential barriers however include inadequate funds, inadequate support, inadequate staff resources, lack of understanding of the need for greenspace, and fear of Infringement of property rights.

These barriers may be overcome through education and first hand experiences of the negative effects on the quality of life that results from the loss of greenspace. In addition, voluntary actions of the Citizens will be relied upon to further this community greenspace program.