Key Facts County Profile Services Structure Fayette County's Metamorphosis
Land Area (sq mi).....................199
Water Area (sq mi).......................2
Total Housing Units.............26,000 +
Persons Per Sq. Mile................439
Total Road Mileage..................685 miles
Town of Brooks - 770.719.7666
City of Fayetteville - 770.461.6029
City of Peachtree City - 770.487.7657
Town of Tyrone - 770.487.4038
Town of Woolsey - 770.461.2320
Fayette County, which was established by Resolution in 1821, is a political subdivision of the State of Georgia, organized and existing under its Constitution and laws. Fayette County was the 49th county created in the State and was formed from parts of the Creek Indian Territory. Both the County and the City of Fayetteville, which is the County seat, were named for the Marquis De LaFayette, one of General George Washingtons lieutenants in the Revolutionary War. Fayette Countians, whether old timers or newcomers, seem to have an appreciation for the County's heritage. You can read more about Fayette's beginnings on this site by choosing the History of Fayette County.
Encompassing only about 199 square miles, it is one of the smallest counties in the State in terms of land area (142nd out of 159), Fayette County is geographically located in which is referred to as the northwestern part of Georgia. More precisely, it is situated about 15 miles south of the city limits of Atlanta and is considered an integral part of the Metro Atlanta area. Fayette County is in the 3rd and 13th U.S. Congressional Districts, the 16th and 34th State Senatorial Districts and the 63rd, 64th, 71st, 72 and 73rd State House Districts. Since all counties in Georgia are required to be a member of a regional planning agency for long-range planning and services coordination, Fayette County is a member of the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Fayette County is bordered on the north by Fulton County with Atlanta as its County seat, on the east by Clayton County with Jonesboro as its County seat, on the south by Spalding County with Griffin as its County seat, and on the west by Coweta County with Newnan as its County seat. This area located just south of Atlanta is often referred to as Metro Atlantas Southern Crescent. Incorporated communities located within Fayette County include the City of Fayetteville, which is the County seat, the Town of Brooks, the City of Peachtree City, and the Towns of Tyrone and Woolsey.
In geographical terms, Fayette County possesses some excellent physical characteristics. Average rainfall is 48.61 inches per year, and average temperatures range from a high of 87 degrees in the summer to a low of 34 degrees in the winter. With a year round average temperature of 61.4 degrees, the climate is very favorable, consisting of warm summers and moderate winters. Though Fayette's climate is considered generally mild, residents do enjoy four distinct seasons, from bountiful blooms of dogwoods and azaleas in the spring to a delightful blaze of colorful leaves in the fall. The general terrain of the area is characteristic of the Piedmont region of Georgia, with hills with broad ridges, sloping uplands and relatively narrow valleys. Land elevations within the County range from 720 to 1,005 feet above sea level.
Another important attribute of Fayette County is its location in relationship to major transportation modes. Living in Fayette County means having ready access to several different modes of transportation. The County is strategically located in proximity to three interstate highways, I-75, I-285, and I-85. In addition, several principal arterial roads, State Highways 54, 74, 85, 92, 279 and 314, pass through the County.
Citizens also have fairly easy access to the public transportation system which serves the immediate Atlanta area. From terminals in south Fulton County, one can take advantage of the trains and buses operated by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). For a very reasonable fare, MARTA offers residents the alternative of an easy, quick commute to Downtown Atlanta or to the various professional sports venues. And from the private sector, the Greyhound Bus Lines operates a local terminal in nearby Hapeville.
In spite of its relatively small size in terms of land area, Fayette County offers its residents a variety of amenities and recreational activities. Generally considered a family-oriented community, Fayette offers lots of leisure-time opportunities, with its six golf courses, a championship tennis center, an indoor aquatic center, extensive youth athletic programs, two amphitheaters, a number of annual festivals and community events, senior citizens activities and local theater groups. In recent years, Fayette has exploded with quality shopping venues and eating establishments.
As you visit Fayette County, you may sense some differences throughout the various areas of the community. Fayetteville, the County seat, is the traditional small town; though now home to about 15,000 people. It is a certified Georgia Main Street City, rich in history and tradition. In Peachtree City, alleged to be the nations most successful planned community, you may feel an almost cosmopolitan flair about it. The Towns of Brooks and Woolsey, in the southern portion of Fayette County, are more pastoral and most residences are on large tracts of five acres or more. The Town of Tyrone, in the northeast part of the County, home to about 3,800 people, is a blend of rural but busy surroundings anchored by a small business district.
The Fayette County Government provides a full range of services to its citizens. These services include police and fire protection, emergency medical services, court systems, library services, the construction and maintenance of roadways and infrastructure, tax assessment and collection, planning, zoning and land use management, recreational activities and cultural events, and inherent administrative and support activities. The reason that the majority of these services are provided by the County is that State statutes affix fiscal responsibility for the delivery of public services at the local level to the county government. However, in keeping with the provisions of their individual charters, the cities and towns within Fayette County have chosen to augment some of the above services to their citizens as part of their municipal government operations. Information about services can be found elsewhere on this site by visiting our County Departments page.
Fayette County also operates a potable water distribution system. The Fayette County Water System was established in 1966 and serves approximately 28,000 customers in the unincorporated areas of the County as well as providing water to the City of Peachtree City and the Towns of Tyrone, Woolsey and Brooks. The Water System also wholesales water to the City of Fayetteville.
The governing authority of Fayette County is a Board of Commissioners, consisting of five elected members. The Commissioners serve on a part-time basis and are elected to staggered terms of four years. While all five County Commissioners are elected at-large, three must reside in different districts within the County. At the Commissioners first meeting each calendar year, the Commission Chair and Vice Chair are selected by the Board. In their policy making capacity as prescribed by law, the Board of Commissioners is authorized to perform certain functions. The law says the County Commission has "original and exclusive jurisdiction"
The language in the laws pertaining to counties seems perhaps outdated and not entirely applicable to our county. These laws were written for all counties in Georgia and have a broad application, and in fact, many of them are decades old, as one can tell by the use of certain terms.
In Fayette County and many others, the Board of Commissioners appoints a County Administrator. The County Administrator is responsible for the daily operations of all County functions in accordance with the policies of the Board of Commissioners and other legal statutes that may place responsibility for certain activities under the control of another County Official (Constitutional Officer). All county employees, with the exception of those who work for one of these Officers, fall under the direction of the County Administrator. Information about the duties and responsibilities of the Board of Commissioners and the County Administrator can be found elsewhere on this site.
Fayette County, considered the “Pearl of Metropolitan Atlanta’s Southern Crescent Region”, has experienced unprecedented growth for almost four decades -- growth which transformed this once struggling, rural community, into a premier, suburban community with a very much sought-after “quality of life”.
Fayette's proximity to the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is credited as the catalyst for its dynamic growth that began more than three decades ago. Once the success and viability of "Hartsfield Airport" as an international hub seemed certain, its impact began to be felt. Expansion of the Airport and development of dozens of auxiliary businesses began. A proliferation of job opportunities for workers of all types, at every level, soon began and would continue for several years. The almost urgent need for workers brought families to the region from communities near and far, along with, naturally, a demand for housing. The lack of suitable residential development in the area immediately surrounding the Airport -- which was already densely populated and saturated with commercial and industrial development -- would cause these newcomers to seek out more desirable communities in which to establish their homes. Rural but pristine Fayette County, uncrowded, undisturbed, easily accessible, and with very low land costs and low taxes, was soon recognized as the perfect environment in which to locate. Thus began the migration.
Curiously however, in the late 1950's, in Fayette County there had been a handful of insightful individuals who anticipated the impact the expansion of the Airport and its auxiliary uses would have on their community. Insisting that change was eminent and that a surge of new construction would eventually begin in order to accommodate the needs of an expanding population, this small but courageous group carefully introduced the concept of housing/building codes and zoning standards into the community. It was their hope that codes and regulations would ensure new structures would be built in some semblance of order throughout the county. Building codes would ensure safer, sounder structures, built to a level of quality improved over what poor Fayette County had maintained in the past.
Subsequently, as a result of the persistent efforts of this small group, Fayette County adopted its first building codes and zoning regulations in 1959 and '60. Such laws, at that time, were almost unheard of in rural Georgia, particularly in areas as poor and undeveloped as Fayette County. But these regulations would be the first steps in the County's journey toward becoming a first-class community and would be followed by an evolution of codes and ordinances that would be used to regulate future development and growth. Needless to say, however, old-time Fayette Countians, rich and poor, were resentful of the government's interference into their rights to the use of their property and were resistant to the changes imposed upon them. The onslaught of "outsiders", with different ideas and philosophies, created even greater strife for the natives. It would take years for attitudes to change.
Though the influx of "outsiders" was accurately forecast, what was not readily anticipated was the number of long-time residents and local businesses that would leave the neighborhoods near the Airport. Not only did Airport expansion require the acquisition of countless home and business sites, many began to feel a need to escape what they considered negative changes in their environment, including traffic congestion, air pollution, noise pollution, increased crime, declining schools, and poor zoning and land use management by local officials. So they fled and most it seems, came to Fayette County. Interestingly but not surprisingly, this particular group brought with them a dogged determination and personal commitment to never again be forced to relocate because of a decline in property values or a deterioration of their overall quality of life. This particular group would prove to be a key element, perhaps the strongest, in the implementation of strict zoning and land use regulations in Fayette County. Public offices and other leadership roles in the community quickly began to be filled by folks from this group who, of course, were determined to support measures that would hopefully minimize the negative effects of growth. Over the years, this attitude has manifested itself primarily through the adoption of strict zoning, land use, and development regulations.
Rightly or wrongly, a fear of "urban pollution" suppressed the concept of economic development in Fayette County in the 1970's and 80's, resulting in it becoming a "bedroom" community. Fayette residents seemed perfectly content to commute to other areas to work and to return to their undisturbed neighborhoods at the end of the day. They were not yet convinced that diversification of the County's tax base could result in lower property taxes, and frankly, voiced a strong willingness to pay higher taxes in order to minimize commercial and industrial growth. A change in thinking about the benefits of economic development did not begin until the early 90's arrived and are still debated today in some circles.
Aside from Fayette County's proximity to the Airport and to Downtown Atlanta, the other major factor in Fayette County's metamorphosis has been the birth and development of Peachtree City. One of the few really successful planned communities in our nation, Peachtree City always knew what it wanted to be when it grew up. With built-in zoning and development standards, its destiny as a well-balanced community has been reached. A part of that balance was the well-defined, controlled, development of an industrial park that has provided sites for many so-called clean industries. These businesses seem to require an above-average percentage of well-educated, professional employees, most of whom have relocated from other areas around the nation and the world. The final decision of some companies to locate in Peachtree City has been determined in the end, by the fact that Peachtree City and Fayette County are very desirable environments in which to have executives and managers live with their families.
By the early 1970's, Fayette County had begun to grow rapidly and reached a growth rate of 156% between 1970 and 1980. By 1980 its growth rate was astounding, as it established its reputation as a community committed to providing safe neighborhoods, superior schools and leisure activities focused on families and youth. Its large lot developments and country charm enticed many to come. And, of course, its convenience to Downtown Atlanta has certainly been a major attraction. Viewed as a clean, conservative, affluent community, Fayette County has managed to retain a" hometown" flavor and a low crime rate. Its popular public safety agencies have become models for other communities in the region, the state and the nation. At times, Fayette has recorded Georgias highest per capita income. "Quality" became defined as the serene and restorative lifestyle one could find in Fayette County.
By the time the 90's arrived, Fayette County's transition into a first-class community had earned regional and national recognition. For four consecutive years, Georgia Trend Magazine named Fayette as the "Blue Chip County" of the Atlanta region. American Demographics Magazine identified it as Americas Hottest County and later as one of "America's Most Comfortable Counties". The Wall Street Journal named Fayette County as one of the nations most attractive communities for corporate and family relocation. Accolades and recognition as a successful community continue as the years pass. Other jurisdictions have often used Fayette County's government services, policies, and ordinances as models for improving their own communities. One neighboring county to the south of Fayette has aimed itself toward becoming "the next Fayette County".
As the first decade of the 21st Century has come and gone, the County's population approaches 108,000. While it is no surprise that a main focus of concern felt by most Fayette Countians remains those issues related to growth, there are now new concerns for the community. For the first time in decades, the downturn in the national economy is being felt in Fayette County as well. Because the construction industry and those who provide ancillary goods and services have been solid contributors to the local economy in and around Fayette County for the past forty years, the loss of work by those in the construction business, from realtors to sub-contractors to materials suppliers, is having an impact on Fayette's local economy. Likewise, many who commute to work in and around Atlanta have experienced job loss or other forms of financial distress. Recognizing that Fayette County is still more fiscally sound than many other communities, local business and government leaders are working hard to ensure Fayette County remains a viable, desirable community, moving forward toward recovery and restoration.
Though growth has slowed, it is still occurring and most expect the community to continue to grow. Much effort and many resources go into the process of managing growth and change. Though some claim that Fayette's growth has not been "managed" growth and that little or no planning has occurred, think back to 1959 and '60 when it all began. After all, when you really think about it, it is no accident that something has made Fayette County the place so many of us have chosen to live.
So without further dissecting all the factors that have contributed to Fayette Countys evolvement into a premier suburban community, it is sufficient to say that it is indeed the place many want to be. The blend of the old and the new has made Fayette County a delightful place to call home . . . and we're glad you're here.
Prepared by Carol Chandler
Fayette County Administration
140 Stonewall Avenue West
Fayetteville, Georgia 30214