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County settles suit over 2010 rezoning

POSTED: September 9, 2012 12:30 a.m.

Forsyth County settled a lawsuit over a 2010 zoning during a meeting Thursday.

Commissioners voted 4-0, with Pete Amos recused, to approve the settlement agreement with the James S. Mashburn Trust and Mashburn Farms, which own a 228-acre property north of the county’s co-defendant, Buckhorn Ventures.

Amos recused himself because his wife is a member of the trust.

The parties filed suit after county commissioners rezoned the 115-acre Buckhorn site in December 2010 for a planned eco-industrial park on Leland Drive.

In addition to sand manufacturing, the concept plan for the park includes buildings for other industries interested in environmentally-minded opportunities.

That rezoning, from agricultural to heavy industrial, was part of a settlement agreement with Buckhorn.

On Thursday, commissioners approved a county-initiated rezoning request for the Mashburn Trust property to change from Residential-4 to Residential-6, which would allow for multifamily housing.

The rezoning was also a condition of settlement.

One of the reasons for the suit was “due to the uncertainty of uses that was going to occur on the Buckhorn tract,” Forsyth County Attorney Ken Jarrard said.

“Their development, as it existed in 2010, literally had development on the bluff looking right down into the Buckhorn footprint,” Jarrard said. “The intensity or uncertainty of what ultimately would take place on the Buckhorn site could detrimentally impact their property values, and that’s why they chose to litigate.”

The rezoning allows the future homes to move away from the cliff and toward the interior, where the neighboring site would be out of view, he said.

The settlement was signed by the trust and the neighboring property owner prior to the meeting.

“We can fully and finally resolve these claims that have been pending for some time,” Jarrard said.

Commissioners launched the county-initiated rezoning process in April, but Jarrard said they were “under no obligation” to deem the zoning appropriate.

No one spoke during the public hearing to rezone the property, and commissioners approved the change in a 4-0 vote.

According to the agreement, the conditions with the rezoning include no guarantee of sewer capacity, a requirement to dedicate 30 feet of right of way on Smith Drive and any sewer lines installed for the development must be “size to serve the entire basin.”


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