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Zoning decision leads to lawsuit

Retail site owner questions fairness

POSTED: February 24, 2013 12:30 a.m.

The owner of Little Mill Station plans to appeal the Forsyth County commission’s decision to deny zoning condition changes for the shopping center on Browns Bridge Road.

Commissioners on Thursday approved the documents required before the lawsuit can be filed in the Forsyth County Superior Court.

In a unanimous vote on Feb. 7, the commission denied the requests from the property owner to modify three zoning conditions following a public hearing that drew resident opposition.

The owning companies, 6730 Browns Bridge Road LLC and 6780 Browns Bridge Road LLC, sought to amend conditions that prohibited alcohol, restaurants with a drive-up window and an entrance to the property from Little Mill Road in northeastern Forsyth.

Attorney Ethan Underwood said his client decided to appeal the decision because the denial doesn’t allow “Constitutional use” of the site.

“The [commercially zoned] property directly across the street has the ability to access certain rights of way and to be able to sell alcohol,” Underwood said. “Our client has been damaged because he had a contract with a pizza shop that wanted the ability to sell beer and wine, and they’re not being treated equally.”

The retail center, which was purchased by the current owner in May, has one tenant, a Subway restaurant.

During the public hearing earlier in the month, neighboring residents said the original 1996 zoning conditions were enacted to maintain the area's character and promote quality development.

They also expressed traffic safety concerns with using Little Mill Road as an access way.

The complaint for the lawsuit must be filed within 30 days of the commission’s decision.

Commissioners on Thursday approved the certiorari bond amount of $300 to be paid by the applicant to cover court fees, as well as a statement affirming that the appellant has paid all costs owed to date.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said approval of those documents is a required part of the process “by which an aggrieved applicant appeals a matter from the board of commissioners to the Superior Court.”

The $300 bond is needed to cover only court fees, since the appellant is seeking to have the decision reversed but not monetary damages.


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