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Planning board denies Lanier Golf zoning add-on for second time

 
POSTED: March 5, 2017 5:00 a.m.

The Forsyth County planning board voted 3-2 Tuesday night to recommend denial of an add-on to a 320-lot rezoning application on Lanier Golf Club in east Forsyth.

The vote was held at a public hearing, where the board heard neighbors urging them to approve the rezoning, which is the last piece the applicant, Lennar Georgia Inc., needs to begin developing a 321-lot subdivision on the golf course.

The Board of Commissioners has already approved the rezoning of the rest of the 166 acres; the application in front of the planning board is to incorporate four outstanding lots — totaling less than 4 acres total — into the concept plan.

The current site plan includes 71 townhomes, 155 single family detached houses and 95 single family residential Res-2 units.

While the subdivision is not contingent upon this smaller space being approved, developers said they would have to rework the original plan to make the layout make sense.

In this application, Lennar asked to rezone from agricultural district, or A1, to master planned district, or MPD, about 3.9 acres and eliminate the commercial component and open space, given the site plan incorporates green space and commercial elsewhere.

Tuesday’s vote has been seen before.

In October, the planning board voted 3-2 to deny the application, though two new board members — Tim Dineen of District 5 and Stacy Guy of District 2 — are now on the board.

They also recommended denying the whole subdivision in October, which the BOC later did not follow and approved the zoning.

At its November meeting, the BOC remanded the application back to the planning board, saying the board was not specific enough with their reasons for denial.

On Tuesday, both new members voted to deny, along with Chairwoman Bettina Hammond of District 4.

Rusty Whitlow, who represents District 1, and Patrick Britt of District 4, voted for approval.

Dineen, whose district the application falls in, said his main concern with the rezoning — and his reason for denial — are based on potential homeowner’s association covenants and whether they apply to the properties up for rezoning.

“This is a thorny issue and [the application] has gone through torture in the past,” Dineen said. “It seems that there remains a question on the part of some about whether these covenants apply or not. The other concern I have is that the zoning in question is an MPD and the variances really negate that.”

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said because of potential issues with covenants, the county’s office hired its own title attorney to check whether the covenants do apply. That attorney agreed with Lennar’s — if covenants do exist, they are not applicable to the properties in question.
Whitlow said he thinks it is time for the BOC to make the ultimate decision.

“I question if this is something that just needs to be decided at the county Board of Commissioners [level],” he said. “It’s their responsibility to sort out the legality of the covenants, and I don’t know if we’re the ones to decide whether covenants apply [or not].

“To me, the Board of Commissioners needs to address this.”

The BOC is expected to vote on the application at its March 16 meeting. The planning board serves as a recommending body to commissioners, who make final decisions on zoning matters.

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