FORSYTH COUNTY — The moratorium on zoning applications in Forsyth County that was put in place last month will continue for some categories.
The Forsyth County commission voted 4-1 last week, with Commissioner Jim Boff opposed, to extend until May 6 the ban on accepting applications for rezoning, zoning condition amendments, sketch plat approval and conditional use permits for three single-family residential categories: Res2, Res3 and Res4.
First approved March 3, the moratorium was intended to give the county’s department of planning and community development an opportunity to catch up on a backlog of work.
Director Tom Brown said one new employee had started and a second would soon do so, but that the department was still losing staff.
“We’ve made some progress since the last time we discussed this. We’ve also, unfortunately, had some setbacks,” Brown said. “Since the moratorium started, we have unfortunately one applicant that didn’t show up… and we’ve also had two resignations.”
According to Brown, changes to the county’s pay schedule had eased the hiring process. He added that the county likely will see more residential zoning applications after commissioners approved changes to the impact fee structure earlier Thursday night.
“It’s my opinion that for a long time, a lot of land deals have kind of been in limbo as people have waited to see how updates to the impact fee ordinance will lay out,” he said.
“Now that that is starting to settle down, I anticipate that we’re going to start seeing more residential applications.”
Prior to the vote, Commissioner Brian Tam said he didn’t want to see the county turning away businesses, especially since the discussion came after the decision not to implement road impact fees for non-residential developments.
“I don’t want to see us turn away commercial zoning applications,” Tam said. “The previous agenda item [on impact fees] is to trying to incentivize commercial development in our county, but — oh by the way — we won’t accept your application. That doesn’t make sense.”
Commissioners will revisit the moratorium during their May 5 meeting, though County Attorney Ken Jarrard noted they could vote to end it at any time.
Zoning applications will still be accepted for other zoning categories, and zonings in any category can be handled if they are county-initiated.
The county has had a moratorium in place on Res6 zonings — town houses, low-density apartments and condominiums — since September.
That moratorium will be lifted within 60 days of the completion of the county’s comprehensive plan, a process that is in its early stages.
A motion by Boff to continue the zoning application moratorium as previously established was discussed but failed to get a second.