EAST FORSYTH — A potential subsidized housing development in east Forsyth that may seek state and federal grants has caused a stir with local groups.
The Highway 20 East Overlay Committee, a group that is reviewing a possible overlay for the Buford Highway corridor east of Cumming, discussed the project during its meeting Wednesday night.
The issue of multi-family housing arose as the members were deciding what to include in the overlay.
Member Steve Kirby said it would be difficult to not allow multi-family units due to the property’s zoning from 1986, which allows for such use.
“The parcel that is zoned behind my house is for multi-family, so it’s going to be hard to say no multi-family when they have existing zoning,” he said.
During a county commission work session last week, it was announced that Abbington at Haw Creek had contacted the Georgia Department of Community Affairs to seek state tax credits for affordable housing. The property is also reportedly pursuing U.S. Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, tax credits.
The commission was scheduled to hold public hearing on the issue Thursday night. Any comments will be used in a response letter to the DCA, which can choose whether to use them.
The site in question had previously been proposed for use as a car dealership, but the deal fell through after neighbors complained.
Committee member Allyssa Barbour echoed Kirby’s sentiment, saying the zoning was out of the county’s hands.
“Where some of this is coming down is from HUD, from the federal government,” she said “They’ve changed standards. They’re pushing it down to the state and the state is pushing it down to the county, so that is not something that we all are going to be able to change.”
While the property is zoned for multi-family, Kirby said the county should focus on making sure the development is not entirely subsided housing.
“They are calling for 100 percent of the units to be subsidized, and we don’t want 100 percent,” Kirby said. “The goal of these tax credits is said that they will merge income types, income levels. So if you do it all subsidized, you’re not getting any merging there, you’re just getting low income.”
During the meeting, the committee also decided to schedule an additional meeting to continue to work on the proposed overlay before presenting it to the commission.