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Forsyth County extends ban on some residential zonings

CUMMING — Forsyth County’s ban on new zoning applications for three residential categories has been further extended and could possibly last until the end of the year.

Enacted in March, the moratorium was first extended in April. On Thursday night, the county commission voted 4-1, with Chairman Pete Amos opposed, to keep the measure in place for another month and to advertise that it could reach until Dec. 31.

Had the board not taken action during Thursday’s meeting, the moratorium would have expired Saturday. The commission will revisit the situation at its June 3 meeting.

The initial ban prohibited applications for zonings, zoning condition amendments, sketch plat approval and conditional use permits.

The extension in April, and on Thursday, applies only to three single-family residential categories — Res2, Res3 and Res4.

Prior to the vote, Commissioner Todd Levent made a motion that would have extended the moratorium until year’s end. However, he withdrew it after County Attorney Ken Jarrard noted that action couldn’t be taken because the county had advertised only a 30-day extension.

The moratorium was initially put in place to allow the county’s planning and zoning staff to catch up on a backlog of work, and prohibits only new applications. Other work by the department has not been affected.

Vanessa Bernstein-Goldman, the county’s deputy director for planning and community development, said that two employees have been hired since the start of the moratorium, but nine vacancies remain.

“But of those vacancies, we do have two tentative offers [out],” she said. “We are in the process, and we are making progress, but we do still have a few vacancies.”

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 an update to the county’s comprehensive plan, a process that is in its early stages.