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Green light for Honda
Sobh to build dealership on Hwy. 141
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Forsyth County News

Plans for a Honda dealership in Forsyth County cleared a final hurdle at Thursday's county commission meeting.

Prior to the 5-0 decision, several residents voiced concern over Sobh Automotive of Cumming's request to rezone 11.8 acres on Peachtree Parkway (Hwy. 141) to commercial business.

Lou Sobh, who owns car dealerships in Conyers, Duluth and Lithia Springs, also weighed in prior to the vote.

"I've been trying to get this done in your county and trying to be a good neighbor," Sobh said. "I'm not asking for the sky."

In the end, rezoning was approved with three variances, or exceptions, on the property.

They include specifications that 69 percent of display vehicles will be visible along Peachtree Parkway; trucks may deliver parts at any time of day or night; and a buffer of 25 feet will join property zoned agricultural or residential.

Resident Michael Smith said granting the variances undermined the county's unified development code.

"If we approve these variances, I'm not sure why we need the UDC," Smith said.

Sobh said he is "trying to bring prosperity and growth to this county."

"If we don't allow new development, we're not going to prosper as a county," he said.

Commissioner Brian Tam thanked Sobh and the community for "their time and their involvement in trying to craft a high-quality commercial development."

"I don't think anybody sitting here got everything they wanted," he said. "But I think in the end, we will have a development will be glad to have."

With a projected opening date of 2010, the dealership could employ between 85 and 100 people at the site, which is not far from the Ga. 400 corridor.

The dealership will feature about 300 new and 100 pre-owned Hondas, with a capacity to house as many as 900 vehicles.