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Large proposed subdivision in south Forsyth to start over
Planning board not notified until morning of hearing

SOUTH FORSYTH — In what came as a surprise Tuesday night to Forsyth’s planning board and neighbors who attended the group’s monthly public hearing for rezoning applications, a proposal that would bring a 286-unit subdivision to south Forsyth was sent back to zoning review.

Sharp Residential LLC asked to submit a new site plan, which is considered a major application change under the county’s unified development code, requiring the application go back to the first step in the process.

The proposal had garnered so much time and work — all it had left was for the planning board to make a recommendation to the county commission, which would make a final decision — that south Forsyth’s planning representative said she felt frustrated she found out about the change the morning of the public hearing.

“While I do agree with the underlying rationale for this procedure and always embrace the public process, it appears disrespectful of the time of all that have participated for the last eight months to decide at the 11th hour to resubmit a plan that may or may not address many of the concerns discussed,” said Jayne Iglesias of District 2, who also chairs the panel.

The application sought to rezone about 103 acres on Shiloh Road just east of Ga. 400 and McFarland Parkway (Exit 12) from restricted industrial district, or M1, to single family residential Res-4 district.

Concerns included the impact the development would have on Brandywine Elementary and DeSana Middle schools, both of which are scheduled to open this fall and are nearing capacity.

Board members also discussed transportation and conservation issues, coming to the conclusion at their work session earlier this month that there was still much to work out.

Iglesias said she will ensure this last-minute change will not become a habit for future applicants, as this will prolong the process by months.

“Please know that I will review your applications fairly and impartially, but please also consider that the time of this board and our fellow citizens is valuable,” Iglesias said in a prepared statement to the applicant and all future proposals. “Volunteers work tirelessly without pay to represent their communities, many of them paying for child care in order to participate in this process.

“Our community is currently undergoing a revision to our comprehensive plan, and it would have been valuable for the citizens that have been so active in this zoning process to have the time to attend our visioning workshops. Please be respectful of the very limited amount of time we all have to spend doing good will and with our families.”

Once a new site plan is submitted, it will be reviewed by the county’s planning staff and be discussed during a public participation meeting.