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Limit on model homes could be relaxed

FORSYTH COUNTY — A proposed change to Forsyth County’s unified development code could remove the limit on model homes in subdivisions.

“Right now, we give one model home for every 40 houses built in a neighborhood with a maximum of five,” explained Tom Brown, the county’s planning and development director.

“The direction [we] got from the commissioners at [a recent] work session was to bring back a draft that would eliminate that cap.”

The change was brought up by Commissioner Todd Levent, who had been contacted by a developer in his district whose subdivision had sold all of its model homes during the economic downturn.

“Now you have a particular subdivision, which is the Vickery, a large subdivision, and went through the bankruptcy,” Levent said. “And now, all the model homes that were built during that time … have recently gone through bankruptcy and sold out. All the model homes they’re allowed to have are sold.

“Now they’re not allowed to have model homes prior to the platting,” he said. “They would like to have another one.”

Brown noted that the change would require two public hearings before it could be adopted, adding that one “would take place at the planning [board], the other … at the [commission].”

Model homes are built by developers to show potential buyers what its homes look like, and allow them to get building permits before the neighborhood is built.

“For our unified development code, we have a provision about model homes, and what it basically allows is a builder to obtain a building permit prior to recording the final plat for the neighborhood,” Brown said. “For a typical home, you can’t pull your building permit until the final plat is recorded and all the lots are created.”

After being built, most model homes are used as offices until they are eventually converted to regular homes

 “They usually build one of their standard homes, but they’ll take the garage and make it into a sales office,” Brown said. “Once they’re done with it from a sales standpoint, they’ll then finish up the inspection process with us, and do the inspections and do the work to convert that model into a standard dwelling unit.”