Also during its meeting Tuesday, the Forsyth County Zoning Board of Appeals:
* Postponed a decision on whether to eliminate a landscape buffer for a property in the Brandon Hall subdivision, where the owner removed all of his trees due to a pine beetle infestation.
The board advised him to return with a landscaping plan to replace some of the buffer.
Board member Bettina Hammond opposed the delay in the 4-1 vote.
* Approved several variances for a homeowner in the Driftwood subdivision to rebuild a house destroyed by fire.
According to county code, if more than 50 percent of a structure is destroyed, grandfathered provisions are lost, which required the property owner to obtain the variances for a new home with the same footprint.
Note: All votes were 5-0 unless otherwise noted.
-- Alyssa LaRenzie
A Forsyth County billboard owner is undertaking some unusual measures to keep a sign on Buford Highway.
The county sign ordinance prohibits new billboards, but allows existing ones to stay under the same conditions.
According to Josh Scoggins, an attorney representing the owner, those conditions changed for CCM LP in March when the state Department of Transportation took land under condemnation proceedings to widen the highway.
The small land strip east of Pruitt Road has to remain the same size for the billboard to be legally grandfathered, Scoggins said, so the owner purchased land equal to the taking to recreate that plot.
“All we’re trying to do is basically reacquire what was already there,” he said.
The changes set off a chain of county requirements, the first of which was obtaining a lot width variance from the Forsyth County Zoning Board of Appeals.
The board voted 5-0 on Tuesday night to allow the variance making the lot 26 feet wide instead of the required 60 feet for a commercial property.
An added condition prevents any structures from being built on the site, which Scoggins explained is the reason behind the lot width requirement.
The owner is still pending approval of a minor plat for the .02-acre site and a sign permit review to replace the billboard.
The DOT is preparing to widen Buford Highway, also known as Hwy. 20, between Forsyth and Gwinnett counties.
Half of the road widening is set for east Forsyth and the other half in western Gwinnett.
The first project will covert nearly 1.1 miles of the route to a four-lane divided highway from Ruth Lane in Forsyth to east of Riverside Road in Gwinnett.
It also includes construction of two parallel bridges over the Chattahoochee River, which serves as the county line.
The other project — widening about 4 miles of Hwy. 20, from the river to Peachtree Industrial Boulevard — will happen in Gwinnett.