NORTH FORSYTH — Walmart has revived plans to build a supercenter off Browns Bridge Road in north Forsyth and is asking the county to put in a traffic signal at the entrance.
The retailer secured zoning for the store in 2003. During a recent work session, the county commission approved the signal request in a 4-0 vote with Commissioner Todd Levent absent.
According to county zoning documents, the new light will be at the store’s entrance between Bridgetown Drive and Ga. 400 on Brown Bridge Road, also known as Hwy. 369, near the Coal Mountain community.
Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, in whose District 4 the new store will fall, attributed the project’s 12-year holdup to the economic downturn of a few years ago.
“I understand through staff and through other people, it just didn’t go through because of the decline in the economy, because of the recession,” she said.
Though the new Walmart has been in the works for more than a decade, it could be built and opened relatively quickly.
“Staff just told me that they thought they were around two weeks away from being able to get their permits,” Mills said. “They also said that they would be opening the store at some time in 2016, but they did not tell me the date.”
Since the zoning was secured so long ago, Mills said, plans for the store do not need to go back before the county commission.
“Absolutely all conditions, all permitting, everything has already been done, so I don’t get to have a say in it,” she said.
The exact size and features of the retail center could not be determined Tuesday.
Mills said increased traffic likely will be an issue in the area until the road improvements that voters approved as part of last year’s $200 million transportation bond referendum are completed.
“Thank goodness for the interchange that is coming at Hwy. 369 [and Ga. 400], those intersection improvements at Hwy. 369 and Hwy. 9 and at Hwy. 369 and Hwy. 306 are all important for what is coming in the future,” she said.
“I wish that those were already done ahead of Walmart coming, but at least we know they’re coming in the near future.”
Mills said that the county was about three months in to the 18-month design phase for the projects she mentioned, adding that the roadwork would then take about two years to complete.