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Planning board frowns on south Forsyth subdivision addition

SOUTH FORSYTH — Forsyth County planning board members recommended the county commission deny a proposed addition to a small subdivision in south Forsyth due to concerns over access to the property and its placement within an industrial business park.

Beazer Homes Corp. owns an adjacent site to the south and submitted the rezoning request to add 19 residential lots to a total development of about 15 acres for 40 lots.

The site, which is off Old Alpharetta Road in The Meadows business park, totals about 8 acres and is currently zoned as restricted industrial district, or M1. The application asks for a single-family residential district Res-4 zoning.

County planning staff issued a non-supportive report to the board due to the scarcity of undeveloped industrial property and the perceived burdens associated with residential land. Those include more traffic and further crowding of schools.

Representatives from the homeowners association at Shiloh Farms, the neighborhood across Pine Grove Road to the north of the property, said during a public hearing for the application Tuesday they think the site should remain industrial.

Proponents for the rezoning, including the property’s current owner, the nonprofit No Longer Bound, said the landlocked nature of the site made it the best option.

Edward Bailey, executive director of the nonprofit residential program for men overcoming addiction, said a rezoning would bring the county additional funding since nonprofits typically don’t pay property taxes.

He noted connecting the property to the south-bordering subdivision would allow access, as the site is bordered by developments on three sides, including No Longer Bound to the west.

The nonprofit sold the property to the application’s north, which is being developed as office and manufacturing businesses.

Ken Jarrard, a local attorney who represents Forsyth County, said while No Longer Bound is an asset to the county and its residents, the planning board cannot consider economic yield to the landowner in a rezoning request. Instead, it must consider only whether the rezoning would be “good land use and policy.”

The 3-1 recommendation to deny, with District 1 planning member Rusty Whitlow dissenting, will be sent as a recommendation to the county commission, which is expected to hear the request May 5.

After the public hearing, and while the planning board continued the remainder of its monthly meeting, the District 2 subarea planning board met to schedule a subsequent meeting April 19, at which it aims to determine an alternate recommendation.