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Planning board nixes north Forsyth overlay

Other action

Also during Tuesday’s monthly public hearing, the Forsyth County planning board:

* Removed tie-breaking, voting power on the District 2 subarea planning board from the District 2 county commissioner, who chairs the panel. Current District 2 Commissioner Brian Tam requested the action

* Note: All votes, unless otherwise noted, are unanimous. Planning board votes serve as recommendations to the county commission.


-- Kayla Robins

NORTH FORSYTH — A proposed overlay district in north Forsyth has been shelved by the Forsyth County planning board after those involved in creating the code changes agreed staff constraints and poor timing would be obstacles.

The North Forsyth Overlay District was spearheaded by District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills in an attempt to create a cohesive plan in her section of the county that would hold builders to higher aesthetic standards.

The unanimous vote — 4-0 with the District 3 seat vacant — recommended to county commissioners that the proposal be tabled at the planning board’s monthly public hearing Tuesday until it is deemed needed again.

Postponing an agenda item indicates it will reappear in an imminent meeting, while tabling an item is indefinite and requires it to be re-advertised at a later date.

According to Tom Brown, director of the county’s planning and community development department, the request for his staff to draft changes to the county’s unified development code stemmed from two factors. Those included the approval of a Walmart in north Forsyth and the $200 million transportation bond voters passed in November 2014.

As they began working on the draft, however, staff changes resulted in a lack of manpower to meet the project’s needs, Brown said.

The county commission declared its intention Tuesday to refrain from starting any code changes for up to 120 days due to staffing issues, said Ken Jarrard, attorney for the county.

Another main reason those involved pushed for the proposal to be tabled was that the county is in the process of updating its comprehensive plan. That new guide to growth is expected to take effect at the beginning of next year, Mills said.

The plan may address the aim of the proposed overlay without needing to change the code again. If it doesn’t, she said, the proposal could be brought back when the missing parts were identified.