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Planning board reviews proposed expansion of The Collection at Forsyth

Other action

Also during its work session Tuesday, Forsyth County’s planning board:

* Discussed the proposed District 2 Subarea Planning Commission with County Attorney Ken Jarrard.

There have been no changes in details or sentiment since the county commission’s called meeting regarding the proposal to initiate a temporary second recommending body for planning and zoning applications in south Forsyth.

* Postponed an application from 58NW LLC to rezone 56 acres of single family residential Res-3 district in north Forsyth to a less dense Res-2 for 65 lots at 1.16 units per acre, citing a failure to submit the public participation report.

* Considered adding a condition to incentivize applicant Ridge 19 LLC to first build the commercial portion of a proposed 29 acres it wants to rezone from restricted industrial district, or M1, to master planned district off Ga. 400 in north Forsyth.

Plans also call for 97 residential lots at 3.3 units per acre and 24,000 square feet of commercial retail with 131 parking spaces.

* Continued to work out details on a proposed mega-Kroger at Bethelview and Castleberry roads, including pushing some parking to the side of the nearly 27-acre site, which would include a 141,930-square-foot building with outparcels and 658 parking spaces.

* Indicated it wanted to postpone a request from Vickery Real Estate LLC to rezone nearly 5 acres of agricultural district, or A1, to office and institutional district, or O&I.

The request includes a conditional use permit for an 84-unit assisted living facility with a density of about 17.1 units per acre in an about 76,000-square foot building with 57 parking spaces on Post Road between Vickery Creek elementary and middle schools and the Vickery subdivision.


-- Kayla Robins

SOUTH FORSYTH — Forsyth County’s planning board encountered some roadblocks Tuesday as it discussed the proposed expansion and transformation of The Collection at Forsyth into a mixed-used development with on-site apartments and live-work-play space.

Parking received the most attention as the board reviewed the proposed South Forsyth Lifestyle Center Overlay District required for the project to proceed.

If approved, the project would include about 300 one- and two-bedroom apartments geared toward the county’s growing millennial and senior populations, an amphitheater, an outdoor park/fairgrounds and possibly more restaurants and retail space.

The overlay draft, however, does not detail or require any additional parking spaces.

“As a community, we want The Collection to be as successful as it can be. But if parking is an issue, that’s not going to help that [happen],” said Jayne Iglesias, the board member for south Forsyth’s District 2.

She proposed centralizing housing within the existing businesses. In addition, developers could push parking to the outskirts of the site in an effort to encourage a truer sense of mixed-use, in which residents and visitors would be more inclined to walk throughout the expanse.

The Collection opened in 2008 off Peachtree Parkway (Hwy. 141) and Ronald Reagan Boulevard near Ga. 400 at Exit 13. Its current owner, Core Property Capital, has since bought the development and did not have a hand in its design.

Ethan Underwood, an attorney who is representing the applicant, said it asked for the overlay because a rezoning request for a Master Planned District would require a variance that has never been brought to the planning board.

The property is currently zoned commercial business district.

As proposed, the overlay is required because a rezoning category does not exist for the desired density of six units per acre, which would be applied to the entire 63-acre overlay, including both new and existing developments.

The mall and expansion would continue to comply with the Peachtree Parkway Overlay District.

Since the density does not lend itself to a rezoning request, Core Property Capital is seeking the overlay, which requires a change in the county’s unified development code, or regulations and restrictions for planning and zoning.

Seeing these high-density apartments break ground likely would surprise residents who know there is a moratorium on zonings for Res-6, the county’s highest-density housing category.

Iglesias said since there is no rezoning application, there are no signs on the property indicating the potential expansion.

Board members agreed gathering more public input may be beneficial to the process.

Underwood said he and the property owners have been working with stakeholders and neighbors since January and are open to continuing the process if needed.

Alan Neal, District 4 representative, was recused from the discussion, citing the applicant is a client of his firm.

The talks Tuesday led to the option of postponing the agenda item if procedure allows. Once the board holds a public hearing on the proposed code change, which is scheduled for Tuesday, it has 31 days to make a recommendation to the county commission.

If the public hearing is held Tuesday, that recommendation would be made at the board’s November meeting.