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Possible cap on building permits aired in Forsyth County
Commission looks at ways for managing growth

FORSYTH COUNTY — In a nod to complaints about rapid residential growth in Forsyth, the county commission is considering options for limiting development, including a possible cap on building permits.

During a work session Tuesday, commissioners discussed whether to limit the number of building permits, primarily for developers of single family residential properties, though no action was taken.

“I know the board is concerned about development,” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said. “I know the board wants to look at options and be creative, and so that’s what’s set us on this path of could we do some sort of a building permit review, building permit prohibition or what have you.”

Among the possibilities are limiting permits by districts or altogether, in the form of a moratorium.

“The number of… residential building permits issued in 2014 would be a very useful tool to have, but I’ve got to tell you, I think breaking it down into district would be important,” Jarrard said.

“That might then give us a way to further focus this sort of a remedy, if you will, to know whether we want to do maybe an infrastructure review on a certain number of permits … or whether we want to do something else. But not all portions of the county are experiencing growth the same.”

Jarrard said the discussion was an opportunity to see what issues the commission wanted to discuss to avoid pursuing the wrong ones.

“This is an item that has been postponed a lot and for a variety of reasons it’s been postponed,” he said. “What I do want to do is, when we come back to the board, the first question you ask me I don’t say, ‘We need to go research that.’ Let me go research and take a month on it. ’”

Talk Tuesday ranged on what measures could be taken to prevent a developer with enough money from getting all of the permits and looking into other areas that have put in similar restrictions.

Commissioner Jim Boff brought up the point that building could seem especially heavy now due to the economic downturn.

“I think that’s a large chunk of what we’re facing with people who are upset,” he said. “It’s not just that we did or didn’t rezone too much recently, it’s that we kind of went underground with the economy and now it’s coming online.

“You drive down the street and you see three subdivisions going in, maybe only one of which has been zoned in the last three years, but the other three were zoned in 2008 let’s say.”