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Proposed large subdivisions impact on new south Forsyth schools discussed


During a meeting Tuesday, the Forsyth County District 2 subarea planning board voted 3-1, with Bill Fitch Jr. dissenting, to concur with the county planning board’s recommendation to deny a proposal from Beazer Homes Corp. to rezone about 8 acres of restricted industrial district to single family residential Res-4 district for 19 lots off Meadow Lane.


-- Kayla Robins

SOUTH FORSYTH — The county’s planning board is reviewing a proposed rezoning that would bring a 286-unit subdivision to an area of south Forsyth that has been drawn into school zoning maps for the newest campuses.

Sharp Residential LLC is asking to rezone about 103 acres on Shiloh Road just east of Ga. 400 and McFarland Parkway (Exit 12) from restricted industrial district, or M1, to single family residential Res-4 district.

As proposed, the subdivision would include single-family detached homes and pocket parks.

The county’s planning and community development staff issued a report in support of the proposal, citing a completed traffic study and findings deeming it suitable with the surrounding properties.

The land sits within the McFarland-Stoney Point Livable Centers Initiative Character Area, which is a subarea plan the county commission approved in 2006 to receive funding from the Atlanta Regional Commission.

The LCI suggests linking land-use planning with larger transportation options to make communities more livable and desirable.

It stretches from Ga. 400 east to Shiloh and Stoney Point roads from the Forsyth-Fulton County line to Majors Road and encompasses the proposed Ronald Reagan Boulevard extension and Big Creek Greenway.

Communities within the LCI, according to the plan, should be aimed at combining a mix of land uses and high-quality living areas that value accessibility.

At Tuesday’s work session, the planning board determined transportation and other questions they want to ask at next week’s public hearing.

Other issues to surface included potential grading of the heavily wooded land that has “a lot of large hardwood trees” and how the parks on site would be accessible to the street.

A central discussion focused on the impact the subdivision would have on schools.

According to a school impact statement included in the planning staff report, the property is zoned for Brandywine Elementary and DeSana Middle.

As proposed, the neighborhood is expected to send 98 students to Brandywine and 52 to DeSana.

Both schools — they’re located between McFarland, Union Hill Road and Hwy. 9 on the other side of Ga. 400 — are on schedule to open in August.

Brandywine has 990 students who were redistricted to its school zone. Its capacity is 1,125.

Including this proposed subdivision, the current enrollment and seven other previously rezoned properties within the school zone, Brandywine is projected at 122.3 percent of its capacity, though not all rezoned developments will be built at the same time.

If approved, the property is not expected to be built out for two years.

Board members discussed the potential for conditioning development in phases.

With a capacity of 1,025 students, DeSana had 709 redistricted. Including them, this proposal and the same seven previous zonings, the middle school is estimated to be at 102.5 percent capacity.

The property is also zoned for South Forsyth High School, though redistricting for Denmark High — construction is scheduled to begin in time for a 2018 opening — has not yet occurred.

South is currently over capacity by 943 students, according to the impact statement. The proposed subdivision is estimated to add 61 high school students.

After the planning board makes a recommendation at its monthly public hearing April 26, the county commission is expected to vote on the proposal May 19.