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Residential rezonings on rise in south Forsyth
Requests continue for new subdivisions
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Forsyth County News

In the continuation of a recent trend, the Forsyth County planning board on Tuesday approved rezonings for two new subdivisions in south Forsyth.

The board voted 5-0 to recommend rezoning a nearly 68-acre property from commercial and office to single family residential, or Res-4, for 163 homes set off of Peachtree Parkway.

Also approved in a unanimous vote was Brookwood Properties’ request to rezone about 10.5 acres from agricultural to multi-family residential, or Res-6.

Plans for the site on Mathis Airport Parkway call for 23 detached homes with a 2.18 density. It would join neighboring Res-6 parcels for the full subdivision of 135 homes over about 40 acres.

The subdivision would border the existing Avington development and a site proposed for a future Walmart, creating a buffer between the two.

Both requests move on the county commission for final approval.

For the Peachtree Parkway proposal, Ashton Atlanta Residential requested rezoning the site, which had been designated for commercial in 1998.

Attorney Josh Scoggins said homes there are expected to sell in the $300,000 to $500,000 range.

“We feel this is a tremendous improvement over what’s currently approved, which is office, institution and commercial uses,” he said. “We feel this will be a benefit to the adjacent subdivisions.”

The residents of neighboring Deerlake and Bridle Ridge subdivisions were largely in favor of homes instead of commercial development, but continue to work with the developer on acceptable conditions.

Both sides hope to have the concerns with landscaping and buffer requirements agreed upon by the county commission meeting Jan. 17, when the plan likely will come up for a vote.

The developer has agreed to a condition that the minimum lot size would be 8,000 square feet, an increase from the 6,000-square-foot minimum required in the Res-4 zoning.

Some south Forsyth residents, however, spoke against a residential rezoning that they felt would be a detriment to the area and the county’s tax base.

Christian Kelly, who lives in Deerlake, said the high density of the subdivision would depress the value of the neighboring homes.

The new subdivision is proposed at about 2.4 homes per acre, which is about the same as Bridle Ridge, but more than the density of about 1.8 in Deerlake.

“It’s so important as the market starts to rebound that we bridle this growth and make sure that the surrounding communities have similar amenities, similar lot size and are positive and accent what’s there now,” Kelly said.

Kirk Wintersteen said it would be a step back for the county to rezone a commercial property to residential.

“We need commercial business out here to diversify our tax base,” Wintersteen said.

Adding more homes would only strain the tax burden on existing homeowners, he said.

The district’s planning board member, Pam Livesay, agreed that the county needs that business balance, but said the panel reviews each rezoning on an individual basis.

In this case, she said, the neighbors and the applicant favor residential.