SOUTH FORSYTH — The fate of Forsyth’s only airport may have been sealed Thursday night when county commissioners approved the rezoning of that site to allow for construction of a subdivision.
Despite the local planning board’s recommendation to deny the project, commissioners voted 5-0 for the rezoning from agricultural to Residential 2 of the Mathis Airport property.
Under the Res 2 zoning, just two homes can be constructed on each acre of the property.
The owners had originally proposed a rezoning to Res 4 for construction of 66 townhomes, but changed it in July due to community concerns.
They also agreed to make the neighborhood “age-restricted,” meaning homeowners would have to be over a certain age. That change was made in response to concerns about crowding at area schools.
However, the motion approved Thursday approved the development as a non-age-restricted Res 2 development.
During a public hearing on the matter in July, several neighbors expressed displeasure at the plan.
“I do not think Res3 works for this area,” Dennis Pigg said. “I’ve got 16 acres and the house right next to me has 5 acres, the house behind me has got 5 acres.
“I don’t understand why [Ethan Underwood, attorney for the property owners] keeps saying everything around this has that kind of density. It does not have that kind of density.”
Another neighbor, Marilyn Cheek, said that most of the subdivisions in the immediate area, including Laurel Springs and Hunter’s Run, are against Res3 zonings in the area.
“It looks like the majority of people [in this area] have spoken out against [them],” she said.
Some people also have said they would like to keep the property an airport.
“We own the hangers, we lease the land,” said Victor Yarborough, during the July public hearing. “Obviously, we’d like to see it remain an airport. If this goes away, there’s no good alternative for us in the county. This is the only airport.
“It’s been an airport for 40 years. It’s not a real active airport … you can’t fly twin-engine airplanes in there or jet airplanes. It’s just a good country airport and we’d like to see it remain that way.”
Despite the previous concerns and a group of people who showed up Thursday wearing signs stating “Save Mathis Airport,” Commissioner Brian Tam made a motion to the approve the rezoning with a long list of conditions. Tam represents District 2, in which the property lies.
Among those conditions are underground utilities and connection to county sewer, as well as protection and restoration of the historic Anglin family cemetery on the property. That site will then be maintained by the future homeowners’ association.