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Road at center of revised mall deal
Developers still have to agree on easement
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Forsyth County News


Changes to an agreement between Forsyth County and a developer planning a large mixed-use development in south Forsyth will no longer be held up by a private easement dispute.

Commissioners ratified an amendment to the county’s deal with Taubman Centers Inc. in a 5-0 vote on Thursday.

Taubman penned a deal with the county in 2008 for a regional mall, office space, hotels and residential units on 164 acres between Union Hill and McFarland roads.

The proposed changes were negotiated in an Oct. 7 special work session.

They hinged on an easement agreement being reached between Taubman and the neighboring Theraldson property on the future Nancy Reagan Drive, which Taubman requested be a private road.

Taubman’s efforts to reach that agreement in a Dec. 27 proposal met the Oct. 7 requirements that commissioners had set in order to make Nancy Reagan Drive private, said County Attorney Ken Jarrard.

“Unfortunately, I do not believe that Taubman and Theraldson have reached accord with respect to what the easement should say,” Jarrard said. “My job, however, is to tell you if what you said has been substantially complied with. On that question, I think Taubman has.”

Commissioner Patrick Bell made a motion to go forward with the Oct. 7 promise that Forsyth County would allow Nancy Reagan Drive to be private.

He added a caveat, however, that if the developers cannot agree, the issue will return to the commissioners on March 1 for a possible condemnation of utility easements necessary to serve development along the road.

After the meeting, Bell said he hoped that would “encourage” the parties to work out the issue.

The inability to reach an agreement has delayed the processing of permits for GIPPER LLC, which recently purchased a portion of Taubman’s property to develop apartments.

Changes to Forsyth County’s agreement with Taubman delayed the latest opening date of the regional mall from 2015 to 2020.

They also pushed back the county’s deadline to reimburse Taubman for right-of-way costs and allowed the developer to purchase a portion of its reserved sewer capacity at a reduced rate.

For each incentive, Taubman issues a letter of credit, stating that it will reimburse the county for those costs if the promised development is not built according to the contract.

In return for changes to the agreement, Taubman offered to extend the county’s deadline for its right-of-way payments.

That deadline was pushed back from Dec. 15, 2012, to Feb. 15, 2013.

If three of the commissioners at that time ratify the agreement, the county will owe half the $2.6 million in February 2013 and half by Dec. 4, 2013.