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Neighbors weigh in on site for new school
Rezoning moves to county commission
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Forsyth County News


Neighbors of a planned elementary school in southwestern Forsyth had their concerns heard by the county’s planning board, which has recommended some changes to the site.

Elementary School No. 14 could be built on about 27 acres off Martin Drive near Hwy. 9. The school board’s purchase of the land is pending the county commission rezoning the property to residential from commercial and office/industrial.

At a recent public hearing, the planning board added some conditions after hearing from nearby residents, who live primarily in the adjacent St. Claire town homes.

“This is an unusual situation in Forsyth County,” said St. Claire resident Lin Christiansen. “Normally, you don’t have that many homeowners right up abutting that closely to the school.”

Like all four residents who spoke at the hearing, Christiansen hoped the easement from her backyard to the school would be extended.

The planning board added a condition that the east line, shared with the subdivision, will have a 50-foot buffer. It then voted 5-0 to recommend approval of the change in zoning.

The recommendation next goes to the county commissioners, who could decide the matter on Jan. 6.

The planning board also granted a parking variance to allow the 231 parking spaces requested to accommodate school staff and visitors.

The school’s primary goal is to relieve overcrowding at Midway Elementary, which school system facilities planner Tim Amerson said is 20 percent above capacity.

In addition to seeking a longer buffer, neighbor Jay Seitz said he hoped the common boundary would feature landscaping to block the parking lot and car line from his view.

“I just have visions of minivans lined up across my living room window,” Seitz said.

Plans for the school do include landscape buffers, which Amerson said are typically filled with evergreen trees and shrubs.

Christiansen said neighbors are divided over a sidewalk into the St. Claire neighborhood.

At her suggestion, the planning board added a condition that would allow for the sidewalk to be extended in the future, if residents decide they want it.