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Post Road library on the clock
State funding soon will expire
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Forsyth County News

Other business

Also at Tuesday's work session, Forsyth County commissioners:

• Allotted $90,000 in additional funding to Juvenile Court for its 2010 budget. An overload in cases has left the court with a shortfall. The money will come from general fund reserves, which currently total $12 million.

• Considered modifying the unified development code to remove from their discretion any personnel actions regarding the planning director. Those would instead be shifted to senior staff. The commission then voted to send the proposal to the planning board for a public hearing.

• Approved an agreement between the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office, Sam Schwartz Engineering and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to conduct safety checkpoints. Forsyth is one of two metro Atlanta counties that will participate in a study gathering checkpoint data for three days in October and March. In return, the sheriff's office will receive $30,000 for safety equipment or officer overtime.

• Note: All votes were 5-0.

-- Alyssa LaRenzie

The Forsyth County Public Library is in a "use it or lose it" situation for its proposed fourth branch.

It's not clear where the money to operate a Post Road branch, or even finish its interior, will come from. But the library's design and construction are being funded by a $2 million state grant, which will expire if not used soon.

The county commission reviewed plans for the branch site during its meeting Tuesday.

"The idea was to try to get something going and get a shell up if possible, and then as time went by to fill it in and do the interior," said Chairman Charles Laughinghouse. "The idea was not to let that $2 million grant go away."

The library hopes to have the construction documents completed by spring and will evaluate its construction prospects at that time, said Library Director Jon McDaniel.

Depending on the money, the system may be able to complete only the building's foundation or a finished exterior.

McDaniel said the Post Road Library will be comparable in size to the Hampton Park branch, which opened in winter. The Post Road site, however, will feature more environmentally friendly components.

Located near Drew Campground and Post roads, the library will be across the street from a planned Kroger-anchored shopping center and will border Fieldstone Park subdivision.

In reviewing the site plans, commissioners expressed concern about the branch being a good neighbor to nearby homes, and staying within planning and zoning standards.

"I know the folks are excited to get the library over in that area," said Commissioner Jim Harrell, who represents the district. "I would certainly like to hear the feedback from the neighbors."

After receiving the commission's OK on Tuesday, a preliminary design of the Post Road branch will make its way to a Nov. 9 meeting with the Fieldstone Park homeowners executive committee.

Commissioners discussed landscape or noise conditions for the area, but decided hearing from homeowners first would be the best way to proceed.

"The board does have some concerns and let's see what their take on it is," Laughinghouse said of the homeowners. "It's kind of hard to try to determine what their feelings are going to be. They may be so happy to have it that they don't care."

He added that this situation is different from a commercial business because the site has always been designated for a library.

Another possible issue with the county-owned property and building is setting planning and zoning requirements.

While the county has some leeway in imposing its own buffers and variances, commissioners want to hold the building to the same standards as similar private entities.

"We have to balance between being able to deliver the taxpayer the most value but also, I think, set a good example," Commissioner Patrick Bell said.