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3 things from this week’s BOC meeting
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A study of areas along the Chattahoochee River, an update to the expansion of a north Forsyth mine and changes to the county’s alcohol code were some of the issues brought up and discussed at a recent Forsyth County Board of Commissioners work session.

All items were approved by a 5-0.

Chattahoochee Greenway

A study is currently being conducted looking at greenspace along the Chattahoochee River, and Forsyth County officials have decided to take part.

Vanessa Bernstein-Goldman, deputy director for the department of planning and community development, gave an overview of what the study entailed.

“The study itself is sponsored by the Trust for Public Land,” she said. “TPL is managing a fair portion of public engagement. Atlanta Regional Commission, the city of Atlanta and Cobb County, they have employed Scape Design Firm in Manhattan to develop the deliverables of an actual plan.”

The study will look at the region’s use of the river, create a new vision of public awareness, improve connections and access and identify areas for protection and investment.

The area of the study is about 100 miles from Buford Dam to Chattahoochee Bend State Park in Newnan and is expected to be completed by next spring.

Commissioners approved inviting TPL and ARC to make a formal presentation at a future meeting, authorized staff to attend study subarea meetings and publish information on the county’s website.

Plant coming to mine

Earlier this year, commissioners approved an agreement between the county, Georgia Stone Products and the Mashburn Marital Trust related to the legal nonconforming status – a zoning that was legal at the time of approval but is not allowed under current standards – of a sand mine on Keith Bridge Road, which will also include 233.7 acres owned by the trust.

Under the agreement, the county will affirm Georgia Stone Products’ right to use the mine and the company will close on the Mashburn land.

At Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners approved authorizing county staff to start the process for a county-initiated sketch plat on land currently used by the mine as regional groups are approving the larger project.

“Right now, we are already working with Georgia Stone,” said County Attorney Ken Jarrard. “They are actually having to approach [the Georgia Mountain Regional Commission for a development of regional impact report], but in the meantime, they’ve now come and said, ‘Look, on the existing sand mine parcel, we want to put a ready-mix asphalt or concrete plant on that site.’”

Jarrard said at the previous meeting the Mashburn property had previously been zoned for “just about a thousand residential units” or apartments.

In 2012, commissioners settled issues with both parties related to a 2010 zoning decision. Suits were filed after commissioners approved rezoning 115 acres at the mine for a planned eco-industrial park on Leland Drive.

The rezoning of the residential land was a condition of settlement.

Of the current commissioners, only Todd Levent, who represents District 3, was on the board in 2012 and none were on the board in 2010.

Alcohol code changes

The upcoming Halcyon-Forsyth development is already having an impact on local alcohol rules.

At the meeting, commissioners voted to move ahead with changes to the alcohol code, including:

-- giving the board power to allow alcohol by the drink or in the original package and to offer “to go” cups as part of economic development incentives,

-- removing requirements for screen porches,

--giving a definition for a micro-distillery,

-- removing requirements requiring businesses receiving alcohol license be open within six months of license approval,

-- and changing a rule that prohibits sales of alcohol from being part of a business’ lease.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said some of those changes were requested by developers or businesses with Halcyon.

“Halcyon seems to be a harbinger for a lot of potential changes as we try to make that product work,” Jarrard said.