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4 things from this week’s BOC meeting
Sheriff accreditation
Craig Hartley, Jr., executive director of the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., or CALEA, shakes hands with Forsyth County Sheriff Ron Freeman after the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office received recognition for CALEA advanced accreditation. - photo by For the Forsyth County News

Recognition for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office, discussion of an agreement to widen a busy road partially in south Forsyth and rezoning for a new development were among items approved or discussed at a Forsyth County Board of Commissioners regular meeting on Thursday, Sept. 19.

Commissioners approved the items 5-0, unless otherwise noted.

FCSO Honors

Sheriff Ron Freeman and his office received a pair of recognitions to kick off the meeting.

The office received an award from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc., CALEA, recognizing advanced accreditation and state certification from the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police.

“If you remember, and I know many of us have had that conversation, the sheriff’s office had lost their accreditation, and one of the things I promised was to bring that back,” Freeman said of the CALEA certification. “I’m very proud of the work these men and women have done because not only did we get our basic accreditation back in record time, and thanks to [retired Capt. Mark Flowers, who serves as policy and accreditation manager], but we got our advance accreditation back.”

Craig Hartley, Jr., executive director of CALEA, said the program had been in existence for more than 40 years and was formed “to continue to enhance the delivery of professional services in the public safety community.”

“Tonight I have a certificate to present, but I want to be careful in doing that because I often tell folks that accreditation is not about the certificate or the stickers on the car but rather it’s an approach to the delivery of public safety services and always looking at it through the eyes of the citizens, the eyes of the officers and the eyes of those who receive the services as ongoing process of continuous improvement, and clearly your sheriff has taken that as a priority for his organization,” Hartley said.

Mark Bender, with the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, said the sheriff’s office was one of only 23 sheriff’s offices across the state to earn the accreditation.

“That certainly says something for the sheriff and the people that work for him that he has been involved with this process for a while, and it’s always great to have an agency like the sheriff’s office here in Forsyth County be state-certified because it sends a message to not only the community, but everybody else around him and his peers that this is a good program and it enhances the professionalism and the excellence thereof,” Bender said.

No action was taken by commissioners.

Yard Mutts

Yard Mutts, a doggy daycare service, received a pair of approvals for their property at 3540 Keith Bridge Road.

Commissioners approved a zoning plan change and a conditional-use permit with conditions to operate a kennel at the site.

Christopher Light, a zoning attorney representing the business, said the zoning amendment was needed due to buffer issues and to bring the 2005 zoning of the property into compliance with the county’s code.

During discussions of the permit, Light said the approximately 40 dogs that come to the facility daily would not be noisy to neighbors.

“They train to not bark. There are certified trainers there and also [owner Abby Freeman] is also in the process of getting her certified training, but they train not to bark,” Light said. “That’s one of the reasons some people bring their dogs to them.”

McKinley Homes

Just under 60 new homes will soon be coming to Burnt Bridge Road.

During the meeting, the commission approved rezoning about 60 acres from single-family residential district (Res2) to agricultural district (A1) to build 58 residential lots, for a density of 0.97 units per acre.

Plans for the development include a community garden, a fitness trail, a dog park and a passive common area.

Widening McGinnis Ferry

In recent years, Forsyth County has led the charge for a widening project for McGinnis Ferry Road with the cities of Johns Creek and Alpharetta. Now, one of those cities has a new idea for the project.

Commissioners took no action, but County Attorney Ken Jarrard updated the board on a new proposal from Johns Creek city officials.

Under the county’s current plan, Forsyth would pay $18 million for the project, the state would contribute about $10 million and Alpharetta and Johns Creek would contribute about $9 million each.

However, the Johns Creek plan would instead split the project into two phases with the city taking one and the county raking the other.

“In other words, they are proposing something that I think is quite different than what we are proposing,” Jarrard said.

The two parts of the project would be widening from Sergeant Road to 7 Oaks Parkway and widening from Sargent Road to Meadows Creek Drive.

The Sargent to 7 Oaks phase would be about 0.7 miles and would cost $95,000 for design $1.5 million for right of way acquisitions, $120,000 for relocation of utilities, $1.5 million for mitigation and construction of $1.85 million for an estimated total of $5.1 million.

In comparison, the phase from Sargent to Meadows Creek would be about 0.5 miles and cost $68,000 for design, $1 million for right of way, $100,000 for utilities, $1.5 million for mitigation and $700,000 for construction, with a total of $3.4 million.

Jarrard recommended the county clarify funding, look at how a previous agreement would affect the Johns Creek proposal and clarify roles for the project, among others.

The item will come back to commissioners during a future meeting.