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Amendment to land deal made
Property is site for courthouse
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Forsyth County News

Other action

Also Thursday night, Forsyth County commissioners:

• Changed the unified development code to extend the length of approved variances from one year to four, with a possible extension of a year, if approved by the planning director.

After eight motions with various time periods, the change passed 3-2, with Commissioners Brian Tam and Jim Boff opposed.

• Removed a zoning condition for Diversified Asset Planning that required development of an apartment community to wait until the commercial segment in the neighboring Taubman regional mall had begun.

Also, a condition was added that increased the square footage of the the 530 planned apartments in the community at McFarland Parkway and Ga. 400. Tam opposed the changes in the 4-1 vote.

• Approved a sketch plat for Brookwood Mansions to build 135 single family homes at Mathis Airport and Peachtree parkways.

The plan had originally called for 241 town homes and apartments, but was changed after a developer left the project.

• Postponed two zoning condition amendments, a variance request and rezoning related to a proposed Zaxby’s restaurant on Mathis Airport Parkway.

The rezoning from neighborhood shopping to commercial has been delayed since Sept. 15. Commissioner Patrick Bell opposed the delays in the 4-1 votes.

Note: All votes were 5-0 unless otherwise noted.

— Alyssa LaRenzie

Forsyth County commissioners amended a realty contract related to the recent voter-approved 1-cent sales tax extension during a meeting Thursday.

Prior to the Nov. 8 election, the county placed four parcels under contingency for purchase in case voters passed the special local option sales tax, or SPLOST VII, referendum.

The tax is expected to bring in about $200 million in revenue, with $100 million anticipated to fund construction of a new courthouse, jail expansion and associated parking deck.

The land across from the current courthouse, which makes up about an acre, will be sold to the county for nearly $2.4 million. The new courthouse will then be built on that site.

The commission amended the contract for three of the four parcels to delay the closing date from Dec. 14 to Jan. 31.

The vote was 4-0, with Commissioner Pete Amos recusing himself, as his wife’s family owns the related fourth parcel.

Since several tenants hold leases on the three properties, the delay will allow five of those rental agreements to expire by the end of January, said County Attorney Ken Jarrard.

“It would allow the collection of rents by the current landlord and property owner, but it forgoes the county having to be in the landlord business,” Jarrard said.

Property owners JHA Investments LLC and Amy McCollum were expected to notify their tenants following their approval of the agreement.

Also per the amendment, the county will pay $15,000 toward the purchase of those three parcels upon approval.

The Jan. 31 closing date doesn’t encompass all of the tenants on those properties, Jarrard said, since two others have leases extending past that date.

One tenant has a lease expiring at the end of May, which Jarrard said should not have any effect on the county’s planned courthouse project.

The other has a lease extending through 2014.

“I have every expectation that at some point, I will have to come to you and we’ll talk about relocating the tenant that has the ability to stay there until 2014,” Jarrard said. “We knew that going in.”

The fourth parcel, which was not subject to any amendments on Thursday, will remain with the planned Dec. 14 closing date. That’s 30 days after certification of the November election results.

That tract, owned by Mashburn Farms, is rented to the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.

Work on the new courthouse could get started soon.

Though collections for the recently approved tax extension won’t start until June 2013, the county is allowed, per the referendum, to bond out money for the courthouse and jail projects.