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Changes to map continue
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Forsyth County News

 

The steering committee for Forsyth County’s comprehensive plan update was tasked Wednesday with making suggestions for the future development map.

The map, which reflects preferred future land use, will serve as a planning policy guide looking out at the years 2012-32.

During two March work sessions and online, 318 people submitted ideas for what they’d like to see in the future development map, said Vanessa Bernstein, senior long-range planner for the county.

Of the 286 who voted on one of four maps drafted by staff, about two-thirds selected the option with the most areas marked estate residential, which is the least-intensive residential category.

The committee, which includes the planning commission and other community members, worked off that map to adjust the categories, known as character areas, to fit the future.

“It is a long-range vision,” Bernstein said, “which means there are going to be designations on this map that might not necessarily be appropriate today.”

The map also includes neighborhood centers, representing communities in the county, such as Coal Mountain, Brookwood and Matt.

The committee made 11 changes during the two-hour meeting, focusing on areas that could fall under more than one category.

To provide flexibility, the group agreed to add an additional character area, temporarily titled “attached living.”

A residential category, it falls between a less-intensive suburban living and more-intensive village living.

The “attached living” category was added to land by Lambert High School, in the county’s southwestern corner and near Chattahoochee Elementary School.

Bernstein reminded the committee that these character areas and their corresponding zoning designations are not final.

“The plan is a guide, it’s not written in stone,” she said, “but we need to provide ... some framework for basing rezoning decisions.”

One of the more contested areas by residents was also tweaked.

Residents on the county’s western border with Cherokee County, near Howard Road, are divided between the lowest-density residential category, estate living, and the step above, suburban living.

Based on the public input, the map reflected the least dense category, but the committee felt suburban would be more appropriate.

Some notable changes were also made to the county’s northeastern corner, which contained primarily lower-density residential designations.

The committee agreed to add a higher-density residential and minor commercial node near Hwy. 306 and Jot Em Down Road.

That same designation was also added to the county’s northeastern lake border, around the Crystal Cove subdivision.

The lack of an explicit agricultural designation was a concern for some, but Bernstein noted those types of uses can be encouraged by development strategies.

Those will be a topic of the next public workshop and committee meeting, set for 5 p.m. April 28 at the county administration building.