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Changes to parks ordinance close
Second hearing in March
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Forsyth County News

Other action

Also during their meeting Thursday night, Forsyth County commissioners:

• Authorized refinancing a series of 2002 revenue bonds for water and sewer infrastructure that totaled nearly $30 million. It’s estimated the refunding could save the county about $4.5 million in interest costs over 20 years.

• Approved changes to the county’s speed zone ordinance, which sets limits for county roads and enables law enforcement to use radar.

The changes included lowering Post Road’s maximum speed limit from 55 to 45 mph from Highway 9 to just north of Majors Road, and to 50 mph on the remainder of the road.

The speed limit on Union Hill Road will be lowered from 40 to 35 mph between Shiloh and Mullinax roads.

The changes won’t take effect until final approval is granted from the Georgia Department of Public Safety and a radar permit is issued.

• Amended zoning conditions on an abandoned subdivision that a new developer plans to complete on Peachtree Parkway south of Old Alpharetta Road.

A buffer with a neighboring property was reduced from 50 to 25 feet, with some aesthetic requirements added.

Also approved was an expired variance, which allowed for a 5-foot reduction in the 20-foot front yard setback.

• Issued warnings to the following businesses’ license holders for underage alcohol sales violations: Sidney’s Pizza Parlor; Citgo at Cumming Square; Johnny’s New York Style Pizza; and Beef O’ Brady’s.

All votes were 5-0, with the exception of Citgo, in which commissioners voted 3-2, with Patrick Bell and Jim Boff opposed.

A recently approved change to the ordinance allowing for mitigation in underage sales cases came into play with Johnny’s, which has had two violations in the past two years.

Previously, a minimum seven-day suspension would have been required.

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

— Alyssa LaRenzie

Proposed changes to Forsyth County’s parks and recreation ordinance could limit the commissioners’ involvement in the advisory board.

The most recent draft heads in a different direction than the original, which might have allowed the commission to have more say in facility use.

During a meeting Thursday, County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the considered changes remove parts of the ordinance that can be addressed through policies.

“The parks and rec board would establish policy, that policy would then be communicated to the board of commissioners, who would then ratify or send it back with request or direction,” Jarrard said.

The parks and recreation director would maintain control over implementing those policies, he said.

Chairman Jim Boff questioned whether the changes would allow commissioners to have control over day-to-day operations, such as rosters, which he would not support.

“There’s no conceivable way that this could be construed to give you that power,” Jarrard said. “In fact, this is a step further away from the board of commissioners being involved.”

Commissioners began discussing its relationship with the parks board in early December.

They expressed some concern after learning they didn’t have the ability to override decisions the parks board had made on field or facility use policy.

During a subsequent session in January, the commission shifted gears, seeking primarily to streamline the ordinance to refer to policies, which they could ratify.

Despite the talk of a different direction, the commission went ahead with the scheduled open comment period in January on the original proposed changes.

Those measures stated, in part, that the county manager or his designee would have the final say on field or facility use.

The original draft drew opposition from youth athletic booster clubs that work with Forsyth County parks. Those groups felt the current system wasn’t broken.

Bill Moats, who represented several local clubs, voiced concern with commissioners getting too close to the decision-making of park operations.

During Thursday’s hearing, Moats returned to thank the commission for its recent consideration.

“We appreciate very much the willingness of each of you to review it after working with us, hearing what our concerns were and getting us to this point now,” he said.

The Thursday hearing was once again the first of two required, since significant changes were made following the January hearing, Jarrard said.

A second hearing will take place March 1, after which commissioners can vote on the ordinance amendments.

If passed, Jarrard said the commission will also vote to ratify all current policies the parks board has in place.