With no work session or regular meeting over the past week, Forsyth County commissions recently dealt with other pressing business in a special called meeting.
During the March 29 meeting, commissioners discussed who should fill the interim county manager position, emergency repairs for damage to the Big Creek Greenway, changes to the zoning process and a new e-commerce company coming to Forsyth.
Interim county manager appointed
County Manager Doug Derrer retired this month after serving in the position since March 2009. Commissioners are in the process of hiring his successor but selected Deputy County Manager Tim Merritt as the interim county manager until the decision is made.
“The Board of Commissioners had directed me to prepare a resolution that would appoint Mr. Tim Merritt interim county manager as the recruitment process goes forth,” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said.
Derrer’s last day was April 2, and Merritt took over at midnight.
Merritt came to the county in April 2010 and previously served seven years as assistant city manager for Gainesville.
Funding approved for Greeway repairs
After the Big Creek Greenway was damaged by falling trees in a recent storm, commissioners authorized $107,000 for repairs.
“It’s a little over 114 linear feet of boardwalk that needs to be repaired, as well as the two trees removed,” Procurement Director Donna Kukarola said.
A contingency of $11,502 was also needed.
“The contingency is because it is damaged and until they start to demolish it, take the boards down, we don’t know what they might find,” she said. “This is a worst-case scenario.”
The funding will come from risk management. No completion date was given.
Zoning process changes to go to public hearing
Commissioners unanimously approved starting the process to amend the county’s unified development code for rezonings. Four changes were discussed at the meeting, and other items will be in the future.
“We had discussed … the concept of possibly taking a two-step approach to looking at the rezoning process in the county,” Director of Planning and Community Development Tom Brown said. “The first: is there any low-hanging fruit, some things that could be changed to improve the process, and coming back later for a top-to-bottom complete overhaul of the zoning process.”
The four changes will require: public participation reports be included when the application is being considered by commissioners; an application to return to zoning review if there are major changes; no site plan changes after the application has been submitted to commissioners; and sending the application back to zoning review if developers fail to submit a sign affidavit.
All changes will require a public hearing.
Sports Warehouse incentives agreed upon
A memorandum of understanding was approved with e-commerce company Sports Warehouse, which announced in February their plan to move to Forsyth County. The memorandum deals with incentives.
“They will be relocating what they are calling a distribution facility here with a capital investment of roughly $20 million in Forsyth County,” Jarrard said.
Under the agreement, the company will not pay property taxes for three years but will pay school taxes. Forsyth County will also abandon a portion of Jones Road, where the center will be located.
Sports Warehouse is estimated to bring more than 300 jobs.