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Commissioners approve 300-unit mixed-use development near South Forsyth High
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SOUTH FORSYTH -- After much discussion, a new mixed-use development has been approved on Ronald Reagan Boulevard.

At a regular meeting on Thursday, Forsyth County commissioners voted 4-1, with Chairman Pete Amos of District 1 opposed, to approve the rezoning of about 57 acres from agriculture and community business district to a master planned district, or MPD, for 75 residential lots with 218 attached residential units and commercial buildings.

The development will go north of the intersection of Brannon Road and Ronald Reagan Boulevard and on Access Drive and south of the intersection with Hood Drive.

Two-thirds of the project will be age-restricted, and there will be 12 acres of greenspace included.

The commercial portion of the development will be deeded commercial, meaning it cannot be changed.

District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent, who represents the area, conditioned a tree planting ordinance, that no more than 10 percent of the residential units can be rented, that greenspace will be no less than 20 percent of the development, that builders will landscape medians when doing buffers, that there will be only right turns to exit on Brannon Road and that no variances to be granted.

In November, the county’s planning board voted 4-1, with District 4 member Bettina Hammond opposed, to recommend denial of the rezoning.

District 5 planning board member Robert Hoyt spoke at Thursday’s meeting as to why he opposed the plan.

“One reason why the planning [board] recommended rejecting this as an MPD was there was no builder,” Hoyt said. “If there is not a builder developing it as a joint project, then they shouldn’t get the great density bonus that MPD contemplates.”

Levent said there have been talks for use of the commercial portion.

The decision did not require a public hearing, though there were speakers during the meeting’s public comment portion.

Boba Meier, president of the Woodland Park Homeowners Association said he is concerned over available commercial space and traffic.

“I was there the other day and took pictures of nine open retail locations that are for lease, have been for lease for a while,” he said. “Another is looking at the traffic on Brannon Road … My son goes to high school right around the corner. I took a video this morning, and it took him 35 minutes just to leave Woodland Park and go to South Forsyth High School.”

Responding to another comment, Levent said he feels the zoning is more in line with county rules than proposed apartments at The Collection at Forsyth, which he opposed and which were tabled until the new year after a tie vote in November.

“Quite simply, this follows the comprehensive plan and the [unified development code] completely now that they’ve got their greenspace in order,” he said. “The apartments at The Collection were going to be an overlay that went against the [code], that’s not in the [code].”