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Commissioners discuss residential design standards
Forsyth County

New standards appear to be on the horizon for residential neighborhoods in Forsyth County.

Forsyth County Commissioners recently heard an update to proposed changes for residential design standards for single-family Res-2, Res-3 and Res-4 zoning districts. No action was taken at the meeting.

Since the beginning of the year, stakeholder interviews, listening sessions, an open house and an online survey receiving 600 responses have been held for the plan update. 

“A lot of folks basically divided the standards into two main groups: the subdivision standards that would apply largely to major subdivisions and expansions of large subdivisions and then sort lot standards that would apply to smaller subdivisions,” said Alex Fite-Wassilak with TSW Design, the firm chosen to handle the update.

Fite-Wassilak said developments of more than seven homes would be considered a major subdivision.

He also updated commissioners on the process so far.

For the listening sessions, Fite-Wassilak said residents wanted higher standards and had “distrust of the development community,” whereas developers voiced that the code should be realistic and match standards to county conditions.

Additionally, more than 600 locals responded to a survey looking at the standards. 

For the new standards, officials compared Forsyth with the cities of Milton and Alpharetta and Cobb and Cherokee counties.

One change discussed was allowing trees or plantings in strips on right of way, which county water officials have opposed in the past. Fite-Wassilak recommended looking at the issue separately from the rest of the standards.

“Our recommendation at this point is maybe we revoke that section for now to maybe look at it separately,” he said. “We didn’t want to hold up the whole effort in order to iron this one out.” 

Another recommended change was limiting straight street lengths to no more than 600 feet “without an intervening street intersection or a horizontal curve.”

Commissioners will discuss the update again at a future meeting before moving forward.