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Committee writes recommendations for Coal Mountain overlay in north Forsyth
1PRINT Coal Mountain Sign WEB

NORTH FORSYTH -- A committee tasked with creating standards for a proposed overlay in north Forsyth has given its recommendations to the Board of Commissioners.

Parking in the area, steps to limit visibility of Dumpsters, connectivity, building height, billboards, building materials and signs were discussed in the final of six meetings the Coal Mountain Overlay Committee held to come up with the overlay’s rules.

“I think it’s going to make a big, big difference in our community,” District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills said.

Throughout the meetings, members looked at buildings both locally and across the state and country and gave input on design standards, such as types of paint – the group has favored more neutral and earth-tone colors than bright, vibrant paints favored by national brands.

The committee sought to break up monotony in the area and focused heavily on commercial development along the road, which is expected to grow in popularity with a new interchange coming to the current intersection of Ga. 400 and Browns Bridge Road (Hwy. 369).

The plan will next go to commissioners at a work session for their opinions before going to staff and then back to the commission for final approval.

“If they like what they hear, because this is only a recommendation, they give me the green light to say, ‘Tom, go ahead and have staff work on this and bring us back a draft,” said Tom Brown, director of planning and community development. “That’s going to take my staff two-three weeks to draft it. Then we have to give legal staff a chance to review it when we’re done. Then it’ll come back to another work session.

Mills said it was important at the meeting to move ahead with standards and that the committee may come back together in the future for other matters.

“We might technically have to disband, but we might have to come back together, too,” she said. “I definitely see it where this is not the end. I see it where we could come back together and start back again with much more.”

In previous meetings, the committee heard from longtime of the three character nodes, or areas with different standards being considered on Hwy. 369: a Matt node from Barrett Road to Heardmont Trace Road; a Coal Mountain node from about Gravitt Road to the Ga. 400 intersection; and a Hammond’s Crossing node from the Ga. 400 intersection eastward to about Mashburn Drive.

Most commercial-zoned properties that would be affected by the overlay are currently under a moratorium on the acceptance of land disturbance permits until March 20. The moratorium was approved in December 2016 and affects parcels in Districts 1, 4 and 5.

The area of the moratorium is diamond-shaped with four points.

The original boundaries of the moratorium were the intersections of: Matt Highway (Hwy. 369 west) and Bannister Road to the west; Keith Bridge Road (Hwy. 306 east) and Dahlonega Highway (Hwy. 9) to the south; Browns Bridge Road (Hwy. 369 east) at Six Mile Creek to the east; and Hopewell Road and Hwy. 9 to the north.

Parcels at the intersection of Elmo Road, Matt Highway and Bannister Road were added at a Jan. 10 work session.

Public hearings will be held before the county’s planning board and commissioners. The overlay can be adopted after the hearings.