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County approves new building for vet hospital, 2 places of worship
Animal Medical Center

Approvals for two houses of worship, a request to state lawmakers and approval of plans for a veterinary hospital were among issues discussed at a Forsyth County Board of Commissioner’s meeting on Thursday, Nov. 21. All items were approved by a 5-0 vote unless otherwise noted. 


Animal Medical Center of Cumming

Plans were approved for a new building for Animal Medical Center of Cumming, though it took action on three items to have zoning amendments and a conditional-use permit approved. 

The zoning amendments were needed to allow an existing fence to stay on the property, which interfered with a buffer, to only require dogs in the parking lot be on a leash – instead of requiring being on a leash at all times on the property – and to delete a condition not allowing dog runs or kennels on the site.

The conditional-use permit allows the center to operate an 8,333-square-foot veterinary clinic and kennel in an existing building with outdoor facilities with 31 parking spaces on 1.9 acres at 1348 Buford Highway.

Variances approved with the permit include reduction of a zoning buffer, reduction of a landscape strip, reduction of a zoning setback and reduction of a front landscape strip.


Places of worship

Two worship centers, a church and a Hindu temple, were approved at the meeting.

A rezoning request was approved for God’s Olive Tree Inc., that rezoned 2.3 acres at 5230 Jot Em Down Road from multi-family residential district (Res-3) and agricultural district (A1) and a conditional-use permit to operate a 12,811-square-foot place of worship in an existing building with 39 parking spaces.

District 4 Commissioner Cindy Mills said the building had a complicated history that made the zoning difficult.

“This one’s sort of a train wreck,” she said. “It was a building that was not permitted when it was built originally.”

Director of Planning and Community Development Tom Brown said there were previous discussions for using the property as an assisted living facility but permitted as either residential or agricultural. He said it was never used for that purpose.

At 2010 Kelly Mill Road, commissioners approved a conditional-use permit for Hindu Center of Atlanta Inc. to build a 9,355-square-foot place of worship with a priest’s residence with 81 parking space on 6.9 acres.

District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent said a walking trail may be added around a pond on the property.

The parking and buildings will be near Kelly Mill Road on the property. 


Legislative request

Commissioners also approved making a request to the local legislative delegation before the Georgia General Assembly meets in January.

The commission asked lawmakers elected by Forsyth County voters to oppose measures that would be “preempting a local government’s ability to enact local design standards,” which County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the county had an “emphatic opposition” to such bills.

The issue came up last year as lawmakers debated House Bill 302, which was introduced by District 133 state Rep. Vance Smith, of Pine Mountain, and, according to the bill’s summary, would “prohibit local governments from adopting or enforcing ordinances or regulations relating to or regulating building design elements as applied to one- or two-family dwellings.”

Commissioners adopted a similar request in February when the topic was being discussed.

“It’s a new session coming up, and we need to sort of refresh our opposition to this and get in the hands of our local delegation so they can hopefully address our concerns at the state capitol in the new session,” Jarrard said.