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County denies 200-plus lot subdivision in south Forsyth
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SOUTH FORSYTH -- A proposed 200-plus lot neighborhood will not be moving into south Forsyth.

Forsyth County commissioners voted 4-0, with District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent absent, at a meeting Thursday to deny a zoning application for a proposed 229-lot subdivision on 103 acres on Shiloh Road near Cabot Parkway.

“It should … be noted that the planning commission and the sub-area [District] 2 planning commission unanimously recommended denial of this rezoning; I agree with that,” said District 2 Commissioner Brian Tam, who represents the area, is chair of the subarea board and made the motion.

The application would have rezoned the property from its current restricted industrial district, or M1, to a single family residential Res-4 district for developer Sharp Residential LLC.

Tam said he opposed the rezoning for several reasons; particularly that surrounding property was also zoned for industrial uses.

“No. 1, I am uncomfortable with zoning mid- to high-density residential in the middle of what are otherwise industrially zoned properties, both developed and undeveloped,” he said. “No. 2, I am uncomfortable with the additional pressure on roads and schools this development will generate for the county.

“And No. 3, I am uncomfortable taking away any additional industrial properties in the county’s limited pool of such acreage.”

The planning board recommended denying the application at a meeting in August for similar reasons.

No public hearing was held for the rezoning, but some did speak during a public comment portion of the general meeting prior to the final vote.

Members of the Shiloh Farms subdivision, which abuts the property, spoke against the proposal.

“We would like to [reinforce] that we are not against development, we would just like to see proper development in areas to allow Forsyth County to grow,” Lucas Von Esh said. “We feel that the approval of the zoning application would move a viable tract of industrial property from the limited inventory of viable land available for development and would be akin to mismanagement of land planning policy.”

Also speaking during public comments was Ethan Underwood, an attorney representing Sharp. Underwood said the neighborhood would have meant more in taxes for the county.

“We would like to recommend the commission that at the planning [board] we analyzed the tax base and found unequivocally that this development would generate more net tax revenue —not gross, but net tax revenue — than a 600,000-square-foot industrial development.”

During the previous planning board meeting, members of the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce spoke against the zoning, and Underwood said a business would require tax funds.

“In fact, when the Chamber of Commerce opposed us, it was stated that, ‘With proper incentives, this could be a profitable industrial development,’ which means tax abatements,” Underwood said. “You’ve got to give away tax dollar revenue to make it work.

“Respectfully, we have shown that this has less of a tax burden, and we assert that the current zoning is unconstitutional.”