A water sample test done near a controversial east Forsyth zoning has found potentially dangerous materials “were below detection limits.”
Per a press release from Forsyth County, on Jan. 9 a water sample was collected by a water quality consultant near the Northcove Development — the development replacing the former Lanier Golf Club — and delivered to “a certified laboratory where tests were conducted for water chemistry parameters” within the county’s watershed protection plan.
In an email, county officials were reportedly notified that “all parameters run as part of the pesticide, herbicide and semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) suites were below detection limits. Additionally, arsenic was below detection limit.”
The email also said, “water quality results for nutrients were below applicable standards and were within the normal range with historical data collected at other monitoring stations in the county.”
Once county officials receive the full report, it will be made available at the county engineering department’s stormwater division page at Forsythco.com.
The day before the water sample was collected, Forsyth County Commissioners discussed soil testing at the property but after discussing with County Attorney Ken Jarrard, county staff determined the county does not have authority to soil test on private property.
The testing is the latest in ongoing issues with the development of the former golf course.
The former golf course is currently being developed to include 321 residential units made up of 71 townhomes, 155 single-family detached houses and 95 single-family residential Res-2 units.
Though the zoning decisions were made in late 2016 and early 2017, the development gained renewed interest after the club — which was built in the 1960s — closed and work began on the property.
The development has been a concern for some neighbors.
Additionally, issues surrounding the development has led to a lawsuit and ethics complaint against Forsyth County Commission Chairman Laura Semanson filed by officials with property owner Fields Farm of Forsyth, LLC and developer Reid and Reid Constructions, LLC.
The suit, which was filed against Semanson in her individual capacity, alleges that claims she made about the golf course “were falsely and maliciously made” and her actions “interfered with and impaired the plaintiffs’ ability to satisfy contractual deadlines” related to the project.
The plaintiffs are seeking damages for “slander and tortious interference with contractual and business obligations” for an amount to be determined, a court order for Semanson to “cease all interference” with development of the property, damages for a yet-to-be-determined amount for constitutional violations and torts, punitive damages, attorney’s fees and expenses and “such other relief” granted by the court.
The ethics complaint echoes the issues of the suit.
Danny Bennett, owner of Fields Farm, said in a series of statements that he felt the county had “no authority” to do the water sample test and called claims of wrongdoing “a false narrative.” He also said the results showed there are “very, very detailed environmental studies” done before financing and others steps can be taken.
He said there are other lawsuits “yet to be filed” and “hopefully have the courts put an end to it.”
Semanson could not be reached for comment as of press time.
The full report is currently available on the Engineering Department Stormwater Division page.