The best site to build an animal shelter remains County Way in north Forsyth, with the possibility of additional space a determining factor for the committee researching the project.
The Forsyth County Animal Control & Shelter Advisory Committee made its recommendation in a 5-0 vote.
County commissioners will consider the matter at an upcoming meeting.
The county-owned site could be expanded by renegotiating a lease with the Georgia State Patrol to take on some land the agency will soon no longer need.
The nearby driving course is expected to be abandoned in July or August, when the Department of Driver Services moves to its new location on Pilgrim Mill Road in Cumming, said Deputy County Manager Tim Merritt.
When the county began considering a shelter in 2009, County Way was selected as the potential site, though committee members were concerned it might be too small.
The group previously determined that about 3 acres would be the minimum needed for the shelter site.
With the addition of the driving course lot, the total County Way site would be about 4.1 acres, said Merritt, a non-voting committee member.
“I think this gives us enough land, at a little over 4 acres, and it gives us an area that is already paved that we can utilize at the site,” he said during a meeting Tuesday night.
Commissioner Todd Levent, also a committee member, expressed concern about the visibility of the County Way site, noting the local ordinance would forbid signs for the location on nearby Ga. 400.
A property near Fowler Park in south Forsyth could come on the market, said Levent, who added he didn’t want to be locked in to County Way if a better option opened up.
The committee agreed the location recommendation could likely be changed as long as the design process had not officially begun.
Committee member Lance White said the shelter will need to do offsite adoptions anyway to increase the number of animals finding homes.
White also added that the Forsyth County Humane Society, with which he's involved, has survived many years in a more remote area off of Hwy. 306 in northeastern Forsyth.
Also at Tuesday's meeting, the committee discussed how to put the construction project out to bid and where to seek potential grant funding.
The group previously recommended that funding for the shelter’s construction come from a continuation of the 1-cent sales tax, if voters approve it, and then bond out the funds to expedite the project.
County commissioners approved the recommendation in a 5-0 vote earlier this month.
A referendum on continuing the tax could be held as early as November.
The committee plans to next work toward formulating the specifics of a shelter design.
The group plans tour the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter in mid-May, with a meeting to follow.