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Decision delayed on golf course rezoning
Parties close to possible compromise
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Forsyth County News



Forsyth County will have two more weeks to reach a decision on the court-ordered rezoning of Lanier Golf Course.


With the original Sunday deadline extended, the commission voted 5-0 on Thursday to postpone the matter to its July 7 meeting.


The delay will give the course owners, neighbors and the county time to finalize a possible compromise after several meetings this week, said County Attorney Ken Jarrard.


“Those have reached various levels of success, although there is still work to be done,” Jarrard said.


“However, in light of the progress that has been made and in light of the looming court order … I was given permission to seek out a consent order extending the deadline for compliance.”


The golf course issue began in 2007, when the owners sued the county after commissioners rejected their request to rezone the property from agricultural to a master planned district.


The owners, Jack Manton and George Bagley Jr., had a contract with a developer to buy the site, contingent upon its rezoning.


On May 12, the litigation appeared to come to a quick halt when Appalachian Judicial Circuit Judge Robert E. Bradley ordered the property be given a "constitutional zoning classification" within 45 days.


Talks with concerned course neighbors, who oppose rezoning the site, have led to a possible middle option, which Commission Chairman Brian Tam said needs a bit more time to iron out.


“We’ve had a series of meetings. We’ve had a lot of input. Hopefully, we’ve found a compromise,” Tam said. “I’m cautiously optimistic.”


The details of the proposal, handed out to the crowd at Thursday’s meeting, show that the owners could donate the back portion of the property -- between 110 and 115 acres -- to the county for green space or a golf course.


That portion of property, for which a zoning has not yet been determined would be turned over  upon the sale of the front 60 to 65 acres, which would be zoned to allow for a continuing care community.


Originally, the back half of the property had been proposed for a residential zoning for 171 homes.


Terms of the agreement are “contingent on the release by the 128 homeowners for suits against the developer to in any way impede the development of the [master planned district] zone,” according to the proposal.


Tam said the signatures of those homeowners will be needed, which is a major reason for the postponement.


Further details of the agreement and zoning conditions will continue to be discussed, with an update for stakeholders set for 7:30 p.m. Monday.