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Decision on ethics board postponed
Complaint in limbo until issue resolved
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Forsyth County News

Other action

Also at their meeting Thursday, Forsyth County commissioners:

• Approved amendments to the unified development code clarifying the definitions of setback and yard, excluding architectural encroachments from setback requirements and allowing for two nonconforming lots to be merged.

• Held the first of two public hearings on a proposed amendment to the alcohol ordinance to allow brew pubs in accordance with state law.

• Denied a change in named alcohol licensee for Karnisar Inc. for Citgo at Cumming Square.

The business has an administrative hearing pending after its third underage sales violation within two years, which could lead to losing its license.

Commissioner Todd Levent said he’d like to resolve that matter before considering a license name change.

• Approved a required certiorari bond of $250 for Richard Jackson, an adjacent property owner who planned to file suit regarding a zoning request the commission granted Oct. 18.

The commission agreed in a split vote to amend conditions to allow for an apartment complex instead of town homes at Hwy. 20 and Holly Court.

• Postponed a request to consider modifying the Castleberry Road widening project to Nov. 15.

The vote was 3-2, with Commissioners Pete Amos and Brian Tam opposed.

• Delayed until Nov. 15 three public hearings seeking an appeal of a recent zoning board decision regarding stream buffer requirements for the Champions Run subdivision.

Note: All votes were 5-0 unless otherwise noted.

— Alyssa LaRenzie

A complaint filed with the Forsyth County Ethics Board won’t be reviewed until the temporary state of the panel is resolved.

County commissioners again postponed a second hearing on changes to the ethics ordinance Thursday.

The commission proposed a plan in June to overhaul the current ethics board makeup of five appointed county residents by replacing it with a pool of on-call attorneys.

In the meantime, three of the five members have resigned or their terms expired, leaving the panel short of the required quorum to hear the recently submitted complaint.

The Oct. 19 complaint from county resident William Dunn names Michael Mahoney, an assistant district attorney, and refers to a plea deal reached in a case Oct. 4.

In that matter, Charles McElroy Turner of Lumpkin County had been indicted on two counts of impersonating a police officer and two counts of false imprisonment.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of disorderly conduct and received 24 months of probation, community service and a $1,000 fine, in addition to other conditions.

In his ethics complaint, Dunn contends “political pressure” on the district attorney’s office led to the plea with reduced charges.

He also maintains he was not properly notified about the matter in Forsyth County Superior Court.

Per county rules, the respondent must reply within 30 days and the ethics board must complete an investigatory review within 60 days.

In light of the pending complaint, County Attorney Ken Jarrard asked commissioners Thursday to be mindful of those deadlines.

Jarrard put out a reminder after the commission voted 5-0 to delay the second hearing on the changes.

“We’re getting very close to committing a procedural violation,” Jarrard said.

Commissioner Brian Tam again made the motion to postpone, initially requesting a new date of Dec. 6, but switched to Nov. 15 after learning of the pending complaint.

Tam did not state why he motioned to delay the hearing and could not be reached for comment Friday.

The commission received mostly favorable responses to the changes from those who spoke at the public hearing in September.

A second hearing and vote was delayed in October and also on Thursday.

The commission has possible reappointments of members on the agenda for its work session Tuesday.