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Five things from this week's Forsyth County Commissioners work session
FCN Lanier Golf Club 111118
Construction crews work at the former Lanier Golf Club. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

With repairs to a heavily used field at a local park, an update to ongoing development on Buford Dam Road and new fees for body art, Tuesday’s Forsyth County Commission work session was a wide-ranging meeting.

Below are some of the actions that were taken.

All items were approved 4-0, with District 2 Commissioner Dennis Brown absent due to county business, unless otherwise noted.

Drainage approved for Fowler Park

Commissioners approved a change order for $298,918 to ITS Sprinturf Holdings, LLC, related to a storm draining system required for two artificial turf fields at Fowler Park.

“Due to a storm drainage system requirement by our departments, we are asking for a change order,” said Procurement Director Donna Kukarola. “This amount has come down drastically. It started out at over $500,000.”

Deputy County Manager Tim Merritt said the county planned to use existing stormwater drainage from the grass field but engineers determined that drainage was not adequate for turf fields. Funding will come from the parks and recreation budget.

Zoning change for fire station

Commissioners voted to start the public hearing process for a county-initiated rezoning of three acres from office and industrial district, O&I, to agriculture district, A1, for future Fire Station 11 on Pittman Road in west Forsyth.

“The feedback I got for with respect to this was just based upon the way the zoning standards for O&I work, it did just not work at O&I and staff wanted it converted back to A1,” said County Attorney Ken Jarrard.

Jarrard noted that county property does not have to follow the standards but said commissioners had traditionally wanted to follow the same rules as the community.

Lanier Golf development update

After construction recently started at the former Lanier Golf Course, commissioners asked the state environmental protection division to look at whether the project was impacting Lake Lanier.

Assistant County Manager Garrin Coleman said county engineering staff had met on site with members of EPD and Army Corps of Engineers earlier that day.

“They included an inspection of the Buford Dam cove area, south of where the dam is discharging,” Coleman said. “They did not note any violations of the erosion of the soil ordinance, so there were no issues noted there.”

Merritt said the county could access other records from EPD and will likely have a county employee obtain those.

No action was taken at the meeting.

Body art

It does not appear there are any tattoo shops in Forsyth County, since the business is typically not allowed in the county as part of the “no nasties” conditions by commissioners.

However, businesses offering a similar practice may soon have to pay a fee.

Commissioners approved new body art establishment fees for businesses that perform microblading of the eyebrow, a form of tattooing meant to mimic and using brush strokes to blend in with eyebrows instead of having pigment under the skin like traditional tattooing.

The change was required after Gov. Nathan Deal signed a related bill into law over the summer. County staff said microblading is typically done at spas instead of tattoo parlors.

Fees are for the initial permit, employee fees, and fees for re-inspection and plan review. 

GIS updates

Commissioners heard an update on the county’s geographic information services, or GIS.

Chief Information Officer Brandon Kenney said the update is live on the county’s website, which includes information in an open data portal.

“We have now made that accessible to anyone that has an internet connection,” Kenney said. “In addition to that, we’ve made the raw data available. If we have businesses out there that want to incorporate this publicly-available data or if we have some technology folks that want to interface with this data and include their own technology, we have enabled them to do so.”

Kenney said the system can look at “60 layers” of information. The system is available at

No action was taken by commissioners.