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Forsyth commission may change mixed-use density standards
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As mixed-use developments rise in popularity in Forsyth County and metro Atlanta, local officials are working to avoid potential problems that could come with them.

At a work session on Tuesday, Forsyth County commissioners discussed a possible way to align master planned district, or MPD, zonings with the county’s long-term vision by reducing density for those with a lower amount of commercial development.

Though no change was officially made, and is unlikely to happen until the update of the county’s comprehensive 20-year plan, the standards could be added in the meantime as a condition to zonings.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard said current MPD standards require a development to be 25 percent commercial, 25 percent residential and 20 percent open space.

“Just between open space and commercial you have 45 percent,” Jarrard said. “Candidly, the applications the county is getting for MPD are obviously all over the place with respect to that break down, particularly with the breakdown between open space and commercial.”

In recent weeks, the county has discussed MPD standards and concerns that such developments could abandon the commercial portion and use the increased density.

Under the change, which had three options with tweaked numbers, as the percentage of commercial zonings decreased, so did the density.

“The more you give us of commercial in that 40 percent block [used as an example], the more we’re going to reward you, if that’s the right term, with residential density,” Jarrard said. “The purpose is not even to do a UDC modification, we could do this by way of conditions, but one of the things you might want to do is let the building community know this is what the board’s thinking.”