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Forsyth commission sits tight on legislative requests

FORSYTH COUNTY — The Forsyth County commission has decided to hold off for two weeks on sending the local state legislative delegation several requests to change the makeup of the board.

The requests came in response to the delegation’s proposal to add a sixth member — a chairman elected countywide — to the commission, the county’s governing body.

Discussed and approved by commissioners during a work session Dec. 22, their requests include: expanding the commission to seven members; leaving the setup unchanged until after the results of a straw poll of voters; or revert to countywide voting, which was in place prior to 2010.

Though the matter was approved at the work session last month, non-time sensitive items that are approved unanimously — such as the seven member and straw poll proposals — are added to the consent agenda of the next regular meeting for final approval.

Countywide voting passed 3-2, with Commissioners Pete Amos and Cindy Jones Mills opposed, and work session items with a split vote are added to new business of the next regular meeting.

The commission did take action to combine the items for Thursday’s discussion and future meetings.

Another proposal was floated, though not voted on, during the meeting Thursday. It would require a change from a countywide planning board to one for each district.

Under that proposal, a zoning issue that was approved by a district’s planning board and supported by that district’s commissioner would need the other four commissioners to vote unanimously against the item to defeat it.

Mills presented the plan, saying it had previously been floated by local officials. She added that she had spoken to members of the local delegation, who were in favor of the idea.

“Sen. [Michael] Williams loved it,” she said. “I’ve reached out to [Sen.] Steve Gooch, I reached out to [Rep.] Kevin Tanner, and all them said that makes so much more sense than adding a sixth member to the board,” she said. “It made more sense than a full-time chairman and it gave the people so much more than what they were doing.”

The two -week postponement, which was approved unanimously, will also allow the proposals to be discussed during legislators’ town hall meetings happening throughout January.