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Forsyth commissioners add new meeting, rules for zoning
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Forsyth County commissioners will have a new meeting to get updates on zoning matters, along with new rules while attending planning board meetings.

At a recent work session, commissioners voted unanimously to hold a meeting before the first work session of each month to discuss upcoming zoning matters and agreed to only participate in planning board meetings as private citizens, except for special circumstances.

The new meeting was meant to formalize the process of commissioners meeting with development officials to discuss plans for zonings and will be held at 1 p.m. before the first work session of each month.

Commissioners had previously discussed holding a meeting with the county’s planning board to go over zonings.

“If we do ours an hour before and it is videotaped, the ones who can make it will come and the others that can’t always have the option to watch it,” Chairman Todd Levent said.

The meetings will be held on a trial basis for the first six months and will not require a change to the county’s unified development code.

No action will be taken at the meetings, and all presentations will be for information only.

Commissioners also decided to only speak at planning board meetings as private citizens unless there are special circumstances.

“I would suggest that our participation in planning commission meetings where it is not specifically noted and advertised as a joint meeting be limited to citizen observation unless we determine that it is prudent for our participation, otherwise,” District 2 Commissioner Rick Swope said.

Levent said since the planning board is making recommendations that commissioners should not influence the decision.

“If they have a public comment period, that might be the only time a commissioner should speak,” Levent said, “but they should speak as an individual at that moment, otherwise I believe they may be influencing the recommendation [the board] is bringing forward.”

No change the unified development code is needed, as it is not a formal change.

In 2014, commissioners decided to no longer require a majority of commissioners be present for planning board meetings. Similarly, no change was required to the unified development code at that time.