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Forsyth County commission: Car dealership to expand, public talks abandoned structures
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The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners recently met for a meeting last week to discuss a handful of items, from expanding car dealerships to zoning moratoriums and possible changes to local ordinances.

Car dealership expanding

Commissioners approved the rezoning of 3.3 acres on Staghorn Court from restricted industrial district, or M1, to commercial business district, or CBD, for BMW dealer RBM of Alpharetta to add 17,280 square feet to its building with 274 parking spaces.

The development was previously approved by the county’s planning board and will be used for auto sales.

RBM of Alpharetta is currently open on McFarland Parkway between Atlanta Highway (Hwy. 9) and Union Hill Road,
A variance was also approved to eliminate a six-foot landscape strip along the property line.

Moratorium lifted, code changed

Standards for the single-family residential Res-3 district in the county’s unified development code were changed.

Though the minimum lot size for Res-3 zonings is 14,750 square feet, the code previously allowed a minimum of 10,000 square feet for those zoned between Nov. 1, 2007 and July 18, 2013, and those zoned before Nov. 1, 2007 can have a minimum of 9,000 square feet.

The county had a moratorium in place on land disturbance permits for Res 3 properties, which was repealed with the code change.

“It was reaching back into the past and allowing build-out consistent with that version of Res-3 that existed at the time,” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said. “By the time we had the final version of the moratorium, what it provided was that the moratorium applied to primarily lots that were zoned at a 9,000-square-foot lot size.”

The decision left in place lots that were zoned at a minimum of 10,000 square feet for properties that were zoned between July 18, 2013 and October 2, 2014.

In a separate item, the commission also voted 3-1, with Commissioners Boff against and Tam absent, to amend the code to restrict the combination of lots in different subdivisions is most circumstances.

Abandoned structures aired

The commission hosted a first public hearing on possible changes to rules for unsafe structures. The item requires a second public hearing before commissioners can take action.

Jarrard said there are structures in “various states of disrepair” throughout the county. One of the most notable was the Greenleaf subdivision, where houses were deemed unlivable after construction was halted in 2006.

Commissioners approved demolition of the partially built subdivision in June 2015, and houses were torn down in April.

“This allows, basically, a system whereby a complaint can be made, an investigation can ensue and if, in fact, the public officer determines that there is, in fact, a very real risk of a threat to human life, safety or health, that that public officer can institute legal proceedings for the purposes of ensuring that the situation is abated,” Jarrard said.

Any structures that are brought down will have a tax lien placed on the property.

Public hearing held on park impact fees

The impact fee issue is needed after the county recalculated property values for parks to be closer to market value than what the county originally paid. If approved, the new figures will be plugged into the updated impact fees approved in April.

Impact fees are charges for new building that help cover the cost of increased demand on roads, infrastructure, services and amenities.

It is estimated that the fees will bring in an additional about $500,000 per year for parks.

There were no speakers at either public hearing.

* All votes were unanimous (5-0) unless otherwise noted.