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Forsyth County Commissioners move ahead with Coal Mountain Overlay project
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A new overlay for north Forsyth is one step closer to reality.

At a work session on Tuesday, Forsyth County commissioners unanimously voted to have county staff move forward with creating the overlay and bring it back to a future meeting.

“The recommendations focus mainly on commercial,” said Heather Ryan with the Planning and Community Development department. “Landscape was covered most extensively, highlighting improved quality of plantings along the right of way, at entryways, along buildings.”

The overlay committee held several meetings in January and February.

Group member Brian Korosec said the area, which has been under a moratorium, grew to include areas that are important for the future of north Forsyth.

“A lot of the additions are existing property; existing commercial, existing residential,” Korosec said. “We know that the overlay will not have an immediate effect on those, but we do hope it will have an effect 50 years from now as the area begins to change.”

Korosec and other members of the group said while they looked at many standards, they did not have the expertise to get into building design and recommended copying standards from another county overlay.

There was also discussion of possibly revisiting a second part of the overlay to address lingering issues, but County Attorney Ken Jarrard said a first overlay approved would help with issues relating to an ongoing moratorium in the area.

“By around mid-June, we need to have a deliverable [plan] that can be put in place so the moratorium can lift,” he said. “My recommendation is to get something in the code even if it is not perfect … I think if we can get version one in the code, that helps from my perspective.”

Tom Brown, director of planning and community development said it would take four to six weeks to draft the overlay.

Part of the plan features three nodes, or areas with different standards on Hwy. 369: a Matt node from Barrett Road to Heardmont Trace Road; a Coal Mountain node from about Gravitt Road to the Ga. 400 intersection; and a Hammond’s Crossing node from the Ga. 400 intersection eastward to about Mashburn Drive.

Most commercial-zoned properties that would be affected by the overlay are currently under a moratorium on the acceptance of land disturbance permits until March 20. The moratorium was approved in December 2016 and affects parcels in Districts 1, 4 and 5.

The area of the moratorium is diamond-shaped with four points.

The original boundaries of the moratorium were the intersections of: Matt Highway (Hwy. 369 west) and Bannister Road to the west; Keith Bridge Road (Hwy. 306 east) and Dahlonega Highway (Hwy. 9) to the south; Browns Bridge Road (Hwy. 369 east) at Six Mile Creek to the east; and Hopewell Road and Hwy. 9 to the north.

Parcels at the intersection of Elmo Road, Matt Highway and Bannister Road were added at a Jan. 10 work session.