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Forsyth County commissioners recently updated rules to allow for micro-distilleries. Micro-breweries are up next.
FCN Beer Brewery 121418
Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

At Tuesday’s work session of the Forsyth County Commission, the last work session of the year, new rules for micro-breweries, enforcement of short-term rentals and the annexation of county property into the city of Cumming were discussed.

All votes were 4-0, with District 5 Commissioner Laura Semanson absent, unless otherwise noted.

Micro-breweries soon to be allowed

In October, commissioners updating zoning standards to allow for micro-distilleries in the county, and similar rules are on the way for those brewing beer.

Commissioners approved aligning changes allowing micro-breweries with the changes for micro-distilleries and to bring both to a public hearing in February. The planning commission will discuss the changes in January.

“A microbrewery will allow people to brew their beer just like the big guys do, except it will allow it to happen in our [community business district],” said commission chairman Todd Levent.

The uses will not require a conditional-use permit but will need an alcohol license and will have to meet other standards.

Enforcing short-term rentals

One of the biggest issues before commissioners this year has been the enforcement of short-term rentals through sites such as Airbnb and VRBO, and the county could soon get some help from a technology company.

At the meeting, commissioners postponed a final decision on enforcement of the rental rules until county staff returned with a contract or recommendation for software to harvest data on rentals in the county through the sites.

“I do think fair warning is important to let people know,” said County Attorney Ken Jarrard. “Our objective is not to write you a citation. Our objective is to comply with our [unified development code].”

In August, commissioners approved a change to require owners of short-term rentals to have a conditional-use permit before 2020.

Commissioners have held discussions on the rentals dating back to late 2016, when neighbors living near the homes raised issues with trash, noise and traffic.


About three acres on Sanders Road will likely become part of the city of Cumming.

Commissioners signed off on the annexation for property at 930 Sanders Road, which will have to be approved by the Cumming City Council.

The property abuts property in the city, which is a requirement for annexation.

Another requirement is to have a comparable use in the county, and the land will be used for an office building.

“This makes sense,” Levent said.