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Forsyth County mulls scrapping one planning board for five
Officials to hold public hearings on matter
Forsyth

FORSYTH COUNTY — Less than a week after formalizing two requests to the local state legislative delegation, the Forsyth County commission added a couple more.

During a special called meeting Monday, the commissioners voted 5-0 to seek the lawmakers’ support in holding public hearings about possibly replacing the county’s planning board with separate planning panels for each of Forsyth’s five districts.

District 2 is scheduled to get its own subarea planning board, which would complement the countywide group, in January. But County Attorney Ken Jarrard explained that the move to dissolve the existing planning board would require a change in state law.

While they want to hold several hearings on the matter, the commissioners were quick to point out they aren’t necessarily in favor of overhauling the planning board.

According to Jarrard, the board was put in place by the state.

“If that law is in fact repealed by the local delegation, I do not think that means we can never reinstitute a countywide planning commission, it’s just a countywide planning commission that is not the product of a local act,” he said.

District-specific planning boards have caused a stir this fall.

Supporters have said the panel in District 2, which covers much of south Forsyth, will increase community involvement and transparency. Opponents have been critical of the district’s county commissioner, Brian Tam, and his plan to serve on the subarea group.

Also as part of the request Monday, the commission wants lawmakers’ support to allow planning boards to ask it to hold extra public hearings, allow the beautification of Ga. 400 on- and off-ramps and let local communities, such as Matt, put up signs designating the community.

Another change would give commissioners the ability to add a requirement to new large zonings that would limit the number of building permits per year.

“The thought was that particularly in larger zonings of residential tracts that let’s say … had 300 units, that we have as a condition to stagger their ability to pull building permits and build out in blocks,” Jarrard said. “… This can be modified — 100 units in 2016, 100 units in 2017 and the remainder until certain school infrastructure being completed.”