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Forsyth moves ahead with plan for separate planning board for south Forsyth

SOUTH FORSYTH — Despite some objections, the county commission has decided to move forward on the possible formation of a separate zoning board for District 2 in south Forsyth.

During a special called meeting Thursday, commissioners voted 4-0, with Todd Levent absent, to hold public hearings on the proposal.

“This is a planning commission that, candidly, would work with the planning commission,” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said. “There would be four members, plus the District 2 Commissioner [Commissioner Brian Tam,] who would serve as the chairman of this committee.”

The members of the new panel would be nominated by Tam, though they would require approval of the commission. Tam would vote only in the case of a tie.

The addition of the group would change current procedures for the county’s planning board by moving all zoning matters in District 2 to the beginning of the meeting. After those discussions, the new group would move to its own separate session.

The group would exist until the end of 2016, or the adoption of a new comprehensive plan. However, the county commission would have to vote to dissolve the group. 

Though Tam said the group was planned as an experiment and intended to provide more government transparency, it has faced opposition from planning board members, who felt it would undermine their authority. They also have questioned the subarea board’s makeup, fairness and possible duplication of duties.

The earliest possible public hearing on this issue would be sometime in October.