At a work session and public hearing that were held on the same day due to the Thanksgiving holiday week, the Forsyth County planning board reviewed several rezoning requests, including a neighborhood in north Forsyth and two properties owned by a commissioner’s brother that sparked debate.
Commissioner’s brother requests rezoning, neighbors air ethics complaints
WHAT: Glenn Levent, the brother of District 3 Commissioner Todd Levent, is requesting to rezone from A1 to a highway business district, or HB, on 2.01 acres and also acquire a conditional use permit for a night watchman residence and proposed office buildings totaling 4,375 square feet with 15 parking spaces.
Levent also wants to rezone an adjacent piece of property from A1 to a restricted industrial district, or M1, on 1.84 acres for proposed office and warehouse buildings totaling 15,000 square feet with 22 parking spaces.
WHERE: Off Hamby Road, just west of Atlanta Highway (Hwy. 9). The property sits on the Forsyth-Fulton county line near Milton.
DISCUSSION: A number of Milton residents and their lawyer, George E. Butler, opposed the rezonings, calling them “spot zonings,” which, according to Anderson’s American Law of Zoning, is “the process of singling out a small parcel of land for a use classification totally different from that of the surrounding area for the benefit of the owner of such property and to the detriment of other owners.”
At the public hearing Tuesday, Butler and his clients accused Commissioner Levent of using his position to influence planning board members, despite having recused himself from taking part in the BOC decision. Butler’s clients singled out District 3 planning board member Patrick Britt, who was appointed by Levent earlier this year — the planning board is appointed by the commissioner in their district.
Some of Butler’s clients suggested Britt should recuse himself, too, and that if he didn’t, he should seek legal counsel.
According to County Attorney Ken Jarrard, the threats that Britt should seek counsel are unfounded, and other board members said Britt should not have been attacked the way he was.
It is unclear where Butler and his attorneys got the notion that Britt and Levent were behaving unethically.
VOTE: Both applications were postponed until the Jan. 31 public hearing, which will be a decision-only hearing for the applications, given the public hearing was conducted.
86-lot subdivision approved in north Forsyth
WHAT: William McBrayer is seeking to rezone about 69 acres from A1 and a single family residential R1 district to a single family community residential district, or CR2, for 86 residential lots with a density of 1.27 units per acre.
WHERE: On the north side of Mountain Road by the intersection with Dahlonega Highway (Hwy. 9) near Cumming.
DISCUSSION: Board members previously wondered if CR2 was the right zoning request for the property, given they said they would like larger lot sizes. Ultimately, they decided to recommend a downzoning of the application, to a Res-2. The applicant’s attorney, Emory Lipscomb, had previously agreed to the request and at the planning commission public hearing, he presented a site plan with the property zoned Res-2.
Certain areas of the property have Res-1 conditions as well.
VOTE: 4-1, with District 5 planning commissioner Hoyt opposed, to recommend approval of the application.
Cell tower in north Forsyth denied again
WHAT: Verizon Wireless requested a conditional use permit to put a 199-foot cell phone tower on a lease area of 0.2296 acres zoned Agricultural District, or A1.
WHERE: Off Holbrook Road by Starrbrook Crossing.
DISCUSSION: Planning commission board members previously sent the application to the BOC with a recommendation of denial, but the BOC remanded it back to the planning board, citing a lack of clarity for the recommendation. District 4 planning commissioner Bettina Hammond said she “hates” cell towers and was, once again, opposed, as were three other planning board members.
VOTE: 4-1, with District 5 planning commissioner Robert Hoyt opposed, to recommend denial of the application.