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Forsyth planning board tweaks 20-year plan
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For a copy of the draft and more information, go to FosterForsyth.com.

The update to Forsyth County’s 20-year land use plan went before a county board to discuss recommendations this week.

On Tuesday, the Forsyth County planning board held a special work session to review and give options for the update to the county’s 20-year comprehensive plan, which is being called Foster Forsyth. The meeting was called to give board members a chance to review the plan.

The plan seeks to guide long-term policy and provide a strategy for growth and development. Forsyth County contracted Jacobs Engineering and Kimley-Horn and Associates to devise the plan.

One of the most visible changes in the update is splitting the county into 11 distinct areas, typically named after a community or landmark and regional, community and neighborhood nodes, or areas with specified zoning standards.

The character areas are McFarland, South Ga. 400, Big Creek, Haw Creek, Lanier, Vickery Creek, Campground, North Ga. 400, Chestatee/Jot Em Down, Etowah and Sawnee Mountain.

During the meeting, board members discussed options and changes they want to see in the character areas. One change was that the majority, if not all, of the character areas removed master planned districts, or MPD, though they would still be allowed in certain nodes.

No action was taken at the meeting, but board members did say topics that came up may be included in their final recommendation to county commissioners.

McFarland

Few changes appear likely for the McFarland character area. There was discussion of moving a regional node to include part of Atlanta Highway (Hwy. 9), but it did not go forward.

South Ga. 400

A small area of county land off Buford Highway near Sanders Road was included in the South Ga. 400 character area, which will likely be added to the community node of Haw Creek.

Big Creek

In Big Creek, there was discussion of reducing where heavy industrial, or M2, zonings are appropriate and allowing for single-family community residential CR2 districts and single-family residential Res-3 districts for certain areas after changes are made to the county’s clearcutting rules and how the zonings are developed are changed.

Adding a senior zoning category was also discussed.

Haw Creek

The Haw Creek node may see a change to include more of what is traditionally considered Daves Creek from the South Ga. 400 character area around the Bluegrass Materials mine and may change the name of the character area to something including Daves Creek.

A node near the intersection of Windermere Parkway and Buford Highway has caused issues for some in the area, though members said that area will be primarily commercial to serve nearby residents.

District 5 member Robert Hoyt said he will likely recommend areas on the north side of Buford Dam Road be added from the Lanier character area.

Lanier

On the other hand, there was also discussion about moving some of the area on the south side of Buford Dam Road to the Lanier Character area, as it has a lower zoning intensity.

The lake area will also likely see a portion of the Lake Lanier/Mary Alice Park community node be reduced. The node originally covered much of Market Place Boulevard and Mary Alice Park Road.

The Mary Alice Park Road portion will either be removed or reduced. District 2 member Jane Iglesias said the area was added because many responders who said they would like to see greater development at Mary Alice Park likely meant the park itself rather than the road.

Vickery Creek

During the discussion, CR2 zonings were not popular for the character area, and an area currently slated for South Ga. 400 across from Fowler Park and west of Castleberry Road will likely be moved to the Vickery Creek area.

Campground

Among the topics discussed were removing MPD from most of the character area except for a community node along Hwy. 20 and for the community node extend along Hwy. 20.

North Ga. 400

For the North Ga. 400 character area, properties west of Hwy. 9 likely will have standards similar to that of the Campground area due to sewer capacity.

Chestatee/Jot Em Down

For the Chestatee character area, one idea was to extend the area to the intersection of Hwys. 53 and 306 and move a community node to the intersection from the proposed intersection of Hwy. 306 and Jot Em Down Road.

District 4 board member Bettina Hammond was in favor of adding the area around Crystal Cove Trail from the Lanier area.

Moving some residential areas from North Ga. 400 was also discussed.

Etowah

No major changes were discussed for the Etowah character area, except for the removal of the MPD.

Sawnee Mountain

No changes were recommended for the Sawnee Mountain character area, though there was some discussion about a proposed community node, already in the plan, containing the area around North Forsyth High School.

What’s next?

The planning board should make its recommendation to the Board of Commissioners on Oct. 25.

A public hearing before county commissioners is scheduled for Dec. 1, and the plan will go for regional and state approval after that. The BOC will vote on the plan on March 1, after two incoming commissioners have taken office.