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Forsyth’s first brewery and more from this week’s BOC meeting
NoFo Brew Co. 3 031319
Renderings of NoFo Brew Co., a brewery expected to open in late summer off Ga. 400, complete with a lawn for customers to bring their dogs and a fire pit. (Photo courtesy NoFo Brew Co.)

Forsyth County will soon have a new player in the local craft beer scene.

On Thursday, Forsyth County Commissioners unanimously approved an alcohol license to be a “manufacture brewery” for NoFo Brew Co., which is set to open at 6150 Georgia Hwy. 400 on Sept. 26.

In March, commissioners approved new rules for micro-breweries and micro-distilleries – which produce beer and spirits, respectively – to operate in certain commercial and industrial areas

“[Co-owner Joe Garcia] helped practically write the category with our planning director,” said District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills. “But it is so important that you don’t get your license in jeopardy, especially your employees, because that comes back on you.”

Officials previously said the business would be about 6,000 square feet for a production facility and taproom and would do direct-to-customer sales.

While brewpubs – businesses that sell brewed beer and food, notably Cherry Street Brewing Co-op – have been allowed in the county for several years, commissioners pointed out that NoFo Brew Co. would be the first standalone brewery in the county.

“I believe this is going to be our first brewery, if this passes,” Commissioner Todd Levent said ahead of the vote.

During the meeting, commissioners also approved an alcohol license to consume beer, wine and distilled spirits at Ocean & Acre, a restaurant coming to the new Halcyon Forsyth development later this country.

Along with the two alcohol licenses, commissioners took on several other topics of discussion. All items were approved by a 5-0 vote unless otherwise noted.

 

CUPS and zonings

During the meeting, a number of conditional-use permits were approved for county businesses.

Prodesa North American Corporation received a permit to operate an 8,700 square-foot manufacturing, processing and assembling facility with 16 parking spaces on 1.23 acres at 5950 Parkway North Boulevard. The business will be used for engineering of parts for motors.

At 2450 Atlanta Highway, Ste. 1702, a permit was approved for Life Balance Atlanta to operate a massage business. Information from the county said the business would be aimed at “prenatal wellness.”

“I teach natural childbirth education, it’s called hypnobirthing. It’s an international program,” said applicant Lisa Griffin.

About three acres off of Bethelview Road and Great Oak Lane were approved to be rezoned from agricultural district (A1) to commercial business district (CBD) for an 11,720-square-foot daycare center with 49 parking space known as BrightStar Kids.

The development will not use roads in a nearby residential area.

During the meeting, one property was rezoned to the rarely-used heavy commercial (HC) zoning district.

An application was approved to rezone about one acre from A1 to HC to build a 1,200-square-foot contractor’s establishment with three parking spaces and to operate a residence for a caretaker or night watchman in an existing 944-square-foot building.

 

Millage rates

Thursday’s meeting was unique in that it had two items on the agenda with scheduled times: a public hearing for the county’s millage rate at 6 p.m. and the adoption of the county’s portion of the millage rate – including maintenance and operations, fire and bond rates – at 6:30 p.m.

Commissioners were expected to approve the total county millage rate – the sum of the county’s rate along with the school system’s rate – at the meeting, but County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the board of education would not formally adopt their millage rates until a meeting on Tuesday and recommended commissioners approved the total rate at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday during a special called meeting, which will likely come during the commission’s work session on that day.

The millage rate is the formula that calculates property taxes. One mill equals $1 for every $1,000 in assessed property value, which is 40 percent of the actual market value.

The 2020 rate will be comprised of a 4.791 millage rate for maintenance and operations, a 2.175 fire rate and 0.970 rate for general obligations bond compared to rates of 4.642, 1.975 and 1.319 in 2019, respectively.

Along with the tentative millage rate of the Forsyth County school system, 19.718 mills, the total 2020 rate will be 27.654.

Though the mileage rate is not going up, the tax digest will increase this year due to increases in home valuations.

The 2020 budget will increase from the 2019 budget of $138.7 million to $148.1 million.

 

Moratorium

A long-standing moratorium in north Forsyth lasting more than two years has finally come to an end.

Though taking action at a previous meeting, the commissioners formally ended an existing zoning moratorium of properties in District 4 zoned between Jan. 1, 2000 and Dec. 31, 2012 and approved new architectural and design standards for Districts 4 and 5, which make up north Forsyth and the area surrounding Lake Lanier, to go into effect immediately.

The moratorium was imposed to give the county time to develop the zoning standards as the approvals came at a time when commissioners typically put fewer or no conditions on zonings.

Those standards were approved in June and will be applied countywide in December.

Commissioners also approved that resolution related to applying the standards and other uses, such as not requiring the standards for buildouts of certain existing neighborhoods.