Forsyth County Commissioners wasted little time in 2019 to tackle a slew of county issues, discussing a medical sales development, land for the proposed Cumming City Center, a new fire station and changes to the county’s unified development code.
All votes were 5-0 unless otherwise noted.
Commissioners cleared the way for a new industrial flex space development in south Forsyth after approving a county-initiated request to approve a sketch plat for the development.
The development will be made up of three buildings totaling 400,000 square feet on about 51.5 acres north of Shiloh Road and will be developed by Dexter Companies, LLC.
“This is a project I’ve worked on for almost three years with Dexter Companies,” said Robert Long, the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce. “They had targeted us many years ago for potential locations and have looked at multiple sites. They have landed on this site here, which I think is great for the kind of products they develop.”
The site will be developed as space for businesses to rent and occupy.
“For us to be successful, we have to have sites and buildings for folks to locate in,” Long said. “This is something we desperately need with the overall low vacancy rate we have in Forsyth County.”
At a previous meeting, Long said the property could support about 1,000 jobs and could generate $3.6 million in property taxes over in the decade after it is built.
The buildings will be spread across two parcels – one totaling about 16.5 acres and the other about 33 acres – for three buildings.
The smaller parcel is slated for a 123,000-square-foot building. The larger track will feature one building totaling 136,000 square feet and one at 145,000 square feet.
All three buildings are anticipated to be 25 percent office and 75 percent warehouse.
Future fire station rezoned
Though county buildings are not required to follow Forsyth County’s unified development code, commissioners approved a zoning change for a planned future fire station.
Commissioners approved rezoning three acres on Pittman Road from office and industrial district (O&I) to agriculture district (A1) for the new station. County Attorney Ken Jarrard said the rezoning was “out of an abundance of caution.”
“It is simply trying to demonstrate that we are trying to live by the rules that we create for others,” Jarrard said. “County property is not subjecting to zonings.”
County Manager Eric Johnson said he felt the county was “sending the right message” by rezoning the land.
During the meeting, a trio of changes were made to the county’s unified development code.
The first change dealt with licensing requirements for installation of small cell communication equipment in county right of way, which will require licensing. County officials have discussed small cell technology since at least 2017.
The technology involves smaller radio equipment and antennas than larger mobile phone networks and potential future uses for the technology include 5G and autonomous vehicles.
Jarrard said while the county approved local rules, he believes it will be preempted by state legislation this year.
A second change was minor and involved how commissioners approve changes to the code, stipulating that commissioners can approve changes to the code by either a resolution, which was already in the code, or a motion.
The final change involved amenities built by developers that are deeded back to the property owners, generally a homeowner’s association.
The amenities will transfer whether management of the subdivision is turned over to the HOA or at the end of the final buildout of all residential units. The change also stipulates the county is not obligated to monitor the transfer but can enforce the code if county officials are notified.
Commissioners discussed but did not approve an annexation request from the city of Cumming for 46 acres between Hwy. 20 and Tribble Gap Road for the Cumming City Center.
While most annexations require the approval of all residents living in the area, this annexation is being considered under what is known as the 60 percent method, which requires that both 60 percent of voters and 60 percent of landowners are in favor of the annexation.
City officials said in a meeting earlier in the week that they were using the 60 percent method due to issues with high turnover in the area and some language issues.
The portion of the property being annexed for the city center is being considered for apartments by an individual developer, but existing residences are included in the annexation area, but not the city center, to avoid the creation of an island of county property.
The annexation will be discussed at the board’s work session on Tuesday, Jan. 8.