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Golf course property rezoned as talks stall
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Forsyth County News

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Also at Thursday night’s meeting, the Forsyth County commission:

 

* Congratulated Tom Brown on his promotion to director of the Forsyth County Planning and Community Development Department.

 

* Approved the 2011 millage rate of 26.624 mills. The county rate is 7.656 mills, the school system rate is 18.718 mills and the state rate is .250 mills. David Gruen, the county’s director of finance, said the school rate rose by 1.905 mills from last year. 

“The raise that you’re going to have on your taxes is coming from the school board,” Commissioner Todd Levent said. “I just want to make that clear.”

 

* Granted Holtzclaw Family Limited Partnership’s request for a conditional-use permit for a warehouse and outside storage and to rezone about 15 acres on Holtzclaw Drive to a commercial business district.

 

Note: Votes were 5-0 unless noted otherwise.

 

—  Julie Arrington

With no compromise in sight, the Forsyth County commission on Thursday night proceeded with the court-ordered rezoning of the 172-acre Lanier Golf Course.

Commissioners voted 3-2 to rezone the front 93.8 acres of the site off Buford Dam Road from agricultural to a master planned district, with a conditional use permit for a continuing care retirement center.

The 78.6 acres in the rear of the site were rezoned from agricultural to Res 2, or residential with 1.5 to 2 units per acre.

After two extensions, the commission had been given until Thursday to rezone the course.

The site is in Commissioner Jim Boff’s District 5. He and Commissioner Todd Levent voted against the measure.

Boff said he doesn’t agree with the way the property was rezoned.

He noted that Appalachian Judicial Circuit Judge Roger E. Bradley ordered that the zoning be constitutional and could no longer be agricultural.

The order was the result of a lawsuit golf course owners Jack Manton and George Bagley Jr. filed against the county after the commission denied their request in 2007 to rezone the site from agricultural to a master planned district.

Prior to the vote Thursday, the deadline had been twice extended as commissioners tried to broker a compromise between residents living near the course and its owners.

During the talks, Manton and Bagley offered to donate the back portion of the property to the county for use as green space or a golf course.

In return, they sought a higher density master planned development designation on the front part of the site.

In addition, the owners wanted the neighbors to agree in writing to drop current and future litigation involving the course.

That included 26 people who are suing the owners because they believe they have an implied easement to the course and want to stop its development.

Their attorney, Bob McFarland, had indicated this week he would not accept that offer because the residents view their lawsuit as a separate matter unrelated to the rezoning.

Most recently, McFarland filed an appeal on the May court decision granting summary judgment to the owners.

Thursday night, Commission Chairman Brian Tam thanked those who had been involved in the search for compromise.

"As I said a month ago, I was cautiously optimistic we could find some common ground," Tam said. "I wish that would’ve happened."