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Golf course rezoning moves ahead
County will hold hearing in June
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Forsyth County News


Signs for a public hearing soon will sprout up around Lanier Golf Course.

Forsyth County commissioners voted Thursday to advertise that about 70 of the 172 acres could be rezoned to Res-3, single family residential.

The remaining property could be rezoned to a master planned district with a conditional use permit for a continuing care retirement community.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard explained that the commission needed to begin the process of rezoning to meet the deadline set by a May 12 court order.

Appalachian Judicial Circuit Judge Robert E. Bradley instructed the county "to rezone the property to a constitutional zoning classification within 45 days.”

Jarrard said the public hearing before the commission could likely take place June 16.

“We’re not discussing densities right now, we are simply getting out to the public the legal ads that we’ll put on the sign,” he said.

The proposed zonings passed in a 3-1 vote, with Chairman Brian Tam absent.

Commissioner Jim Boff, whose District 5 includes the course site, voted against the proposed zonings.

Boff suggested instead that the entire property be advertised for rezoning to R2R, a restricted residential zoning district.

Boff also noted that the commission has the option to appeal the judge's decision within the 45-day deadline.

Commissioners plan to revisit the matter at a work session Tuesday.

The golf course issue has simmered since 2007, when the course owners sued the county after commissioners rejected their request to rezone the property from agricultural to a master planned district.

The owners, Jack Manton and George Bagley Jr., had a contract with a developer to buy the site, contingent upon its rezoning.

Bradley, who was appointed to the matter after the county's two Superior Court judges recused themselves, ruled in Manton and Bagley's favor in June 2010, following two days of testimony.

Phillip Friduss, the attorney who represented the county in the case, took issue with the fact that Bradley had visited the site the night before his decision.

As a result of what Friduss characterized as "independent, unsolicited and undisclosed" behavior on Bradley's part, the attorney filed a motion for a new trial and a request to have the judge recused from the case.

The county learned in March that its request to have Bradley replaced in the lawsuit had been denied.

The case was then turned back over to Bradley for a final decision on the county's request for a new trial.

The legal matter involving the county and golf course owners is separate from a case involving a resident who is attempting to stop the development of course.

The attorney handling that matter has said he plans to appeal Cherokee County Superior Court Judge Frank Mills’ recent decision to grant the motion for summary judgment requested by Manton and George Bagley Jr.