NORTH FORSYTH — After nearly a decade in limbo, it appears that what remains of an infamous, long-abandoned subdivision in northeastern Forsyth soon could be coming down.
During a work session Tuesday, the Forsyth County commission voted 5-0 to move forward with the demolition of several derelict structures in the Greenleaf neighborhood, where construction stopped in 2006.
In the ensuing years, two men tied to the 40-acre development off Anderson Lake Road have been sent to federal prison for a mortgage fraud scheme and ordered to pay millions in restitution. Meanwhile, the shells of homes without necessary infrastructure have been vandalized.
Until Tuesday, when County Attorney Ken Jarrard told the commission of recent legal developments, the county had been unable to do much about the situation.
According to Jarrard, the county has received quitclaim deeds transferring interest for four parcels from entities it sued and is expecting to be able to secure another two.
“Otherwise, we’ve got court orders for the remainder that say we can go ahead and … demolish those structures,” he said. “And then we can take the cost of the demolition and put it as a lien on the property.”
Jarrard said that two of the structures have been voluntarily taken down, but the majority remain.
“Of the 60-some-ought lots, we had 18 structures that were left in various states of disrepair,” he said.
Jarrard acknowledged there will be some costs involved for the county, perhaps approaching $300,000.
“We think, and again this is a ballpark [figure,] but my understanding is that this may be around $15,000 plus per structure,” he said. “They’d come in and bid it, they’d take a look at it, knock it down and we’d add liens against the parcel.”
And the demolition is likely just the start.
“This is a two-step process,” Jarrard said. “The first part was to get the structures down, and the second portion was to potentially condemn the property altogether in the future, but I’m not to that step yet.”
As part of the discussion, the idea was floated to use the houses for training for the county’s fire department, but Division Chief Jason Shivers said the structures were in no shape for firefighters.
“They’re dangerous,” he said. “They’re in various states of disrepair. Some of my training team did go take a glance at them just to see, if this question ever did come up, and that was some time ago.”