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Laughinghouse re-elected chair
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Forsyth County News
The Forsyth County commission started the new year with some housekeeping and rule changes.

Among the actions taken at Thursday night's meeting:

* Charles Laughinghouse was elected chairman for a fourth term. Jim Harrell will continue as vice chairman. Jim Boff will be secretary, succeeding Patrick Bell. None of the votes were unanimous.

* The board voted 5-0 to reduce the number of votes for intergovernmental agreements from a super majority of four votes to a simple majority of three. Boff suggested the measure, which will apply to any agreements with other counties or cities.

Intergovernmental agreements are "not a regular event," Boff said, but do occur when opportunities arise.

"I think that we needed more flexibility," he said.

* A procedure for expediting rezoning to agricultural passed 5-0.

The process allows those wanting a rezoning to come directly to the board. It carries a $250 fee and will take about 1.5 to two months.

Jeff Chance, director of the county's planning department, said the process would normally take anywhere from four to 10 months.

Chance said that the previous process was "cumbersome" for those seeking what seems to be a "down" zoning.

"It's something that perhaps would take less scrutiny," Chance said after the meeting. "There's not much to consider in these types of zonings."

Many of those who want the rezoning have property in Bell's district.

After the meeting, he said the expedited process would aid some of those in difficult financial situations.

"With the economy, a lot of those builders then went out of business, so there's nobody to buy the property," Bell said. "But yet a lot of people are stuck with property taxes on high density zonings that are creating problems for them."

* Liborio Castro, owner of the Texaco on Hwy. 20 near Dr. Bramblett Road pled guilty to a Nov. 2 sale by an unlicensed person. As a result, the store will not be allowed to sell alcohol for seven days and Castro must attend training.

* Jim Kinsey was reappointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals and Joel Webb to the Forsyth County Board of Health. Ken Leach was appointed to the Board of Tax Assessors, replacing Charles Meagher.