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Mixed use project touted for Hwy. 9
Plan calls for homes, stores on 240 acres
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Forsyth County News
A large mixed-use development slated for about 240 acres in south Forsyth is expected to reach the Forsyth County commission next month.

Paces Battle Properties wants to rezone the site on Hwy. 9, between Majors and Castleberry roads, from agricultural to a master planned district.

The proposal calls for 727 residential units, nearly 1.1 million square feet of commercial space and 66 acres of open space.

The county's planning board voted 4-1 in favor of the project Tuesday. Planning Commissioner Jim Quinn was the lone dissenter, saying he was concerned about the project’s density and intensity.

“I’m also concerned that the Big Creek overlay that requires 25 percent impervious surface was not addressed at all in the application,” Quinn said.

Planning Commission Chairman Barry Russell was supportive of the proposed live-work-play community, which includes active adult cottages, a wellness and surgery center and a hotel.

He pointed out that the developers have heeded concerns, agreeing to use gray water for outside irrigation and reducing the original residential density from 1,029 units.

“[In] the commercial over the density debate, I would take commercial property on Hwy. 9 over residential any day,” Russell said. “I feel that this development will serve the county, the residents that are already there, and minimize the amounts of high-density residential that we already get in that area, which would only be a burden on the county.”

Residents living near the site were not impressed.

Tony DeMaria, who lives on Castleberry, said he and his neighbors think the proposal is "way too intense for our area.”

He also said he doesn’t think the project conforms to the county’s comprehensive plan.

“The 1.2 million square feet of commercial is on 72 acres, versus the 1.8 [million square feet] the comprehensive plan says to do,” DeMaria said.

He referred to a draft document from the county planning department in the application’s original file that pointed out 10 other local sites that would be ideal for such a project.

“It’s just overdevelopment for the area,” he said. “If you think about it, the 1.2 million square feet is more than double the size of the Avenue Forsyth [shopping mall] and this intensity means traffic.”

Other residents expressed environmental and traffic concerns, as well as worries over how the development could affect wildlife.

One woman, who lives on Majors Road, said past developments in the area have pushed rats to her property.

Attorney Emory Lipscomb, who represents Paces, said access on Castleberry to the site will be "right in, right out" only. He said homes built on Castleberry and Majors will be priced at up to $1 million.

“The option, as we understand it, is to put 1,279 homes on this tract of land or whether to put commercial, as was thought wise by the planning staff here and by others,” Lipscomb said. “And that’s what we have opted to.”

Lipscomb said the plan is a “more proper use” of the property along Hwy. 9 and that the project would be a benefit to the county.

E-mail Julie Arrington at