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Moratorium placed on zonings below standards
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Forsyth County has issued a moratorium on building permits for certain residential categories that were zoned previously but that do not meet current county rules.

On Tuesday, the Forsyth County Board of Commissions voted 5-0 to start the process to remove a section of the county’s unified development code that allows certain properties zoned single family residential Res-3 to have smaller average lot sizes than the code normally requires.

The 30-day moratorium was approved to prevent more developments falling under this disparity to be built while the county works to remove the section.

“It would be a moratorium to prohibit any submission of land development permits on Res 3, to the extent you’re attempting to use a minimum lot size other than our minimum lot size,” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said.

Jarrard said smaller lot sizes were allowed for lots zoned from 2007-14 due to a footnote in the code, which the change would seek to eliminate.

“It says that Res-3 rezoning applications applied for and approved by the Board of Commissioners between the following dates may comply with these minimum lot size requirements, which means that if there is a Res-3 zoning that was applied for and approved between those dates — Nov. 1, 2007 all the way up to Oct. 2, 2014 — that they don’t have to comply with the policy and the rules you have in place right now,” he said.

Res-3 zonings have a minimum lot size of 14,750 square feet.

According to the code, lots zoned between Nov. 1, 2007 and July 18, 2013 need to be a minimum of 14,500 square feet — the minimum was 10,000 square feet for those zoned between July 18, 2013 and Oct. 2, 2014, and those zoned before Nov. 1, 2007 had a minimum of 9,000 square feet.

Jarrard said the original footnote was done for “fairness” to those who had put work into developing the lots, and the county would honor developments that were already vested.

During the work session, commissioners also discussed changes for the way certain storage units, day cares, collision centers and religious facilities are zoned and given conditional use permits.

Most of the proposed changes are aimed at requirements for businesses that are similar but that have some stark differences.

For example, one change will likely differentiate between indoor, climate-controlled storage units and more traditional, outdoor centers.

A change for day cares will look at the size of buildings and the number of kids attending the facility, and changes to religious facilities include which zoning categories will be allowed.

No action for these changes was taken during the meeting, and county staff will look into those categories.

Commissioners will likely discuss the matter at the first work session in September.