Also during their meeting Thursday night, Forsyth County commissioners:
* Approved changes to the Forsyth County Fire Safety and Prevention Ordinance following a third public hearing at which no one spoke.
The commission passed amendments without including the contested state permit requirements for tents.
* Denied a request by Pulte Group to reduce the distance between homes from 20 feet to 15 feet for a 47-lot subdivision on Nichols Road amid neighbor opposition.
* Held a public hearing on a county-initiated zoning condition amendment for Champions Run subdivision to allow a 10-foot front yard setback.
The condition was part of negotiations with the developer in exchange for a 50-foot stream buffer instead of 35 feet. The commission expects to make a decision at its Tuesday work session.
* Postponed to Dec. 5 a second public hearing on an amendment to the Forsyth County Animal Control Ordinance.
The proposed change would modify the selection of a third member to a person “committed to the protection and welfare of animals” instead of a representative from the Humane Society of Forsyth County.
* Turned down a request for a public hearing to appeal the Zoning Board of Appeals vote that upheld an administrative decision for Robert Windsor, who sought to combine parcels from different subdivisions.
* Heard a first public hearing on an ordinance that would regulate dealers in precious metals and gems.
Similar to the new pawn shop ordinance, the law is intended to strengthen reporting requirements to recover illegally obtained materials.
The second hearing will be Dec. 5, after which the commission could adopt the regulations.
* Adopted a resolution establishing a concussion policy for county youth sports.
The policy follows requirements of a recent state law and mirrors the local school system regulations.
Coaches and game officials must learn symptoms of a concussion and use best judgment to remove players exhibiting those signs.
Note: All votes were 4-0 with Commissioner Brian Tam absent, unless otherwise noted.
-- Alyssa LaRenzie
Sawnee Mountain Preserve likely will gain some land for extra parking.
Forsyth County commissioners approved a contract on Thursday to buy about 2.2 acres next to the park.
The purchase price will be the lesser of about $44,600 an acre or $100,000, depending on the actual acreage according to a survey, the contract states.
Chairman Pete Amos said the money will come from the county’s $100 million parks, recreation and green space bond, which voters approved by referendum in 2008.
The county was searching for land adjacent to the mountain park that could expand parking for a planned zip line, Amos said.
“The Heards were nice enough to sell it to us at a good price,” he said, “and we took them up on it.”
The county put down $10,000 in earnest money, which it will lose if it terminates the contract during the 120-day due diligence period.
The Heard Family Partnership owns the park-adjacent property on Spot Road, which is about 192 acres in total.
Though the preserve is more than 963 acres, the topography wouldn’t allow for a parking area without grading the mountain, Amos said, so the county sought flat land.
The commission recently moved the zip line to another area of the park on the master plan to place it near the Heard property.