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Motion to rescind HUD vote a draw
Board will revisit issue
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Forsyth County News

Other action

Also Thursday night, Forsyth County commissioners:

* Directed legal staff to draft an ordinance and schedule public hearings on whether to ban tobacco products in parks except in designated areas. The vote was 3-1, with Pete Amos opposed. Amos felt the county’s current policy is adequate.

* Approved zoning modifications and a conditional use permit for Oaks Senior Living, an assisted living facility planned for a site near Ga. 400 and Hampton Park Drive.

* Adopted modifications to the civil service board handbook and gave final approval to the associated changes to the local state law.

* Granted a rezoning from agricultural to commercial for Cumming First United Methodist to have a food bank on a property across Tower Road from the church.

Note: All votes were 4-0, with Chairman Brian Tam absent, unless otherwise noted.

-- Alyssa LaRenzie

A deadlocked vote has left a developer’s request for Forsyth County sponsorship of a U.S. Housing and Urban Development loan application in limbo.

The commission voted in April to transmit the pre-application to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, but Commissioner Todd Levent is pushing to undo the decision.

Thursday night, commissioners voted 2-2 to rescind the vote, with Levent and Jim Boff in favor and Pete Amos and Patrick Bell opposed. Chairman Brian Tam was absent.

Without a tie-breaking vote, the matter will come up again at the next regular meeting of the commission where all five members are present.

Kennesaw-based developer Almquist Hansen hopes to secure the Section 108 loan to in part fund the construction of Towne Club Windermere, a high-end senior rental community, on an 18-acre site at Windermere Parkway and Trammel Road.

The project qualifies for a HUD loan because the jobs it would create would benefit low- to middle-income workers.

The loan provides for $5 million of the $30 million project. The remaining funds would come from another pending HUD loan and private money.

The local government, in this case Forsyth County, is needed to submit the Section 108 application.

If the loan is approved, the county would then act as a conduit between the developer and state and federal governments.

The department will respond to the county with further information about the specifics of the loan.

At that point, the county can decide whether to commit to the process, which if so would include another public hearing.

Almquist Hansen offered at Thursday’s meeting to pay any costs associated with the application.

Bell said he did not want to rescind the vote because he wants to see the “full package” response from the community affairs department before deciding.

Levent said he has heard enough to know he’s not interested.

“We constantly are — and gladly — accepting senior citizen developments throughout our community ... that are privately funded,” Levent said. “There will be a lot of strings attached with this, and I’m not willing to put the taxpayers at risk.”

A few residents, including Forsyth County Tea Party member Stuart McMinn, agreed with Levent during the public comments portion of the meeting.

McMinn asked commissioners not to move forward and get “entangled” in federal government regulations associated with HUD.

Greg Almquist, CEO of Almquist Hansen, asked the commission to just wait and see what details come back.

“There’s no risk with this application,” Almquist said. “When it comes back, you will have a complete document ... If there’s any liability, we’re not bringing it back.”