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Neighbors upset over stream buffer deal
Zoning board says matter closed
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Forsyth County News

Other action

Also during its meeting Tuesday night, the Forsyth County Zoning Board of Appeals:

• Granted a variance for Park Village on McGinnis Ferry to reduce lot width from 60 feet to 29 feet, eliminating a landscape strip requirement and lowering the front yard setback from 40 feet to 38 feet.

The property owner plans to subdivide the lot to finance two types of businesses, including an indoor shooting range and storage.

The neighboring owner of a Publix-anchored shopping center opposed the variances, which could allow an increased density.

• Approved an accessory structure variance to allow a home to be 1,877 square feet instead of the maximum 1,233 square feet. The owner of the Beaver Ruin Beaches lot planned to add attic space above the garage.

• Allowed rear and side yard variances for a Shady Shores home that was discovered to be over the lot line when the owners bought it.

Note: All votes were 4-0, with Jack Shoemake absent, unless otherwise noted.

— Alyssa LaRenzie

A residential developer and Forsyth County reached an agreement Tuesday on a stream buffer dispute, leaving neighboring homeowners upset with no avenue to protest the decision.

Residents of Champions Run, the subdivision in question, and adjacent Grand Cascades disagreed with the Zoning Board of Appeals’ 4-0 vote to approve a consent order allowing for a 35-foot stream buffer associated with a portion of the partially developed neighborhood on James Burgess Road in southeastern Forsyth.

The county’s planning department initially denied the application for a land disturbance permit in July because the submitted plat didn’t show the 50-foot buffer, so the developer appealed the administrative decision to the zoning board.

They were cut short of hearing the arguments since the two sides drafted an agreement.

The sides agreed to allow the reduction from the existing 50-foot buffer requirement to 35 feet, which was the minimum at the time of the 2004 zoning, said Paul Fricke, of the county attorney’s law firm.

The legal representatives agreed that the developer, Rocklyn Homes, had “vested rights” based in part by past permits received, Fricke said.

Residents of the two neighborhoods have concerns about flooding, the site plans and past commitments regarding the development.

But mostly on Tuesday, they spoke out about their comments not being heard.

They asked why the forum was provided if they couldn’t speak and some questioned whether the board or county had received any benefits from the developer.

Chairman Jim Kinsey banged the gavel in an attempt to quell the outcries.

With the appealing developer and the county in agreement on the administrative decision, Kinsey said there was no dispute to address.

“There is no argument here, there is no case anymore,” he said. “So there is no forum for testimony.”

He said the residents could file an appeal within 10 days to ask the county commission to review the matter.

Residents gathered outside of the meeting room afterward and appointed a homeowner to file the appeal.