Also during a work session Tuesday, Forsyth County commissioners:
• Authorized an additional $52,800 in attorney’s fees for King & Spalding, which is representing the county in a wastewater permit challenge by the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper.
Forsyth most recently received a favorable ruling in Superior Court, for which the county has a balance of $27,800 owed.
The additional $25,000 requested is expected to cover the costs of responding to a Riverkeeper petition for discretionary appeal. The litigation has totaled $477,800 so far.
• Accepted bids to replace Fire Stations 3 and 4.
The third station on Dr. Bramblett Road will be torn down and a new two-bay house built on Wallace Tatum Road for about $1.5 million, funded by 1-cent sales tax revenue.
Station No. 4 on Canton Hwy. will be rebuilt as a two-bay house for about $1.2 million, which will also be paid for by tax revenue.
• Sent to public hearings some proposed changes to the sign ordinance, which would require some aesthetic requirements for "mini-billboards." Commissioner Patrick Bell opposed the measure.
• Discussed the possibility of a design overlay with an equestrian motif for District 3.
Note: All votes were 5-0 unless otherwise noted.
— Alyssa LaRenzie
Plans for a Ga. 400 interchange between Exits 11 and 12 inched forward during a Forsyth County commission meeting Tuesday.
The proposed McGinnis Ferry Road ramp project must clear one more study with the state Department of Transportation to receive federal funding to get started.
The county commission voted 5-0 to approve an agreement with the DOT to complete an interchange justification report.
Forsyth must submit $5,000 to the department for the costs associated with the report, said John Cunard, county engineering director.
The county would then have to pay a project match of $62,500, he said, before it will receive $250,000 in federal funding set aside for the study and conceptual design.
The money, which was not budgeted, would likely come from county reserves, officials said.
If the DOT approves the interchange report, the county would then be eligible to receive the remainder of the $3.5 million in federal funding for the project, which would go toward design work, Cunard said.
"We feel like we’re going to be extremely successful in getting the IJR approved and the remainder of the federal earmark," he said.
"I think we have an extremely high probability because we were able to get the GDOT director of planning to understand the importance of this project in approving the feasibility study."
That study, completed about a year ago, was a first step toward launching the project for the road, which would be split between the jurisdictions of Forsyth County and Alpharetta.
The North Fulton Community Improvement District contributed $125,000 to the feasibility study, Cunard said, but neither that group nor the city have promised any funding for future portions of the project.
The county will continue to solicit that money, he said, but hope lies in federal funds that may be available to complete the construction.
The project did not make the cut for the proposed regional 1-cent sales tax for transportation, known as T-SPLOST.
The 1-cent tax proposal will before voters in each of Georgia’s regions sometime next year. Forsyth is in the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission, while neighboring Alpharetta falls in the Atlanta Regional Commission.
"That’s one reason why it wasn’t successful in making the regional sales tax project list … is that the $27 million needed to fund this project, only half could come from our region," Cunard said.
Chairman Brian Tam, who sits on the mountains regional commission, added: "Not that we didn’t try, but that was the kicker right there."
The interchange justification report could be completed within six months, Cunard said.
If approved by the DOT, the federal funding could be available for the county in about a year.
"It’s been a long time coming," Cunard said. "Once this is done, it’s a project."