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No break for planning board
Commission decides against suspension
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Forsyth County News

Forsyth County’s planning board won’t be taking a hiatus after all.

The county commission voted 5-0 on Tuesday to scrap plans for temporarily shelving the panel.

Commissioners followed the recommendation of their appointed planning board members, who voted unanimously last month that they not be disbanded.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard read their formal request to commissioners.

"The Forsyth County Planning Commission serves a vital and irreplaceable function in Forsyth County government," Jarrard read.

"Whatever short-term policy objectives may be advanced by the proposed modification will be more than negated by the loss, even temporarily, of the planning commission."

Commissioners first discussed the possibility of suspending the planning board in late May as a cost-saving measure.

The number of rezonings and other issues coming before the panel has dropped along with the economy over the past couple years.

And nearly all the issues before the board go to the commission for a final vote.

When he first floated the idea, Commissioner Pete Amos said operating the planning board costs the county about $4,000 a month.

Tuesday’s unanimous vote to halt the move drew no discussion from commissioners.

After the meeting, Amos said he voted in favor of it because of the planning board’s recommendation.

"I do believe they do a valuable service when everything is going good," he said. "They wanted to stay on a bit longer and keep doing that work for us."

In terms of expenses, Amos said other commissioners didn’t feel suspending the planning board was worth the savings.

"We’re going to try to save some money somewhere else," he said.

Commissioners cast split votes in June to move forward with the process of suspending the planning board for six to eight months.

Todd Levent and Jim Boff opposed the measure.

During a prior work session, Boff suggested the move to disband the panel was "to show your disfavor with what’s happened down there."

In the past year, the planning board had heated arguments at public meetings, a session canceled due to insufficient public notice and a contested vote to approve an exception to an overlay district.