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North Forsyth residential moratorium extended
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FCN file photo. - photo by Micah Green

A moratorium focused on old zonings in north Forsyth has been extended.

The Forsyth County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously at their regular meeting on May 18 to approve an extension until Aug. 18 of a moratorium on the acceptance of land disturbance permits in District 4, north Forsyth, that were zoned between Jan, 1 2008 and Dec. 31, 2012.

“This was in order that we could begin to draft some additional regulations with respect to architectural standards for those old, historic residential zonings,” County Attorney Ken Jarrard said.

The moratorium was originally approved in March and applies to all residential zoning districts except agriculture.

Zoning attorney Ethan Underwood, the only speaker at the required public hearing, spoke on behalf of developer The Pacific Group, which has plans for a second phase of the River Rock subdivision that cannot move ahead while the moratorium is in place.

“We certainly have no objection to the goal of higher architectural standards —that helps everyone in the community,” he said. “But sometimes you have unintended consequences where you’re getting folks that are trying to go through the process.”

District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills said she did not consider later phases of developments to be the focus of the plan and that commissioners are targeting upcoming developments, but she said she felt the commission should continue in the current direction.

“We have too many of these out there, and this might help other districts,” she said.

The moratorium is the latest in the county working to deal with developments that have been zoned long ago, typically with less desirable standards, that are being built or have not been built. 

In April, commissioners approved “sun-setting” language to the unified development code to deal with zonings in which the property owner or developer does not obtain land disturbance permits within 18 months.