A proposed new town center in north Forsyth took a step toward reality this week.
At work session on Tuesday, District 4 Commissioner Cindy Jones Mills, who represents the area, gave an update to a proposed town center development at the northeast and southeast corners of the intersection of Browns Bridge Road (Hwy. 369 east) and Dahlonega Highway (Hwy. 9 north).
The town center was discussed in April and was planned to use up to $25,000 from the county’s Development Authority, which commissioners raised issues with using public funds on a private development.
“Since we last met I have reached out to businesses and people within the Coal Mountain community,” Mills said. “I’ve been able to secure some funding to be able to go forward with a town center design.”
Mills said she hoped a firm would be chosen quickly and said she had met with officials with the Forsyth County Fire Department to discuss needs at the county’s Public Safety Complex, which is nearby.
“It’s a real important area with the Public Safety Complex being there and it being right in the heart of where that town center will be,” Mills said.
The development seeks to create connectivity for about 100 acres owned by six property owners or partnerships. About 60 acres in the proposed area was approved for an age-restricted development in February, which has been seen as an improvement to the Res-6 zoning in 2005.
Landowners previously met with county officials and the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce to discuss the plan.
At previous meeting, Mills said the town center would be able to do things the county would not, such as creating a road through the proposed development that will connect with the coming traffic signal at Hwy. 9 and Smith Lane near North Forsyth High School
According to the soon-to-be-approved update to the 20-year land use plan, town centers “should act as hubs for their surrounding areas, often featuring a mix of commercial, office, and sometimes residential space in more clustered, walkable formats with multi-story buildings.”
The plan would involve hiring a firm to create a plan for the property, which would involve interviewing property owners, holding workshops, putting together a concept, taking the concept back to the landowners and revising the plan.
Mills said the town center would be discussed at future meetings.