By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
Plan update passed to state
Golf course designation splits commission
Placeholder Image
Forsyth County News

 Other action

Also at the meeting Thursday, Forsyth County commissioners:

• Approved a rezoning from neighborhood shopping to commercial for Carl Williams, as well as amended zoning conditions for Mathis Crossing.

The changes will allow for a planned Zaxby’s restaurant on Mathis Airport Parkway near the Laurel Springs subdivision. Neighbors worked out several conditions with the developer.

• Set a policy allowing for third party inspections, which will give builders more flexible time options.

The county will monitor the program. Commissioner Jim Boff opposed the measure.

• Appointed Charlotte Gardner to the District 4 post on the parks and recreation board, filling the term of Cindy J. Mills, who recently resigned.

• Approved a change in the named alcohol licensee for Fenchurch Pubs Corp., which operates The Firkin & Crown at The Avenue Forsyth.

Commissioners Patrick Bell and Todd Levent opposed the change, since it clears the slate for the required progressive sanctions in case of a violation to the alcohol ordinance.

• Ratified a quit claim deed to convey .011 acres of right of way and .008 acres of permanent easement to the state Department of Transportation for the widening of Bethelview Road.

The step was the last land acquisition needed for the project.

Note: All votes were 5-0 unless otherwise noted.

— Alyssa LaRenzie

Lanier Golf Course dominated discussion Thursday night as Forsyth County commissioners approved the proposed comprehensive plan update.

The commission ultimately split 3-2, with Commissioners Jim Boff and Todd Levent opposed, on the measure. The proposed update next goes to the state for review.

The update will serve as a guide for decisions involving future growth and land use for the next 20 years, from 2012-32.

The plan’s future development map, which depicts preferred growth patterns, drew perhaps the most attention in this year’s public input process, which spanned about 15 months.

Following a Dec. 1 public hearing, the commissioners deferred their decision.

They did, however, ask staff to return with a map depicting Lanier Golf Course area as designated village living, said Vanessa Bernstein, the county’s senior long-range planner.

The area was designated as suburban living in the first draft presented.

“In essence, that moves it from a medium density to a high density residential category,” Bernstein said.

Commissioner Patrick Bell, who suggested the change to “village” at the previous meeting, said the recent rezoning of the property to a master planned development merits it.

“At the lower end of the county, south of McFarland [Parkway], right there at [Ga.] 400, there’s an MPD ... that is village living,” Bell said. “We can’t arbitrarily not give it to another properly zoned piece of property.

“Even though it’s in litigation, today, it’s a property zoned. I believe we need to adopt it as close as we can.”

Facing a judge’s order to rezone the course site, commissioners granted an MPD zoning in the summer, which led neighboring property owners to file suit.

County Attorney Ken Jarrard advised that the litigation should not have an impact on the future development map designation.

Boff, who represents the district in which the course lies, disagreed with Bell’s reasoning.

“There are many places that are actually zoned that are not represented accurately on this map,” Boff said.

The commission did not discuss the designation for the Howard Road area of west Forsyth.

Debate during the Dec. 1 public hearing focused on estate residential, the lowest density, and suburban living, a step above.

The area will remain suburban living, which was presented in the first draft to commissioners earlier this month.

One speaker at the hearing may have prompted changes to the plan, as Chairman Brian Tam made some alterations related to comments from a member of Smart Growth Forsyth.

“I make a motion that we … include no language in the community agenda related to modifying or addressing Big Creek watershed impervious surface limitations and instead direct [staff] to schedule a town hall meeting where [this] may be discussed,” Tam said.