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Planning board likes change for property
Matter moves to commission
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Forsyth County News
The Forsyth County Planning Commission gave a thumbs-up to a proposed change on the future land-use map during its regular meeting this week.

The board voted 4-0 Tuesday night in favor of changing an area next to the Lanier Golf Course on Buford Dam Road from activity center designation to high density residential.

The site is in the district of Planning Commissioner Jim Quinn, who was not at the meeting.

No one spoke in favor or against the proposal. A public hearing on the change is expected next month before the county commission decides the matter.

Tuesday night, Vanessa Bernstein, a senior long-range planner with the county, explained the area of about 14 acres includes the Lanier Walk Townhome subdivision and two small properties zoned for agriculture.

She said the county commission requested the change “based on the surrounding property of the Lanier Walk subdivision, which is currently [high density residential].”

The change has been the subject of some debate.

Patrick Bell called the proposal “suspicious” when fellow County Commissioner Jim Boff suggested it at a May work session. The properties are in Boff’s District 5.

Boff has said an activity center designation doesn’t accurately represent the properties in question and the change has nothing to do with the county’s potential purchase of the 170-acre course.

Using documents obtained through an open records request, the Forsyth County News reported recently that the county has spent nearly $24,000 on five appraisals of the course since June 2008.

Bell also asserted that the change could possibly be linked to a lawsuit filed against the county by golf course owners Jack Manton and George Bagley Jr. and Wellstone LLC.

Wellstone, a development company, had plans to buy and develop the course site contingent upon its rezoning.

The suit, which is still in its preliminary stages, was filed in September 2007 after commissioners denied a request that would have designated the area for residential development.

Included in the complaint against the county are arguments that the commission’s denial of the rezoning was unconstitutional and was “in order for Forsyth County to purchase the property at less than its fair market value.”

Wellstone has since dropped out of the suit and relocated to Texas.

E-mail Julie Arrington at