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Planning board talks mixed use request in west Forsyth

WEST FORSYTH – Forsyth County planning board members are set to hold a public hearing on a proposed rezoning in west Forsyth that would bring residential units and office, retail and restaurant space to about 6 acres of land.

Applicant Serene Investments Inc. requested to rezone the property, which is currently agricultural district, to urban village district to open a personal care home for 10 or more residents totaling 24,000 square feet and for office, retail and restaurant uses totaling 31,000 square feet with 142 parking spaces.

The property sits on Kelly Mill Road near the intersection with Bethelview Road.

The county’s planning staff, which is a separate group than the board members, issued a non-supportive report for the application due their belief that the proposed use does not align with the character of the area.

“The purpose of the neighborhood center character area is to provide a setting for small business establishments to offer goods and services to nearby households,” the report said. “Since the commercial uses will be constructed based on market demand, that may result in this aspect of the proposal being significantly delayed. Planning staff cannot support a primarily residential use.”

A concern with this proposal that has surfaced for other mixed use rezonings is having the residential built out first, then developers never building the commercial aspect.

Planning board members discussed possible conditions to the rezoning, such as reducing the number of months to get building permits from 24 to 12, including a turn lane, controlling sediment running off into a nearby lake and noise control.

A public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the commissioner’s meeting room at the county administration building.

The planning board serves as a recommending body for the Board of Commissioners, which is supposed to hear the proposal on August 18.